Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Leaders must be held accountable

Published:Tuesday | November 10, 2015 | 11:00 AMDr Paul Wright, Contributor

As the world reels from disclosure after disclosure that the men who 'volunteer' for service as sport administrators have personal aggrandisement as the real reason for their service, the call for term limits to their reign becomes even more moot.

The Dick Pound-authored revelations about the shenanigans in WADA and the IAAF regarding doping in sport - which was published yesterday - should alert us here in Jamaica to the relevance of whistle-blowers who come forward with information that is factual, but are vilified and ostracised by those (with authority) who are fingered.

We must begin to look deeply into the administration of sporting bodies that continually fail to succeed, yet whose leaders glibly request 'reform', but hang on for dear life when requested to submit to 'reform'.

The sport of horse racing continues to lose money, monthly, despite every study and review pointing out that Government has no business promoting the sport.

We hear, year after year, that "the promoting company (Caymanas Track Limited) will be divested soon", while the investors and stakeholders soldier on in hope.

Recently, there has been a welcome rush of sponsorship of the sport. Supreme Ventures Limited, Burger King and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) have put their resources and cash on the line in showing a sceptical public that this sport of horse racing can be a welcome source of fun and entertainment every week.

However, administrators do things that frustrate punters and nauseate visitors.

Following the fourth race at Caymanas Park last Saturday, two horses were unable to finish the race through injury. They had their jockeys dismount inside the final furlong of an 1,820 metres race.

 

Horrific slaughter

To my utter amazement and disgust, in full view of the public, one of the horses was euthanised and removed from the racetrack by a front-end loader, with the now deceased horse's head and neck hanging from the bucket of the vehicle.

The author of this unconscionable act obviously has no regard to the sensitivity of any 'horse lover' at the Park. I suppose that "oops" will be the answer if any animal rights organisations protest this action.

That was not all. The next race, the fifth race, was scheduled to start at 2:35 p.m., but got off to its customary late start. At the end of the race, a now seemingly mandatory 'stewards enquiry' sign was placed on the tote board, as the stewards reviewed the race. After a lengthy deliberation, one of three grey horses in the race was disqualified for 'interference'' during the race. Frantic stakeholders (two trainers and an announcer) immediately went to the room where the gentlemen were to have dialogue with the stewards, to inform them that the wrong grey horse had been disqualified!

The number seven horse, No Money Friend, was not the culprit, but horse number four, Touch the Road, was to blame.

Upon further review, the now embarrassed stewards reportedly said "oops", corrected themselves and dividends to be paid to successful punters recalculated and paid. This caused considerable delay to the running of the next race as reluctant race-day managers, faced with the prospect of running the next race on time, ran the risk of running the last race in darkness so that punters at the track and 60-odd off-track betting stations could bet on the race.

As usual, no one will be held accountable for yet another instance of incompetence, as "oops" seems to be the acceptable response.

We cannot go on like this. People must be held accountable for their actions and sanctioned after independent review. There is no other way.

A new administrator of a world sporting body (Sebastian Coe) is quoted as saying: "It is our responsibility to make sure right systems are in place and the right people to uphold these systems."

Here at home in Jamaica, that responsibility seems more and more to be in our hands. We can get results when we collectively demand it. Let us no longer be afraid.