Fewer doping cases anticipated – Neita Headley
Natalie Neita-Headley, the minister with responsibility for sports, said it is unlikely that Jamaica will ever have the vast number of positive drug-test results that were returned in recent years.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Neita-Headley said that while the allocation to the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission will see its budgetary allocation being lowered from $104 million this year to $90 million, it should not be interpreted that Jamaica is going soft on doping.
"We don't anticipate the number of cases we experienced over the last year. I believe we have spent a great deal on educating our athletes, introducing a new website that provides additional information. Our athletes are more aware as a result of the Anti-Doping Commission embarking on a programme of work that made it far more efficient," Neita Headley said.
Several Jamaican athletes have returned adverse analytical findings in recent years, with sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson among those who tested positive for an illegal substance.
Executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), Carey Brown, has indicated that the agency is well on its way to introducing blood testing by the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year, and Neita-Headley said that despite the budget cut, the agency will be able to carry out its programme of work.
"We are to embark, in this year, on the EPO blood-testing programme, and it will not affect their programme of work. There is expected to be a reduction in a number of areas that were heightened last year, one of which was the hiring of a consultant to assist with the new Anti-Doping in Sports Act," Neita-Headley said.
"We have additional drug-testing personnel, we have additional personnel in the area of education and communication, and we have embarked on the junior educational programme, and we have introduced a new website," the minister said.