Sun | Aug 20, 2017

The Wright View | Rejection of the known

Published:Tuesday | July 4, 2017 | 7:00 AM
Christopher Samuda (left) receives a hug from his brother Milton after it was announced that he was elected president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA). The elections took place at the JOA's headquarters on Cunningham Avenue in Kingston.

The election to select the members of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) is over and a new set of men and women are tasked with the great job of leading the efforts of Jamaica's sporting organisations to relevance and supremacy in their particular disciplines. In the beginning, there were two "slates," as aspirants Christopher Samuda and Vishu Tolan sought the coveted spot as President.

The incumbent Secretary General of the Association (Samuda) defeated the incumbent 1st Vice President (Tolan) in a contest that saw 36 votes from affiliated sporting organisations up for grabs. In the end, Samuda defeated Tolan by 20 votes to 16. Both men graciously accepted the wishes of the member delegates and the victor, Samuda, promised, among other things, to see that "Local sports men and women have progressive and meaningful lives after completing their careers" - a noble and interesting priority for the new team.

Samuda's victory, and indeed the victory of his entire slate of nominees for positions on the Executive came as a big surprise to many, and a shock to me. Before Election Day, Samuda announced that his slate would consist of Christopher Stokes of Bobsled fame, Garth Gayle the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association's (JAAA) general secretary, Alan Beckford from the Jamaica Triathlon Association, Nichole Case, newly elected interim President of the Jamaica Badminton Association, Yvonne Kong incumbent and hardworking member of the Executive of the JOA, Laurel Smith from the Jamaican Fencing Federation, Raymond Anderson from the Jamaica Football Federation, and Robert Scott from the Jamaica Rowing Association. Incumbent 1st Vice President of the JOA had in his slate, Dr Warren Blake, head of the JAAA, Martin Lyn for the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica, Marva Bernard, who just stepped down from a long and distinguished term as head of Netball Jamaica, Compton Rodney the incumbent Treasurer, of the JOA, Wayne Shaw, the new head of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association, Ali McNab, deputy Chairman of JADCO and the main adviser to the Minister of Sports, Dr Praimanand Singh, the head of the Jamaica Association of Sports Medicine, Stephen 'Bomber' Jones, the head of the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control, and Dr Paula Daley-Morris, the present head of Netball Jamaica. These men and women are all well known and popular leaders and past leaders of the top and most successful sporting Organisations in Jamaica. The people who voted were all members of local sporting Organisations. To my mind, and the thoughts of many onlookers, this was going to be a "slam dunk". Popular and well known leaders against relatively unknown and behind the scenes type of leaders.

After the counting of the votes, it was a clean sweep for the Samuda slate. Chris Stokes defeated Dr Warren Blake by 25 votes to 11. Garth Gayle defeated Martin Lyn by 29 votes to 7. Alan Beckford defeated Marva Bernard by 28 to 8, Nichole Case defeated Compton Rodney by 21 to 15, Yvonne Kong defeated Wayne Shaw by 25 to 11, Laurel Smith defeated Ali McNab by 18 to 16, Raymond Anderson defeated Dr Praimanand Singh by 23 to 13, and Robert Scott defeated Stephen Jones by 22 to 14. A complete rejection of the known by the relatively unknown. How come? I sought answers by asking some of those with intimate knowledge of the inner thoughts of the sporting Associations. The answer: "Doc, we know those people". Four words that represent a sort of revolt against the well tried and proven, but now discredited method of leading Organisations: "my way or the highway". J.P.Pawliw-Fry, an expert on "leadership" says: "A great leader realises that he doesn't know it all, but he is big enough to be okay with that. He then reaches out to tap that pool of knowledge. A leader needs to create a container of safety and inspiration so that people will feel they can add to the team and help the leader lead. The greatest failure in leadership is the feeling that you have to know it all, which is an impossibility. The second greatest failure is refusing to tap the resources of the people around you to take advantage of their knowledge and experience." A word to the wise, (from an expert) should be sufficient to the new JOA leader and his team. The other leaders who were snubbed in the election, should also take note.