Steve Stoute or Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Browne?
Erskine Simmons or Craig Archer?
Experience or youth?
The path that Barbados is set to chart in the sporting arena for the next four years will be decided tonight when 33 national federations elect the next Barbados Olympic Association’s (BOA) council at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
It’s set to be the biggest BOA elections in the organization’s 50-year history, with a record 12 candidates contesting the five positions on the board.
And that doesn’t include the three major executive posts being challenged – highlighted by the battle between long-serving incumbent Stoute and fellow board member Browne for the position of president.
This is the first time in Stoute’s 16-year tenure that his leadership has been challenged since the former high-ranking cycling officer took over in 1998 following a stint as secretary general.
Under his guidance, the country’s Olympic body grew, culminating with Barbados’ first and only Olympic medal in 2000 and the creation of the Olympic Centre in 2007.
“I am cautiously optimistic [of being returned as president] but we will have to wait and see how the electorate speaks,” said Stoute, who added he intended this to be his last Olympic cycle at the helm.
“I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but there are some changes I want to make if I am returned.”
But Browne, head of the Barbados Table Tennis Association, said Stoute’s time has passed as the BOA has no clear strategic plan necessary for the country’s sporting development.
“I think there is immense potential in Barbados as it relates to our sporting possibilities but it requires fairly advanced management skills for us to fulfill that potential,” reasoned Browne.
“There was a particular set of skills that was needed to manage us ten or 15 years ago, but now there is a different set of skills needed for the next ten or 15 years and I just feel that this is a great opportunity for a change in direction.”
Stoute isn’t the only long-serving executive being challenged as secretary-general Simmons is set to be opposed by Archer, the local squash boss and board member.
Like Stoute, Simmons has held the post since 1998 and will now be challenged by a man who has been credited with much of his sport’s recent development and success.
Former Barbados Hockey Federation president George Bennett is set to run for assistant secretary-general – a post held by former hockey secretary Cammie Burke.
There will also be a battle for the five coveted spots as director, with long-serving cycling head Keith Yearwood being one of seven new challengers, including Bennett, Clifford Gooding-Edgehill, Stephanie Greaves, Sandra Osbourne, Sasha Sutherland and Ytannia Wiggins.
Browne, Archer, Dr Adrian Lorde, Esther Maynard and Mona Alleyne currently serve as directors.
Each of the 33 federations is afforded one vote for every position, while the current board members are also allotted a vote at the elections, which are slated to start at 5 p.m.