Our Readers' Opinions
July 18, 2017
The State of the Athletics Association 3

Bad Governance and Administration

by Luke Browne

In this series of articles, I have been focusing attention on the ridiculous state of the Athletics Association (Team Athletics) and the need to do something about it. I have already highlighted routine failures of leadership and management, and wanton discrimination against some of our most promising athletes. We, as a nation, must protect and safeguard our hope of emerging as a powerhouse in athletics and sports. Talent abounds in this country; it is just a matter of properly and scientifically harnessing it.

One of the most serious charges against the Athletics Association is the open and flagrant violation of its Constitution by the executive in a number of matters. Team Athletics is not complying with its rules and regulations, and neither is it adhering to tried and true principles and practices of organizational leadership and management.

In the first place, Keith Joseph has often found himself in the invidious position of an illegal president. On a number of occasions, he overstayed the term of his office and continued to perform the functions of the presidency without a mandate. In an effort to mini-

mize difficulties of tenure, Mr Joseph at one point (by spearheading constitutional reform) extended the term of office for the executive from two years to four years for his personal comfort. However, he still does not respect the Constitution as amended. It must be emphasized that there is no other sporting organization in SVG with an executive term of office that is so long. Not even the officers of political parties are elected for such extended periods. The presidency of the NDP carries a three-year term and the political leader of the ULP is elected for only

two years at a time. Credit union boards also have a shorter life span. Obviously, Keith Joseph sees himself as equivalent to the president of the United States! What a time. In the Athletics Association, there is governance by convenience.

Mr Joseph is hostile to opposition, dissent or even just a different opinion. Everyone must sing from his song sheet so as not to incur his wrath. If Mr Joseph thinks that he is indispensable to local athletics, he has another think coming.

There are also constitutional issues concerning annual general meetings (AGM) and the presentation of audited financial statements. The Association is required by its Constitution to hold annual general meetings. However, the last time anything remotely resembling such a meeting was held was in 2013, and it was hastily arranged principally for the purpose of holding sham elections for the re-enthronement of King Keith. Before 2013, there was another long stretch of years without AGMs. The Athletics Association, in contemptuous contravention of its Constitution, has had about two AGMs in the last 10 years. The organization must be brought into compliance with its own laws.

Additionally, the treasurer, by virtue of Article IX of the Constitution, is supposed to present audited financial statements at annual general meetings to the organization’s membership. If there are no meetings in the first place, it is obvious that no financial statements are being presented. The treasurer should tender her resignation for gross dereliction of duty.

The lack of audited financial statements is unconstitutional and utterly unacceptable in an organization like the Athletics Association that handles large sums of money. The situation is aggravated by rumours and allegations of financial impropriety against the executive. Two coaches are on record saying that Team Athletics received money from a certain source for an event that never took place. The allegation was denied. There is a matter involving the short-payment of a former technical director, which Keith Joseph knows a lot about and which was only resolved after external intervention. A whole litany of charges can be laid out.

The discrimination, poor governance and awful administration are compounded by the fact that the Association simply is not serving its fundamental purpose of contributing meaningfully to the development of track and field as an area of sports. This is the ultimate problem. It is the bottom line. There is an inadequacy of structured and organized local competitions and events, and the few that ever get scheduled are more often than not either cancelled or indefinitely “postponed.” The disorganization has led to a loss of sponsorship. There are no serious training programmes, support mechanisms or developmental initiatives. Keith Joseph seems to be more interested in jet-setting than taking care of important duties on the ground. I will turn to these issues next.

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