BOA needs to promote its work

Kenmore Bynoe,

Added 24 October 2012

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While the results of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) elections have indicated that sporting associations are satisfied with the work of the directors – with all but one being returned to office – president Steve Stoute and the others have been served notice that it cannot be business as usual. For the first time in his 20-year tenure, Stoute and his hard-working secretary general Erskine Simmons not only faced a challenge, but one from fellow board members, Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Browne and Craig Archer. Browne held on to his position of director, while Archer was a casualty to newcomer Sandra Osborne, QC. Days after it became known that Stoute, Simmons and assistant secretary general Cammie Burke would be facing opposition at the elections, the blogs, media and general public became involved, at times acerbically, in voicing views as to who should go and why. The situation has not changed after the elections, although the people who matter, the 32-member associations and the 11 board members would have spoken. Unfortunately, a very high percentage of Barbadians do not know or do not care what is the role of the BOA. It is only leading up to the Olympic Games and just afterwards that most Barbadians wake up and lambaste the BOA for Barbados’ failure to perform better. The elections and the furore surrounding the campaign should have told Stoute et al that the BOA must educate and inform the public as to what they are doing or have done to advance sports development. The last person entrusted with that job for the BOA was Terry Mayers, who died in 2008. The BOA’s principal role is to facilitate the sporting bodies in securing funding, international coaching and/or opportunities to develop and advance to the international stage. Browne unintentionally epitomized that concept in his call for “urgent organizational need for change at the leadership level”. “I have been fortunate to benefit from the highest possible level of modern sports management training through the BOA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This training has prepared me with the kind of management skills needed by modern sports organizations,” he stressed. In reality, Browne and more than 250 sports administrators would have benefitted from the IOC-sponsored Basic Sports Administration certified course which has been held every year since it was launched in 2001. The advanced version was established in 2010 with 28 candidates already graduating. Browne and Archer, after serving on the board without making any public outcry, were contending that the BOA has lost direction and focus. Wasn’t it the responsibility of the board members to refocus the board and to ensure that the member associations exploit the training of the graduates from the BOA’s administration course to better their respective organizations and Barbados’ sport on the whole? Even in the height of the silly season, the challengers made too many errors to have been successful in dislodging Stoute and Simmons. First, the campaign by Browne, Archer, Sasha Sutherland and Ytannia Wiggins was directed too much towards the Barbadian public of over 250 000 when only 43 voters mattered. All of the 32 voting federations would have spent the past 20 years interacting with Stoute and Simmons on a personal and professional level and while many persons often complain about a situation, they are hesitant about throwing out tested and proven individuals. While some pundits would argue that the BOA needs an injection of youth, those same pundits must understand the politics of international sports. Stoute would have gained the positions of chairman of the Caribbean Association of National Committees (CANOC) and vice-president of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization (CACSO) by proving his mettle over the years, which obviously benefits Barbados. A replacement of Stoute as the BOA’s chief will not create an automatic assumption of the international position which he holds by any successors. And finally, if challengers believed that the BOA had lost direction why just attempt to change the president and secretary general? Whatever perceived indiscretions and/or mistakes that were made, were they not sanctioned by the other board members, including two of the challengers? A serious attempt to bring about change should have been the offering of an entire cabinet. And not just a move to capture two of the “plum” positions. ● Kenmore Bynoe is first vice-president of the Barbados Volleyball Association.

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