Jamaica ‘obligated’ to support Carter - Patterson
Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson says Jamaica has a duty to rigorously defend its athletes against doping allegations as such matters have implications for the country's image.
Referencing the recent case involving sprinter Nesta Carter, Patterson said the country took pride when national athletes excelled and, therefore, needed to show their fulsome support when they faced adversity.
It emerged earlier this month that Carter tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) re-tested several hundred samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Our position is clear as a country: we don't support doping in any form," Patterson stressed.
"When accusations are levelled at those who have competed at the highest level, and, over those years, have never been found wanting, we have an obligation to rally and ensure that they get an adequate defence, and this is something in which all of us as Jamaicans have to be involved."
He continued: "We are defending our good name as a country, our athletics stars and one who has an unblemished record, who was tested before, during and immediately after the Beijing Olympics and no noxious substance was detected."
Carter ran the first leg in Beijing as Jamaica's men's sprint relay team - including Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Michael Frater - won gold in a then world record 37.10 seconds.
An ingredient in some dietary supplements, methylhexanamine has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list for the last 12 years but was reclassified in a 2011 list as a "specified substance", meaning one that is subject to a "credible, non-doping explanation".
Media reports have said that Carter has since failed the B sample and he could now face a suspension from the sport.
However, Patterson questioned the allegations, arguing they were "open to challenge".
"The particular substance for which he has been charged was not itself on the banned list in 2008, but the IOC is contending that it is related to other prohibited substances. That is open to challenge on a scientific basis," said Patterson, who served as prime minister between 1992 and 2006.
"But another question arises. The testing for the offending substance existed and was available then, so one must ask, why was it not found then?"
He added: "Eight years after, the chain of custody must be very carefully examined at every link ... one must also consider, with fading memories, how is one going to be called upon to reproduce, in detail, what was taken."
If Carter is found guilty, Bolt, Powell, and Frater stand to be stripped of their medals from the event.