Let's Begin Again
Dominica's Olympic Committee demands fresh elections of executive at a heated meeting
It was high drama at the Special Meeting of the Dominica Olympic Committee (DOC) at the Fort Young Hotel on Thursday, May 16, 2013.
Tempers flared even during the registration process as some members were again denied access and were locked out. Security officers assigned to the meeting was apparently inadequate and so the police Task Force Unit was called in. After almost four hours of heated debate and arguments, the 15 clubs present at the meeting passed a unanimous resolution to have fresh elections 21 days from May 16, 2013.
At the meeting, DOC president Felix Wilson and general secretary Thomas Dorset had an insurmountable task of convincing club members that the DOC had a legal executive.
DOC treasurer Phillip White was hailed as "peacemaker" after he intervened when Wilson refused to allow a proposed resolution to be tabled saying it was in "contravention of article 18.1 of the DOC constitution". "We were having a meeting and we were going nowhere and so I had to bring my knowledge of things to assist," White said. "We had a previous experience in football, which went to court and a decision was arrived at and so since the Olympic committee falls under the same court decision there's precedent and they have to be guided and adhere to it. I explained to them that the resolution was legal and proper".
He told the press that the secretary and president do have "a passion for sports; their ability cannot be questioned". However, he explained, things were not done properly at the December 2012 elections.
"The election was not handled properly and they should have tried to win persons to their side but they did not and persons were alert with the many discrepancies at the election process. They should have allowed the election to take its proper process," White stated.
The Sun reported last week that fifteen affiliated clubs to the DOC wanted a special annual general meeting to express their dissatisfaction with the DOC and, specifically, the election held at the last annual general meeting. A letter from the disgruntled clubs, dated April 25, 2013 stated that the special AGM was necessary to discuss the role, composition and function of the DOC; the legitimacy of the athletics representatives who voted at the last AGM; the denial of members' associations from voting; the non-acceptance of nominations; inconsistencies in the number of nominations and the financial activities of the DOC from the 2012 Olympics to May 2013. At the end of Thursday's meeting, White labelled the episode "a clear lesson" and said "it is ringing across the Caribbean" where persons are aware of their constitution and seeking legal advice.
"There must be transparency, accountability and good governance in those sporting organizations. We are the servants of the membership and their wish was to have fresh elections and you have no choice but to adhere to it," he said. "I have not yet given it any thought if I will again put my heart in the ring for the pending elections". Retired Elite Cricket Umpire Billy Doctrove who was part of the meeting said: "It's a message for persons involved in sports that they need to be accountable to the general membership since they are the ones who put them in office. The last election held was proven to be illegitimate."