Senate passes new anti-doping legislation
THE JAMAICAN Senate passed new anti-doping legislation yesterday, with one lawmaker urging local sports-governing bodies to embrace the new law.
The legislation, the Anti-Doping in Sports Act 2014, has already been passed in the House of Representatives and will replace the Anti-Doping in Sports Act 2008 when Governor General Sir Patrick Allen signs it into law.
Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, who piloted the bill through the Senate, said the amended legislation would also place Jamaica's anti-doping legislation in line with the World Anti-Doping Association's (WADA) revised code that takes effect on January 1 next year.
Against the backdrop of Jamaica's global dominance in athletics, Opposition Senator Alexander Williams, a former chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), said he hoped local sporting organisations would understand what was taking place with the introduction of the new law.
"They must understand that this is not JADCO versus the athletes; this is not JADCO versus the JAAA [Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association). Jamaica is a world power in sports, and we must be the example for the rest of the world," he asserted.
"They [sporting bodies] must throw their weight behind the new regime," Williams underscored during his contribution to the debate.
According to Golding, the new legislation came out of a review of the country's institutional anti-doping arrangements after a number of Jamaican athletes returned adverse analytical findings last year, sparking an avalanche of criticisms and concerns worldwide about local drug testing.
"Our prowess has given a boost to the image of Jamaica internationally, through our beloved sporting heroes, and we cannot afford to be behind the curve when it comes to these issue of doping in sports," he insisted.
Williams also used the debate to urge the Government to give JADCO the resources needed to carry out its mandate.
"Ensure that they can keep out-of-competition testing going on a regular basis [so] that they don't have to pick up the phone and tear out their hair to find out whether or not a test has been paid for," the former JADCO chairman said.
"Make sure that at the end of the day, if there is a snap inspection by WADA, they can open their books and say, 'All is well'," he added.
Golding, in his response, pointed out that JADCO's budget has been increasing since 2012, with a 110 per cent increase this year.
In addition, he said starting next April, the commission will be able to write its own cheques and have its own accounting department.