Ban them! - JAAA’s wants lifetime penalty for coaches who traffic drugs to athletes
Garth Gayle, general secretary of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), believes coaches who are found exposing athletes to performance-enhancement drugs should be banned from the sport of track and field for life.
Gayle was reacting to news that a track and field coach entered the compound of a primary school in St Thomas between September 13 and 14 and offered unprescribed tablets, which he claims can enhance performance.
It is reported that approximately 18 students became ill after consuming the pills and had to be taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital and private doctors for treatment.
The actions of the young coach have been condemned by Education Minister Ruel Reid, who in an interview with The Gleaner at the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists in Montego Bay on Tuesday stated: "The whole notion of the performance-enhancing drug is certainly something we are not going to condone in our culture."
"So I am using this as an opportunity and a learning moment to all our students and student athletes that this is not something that the Government supports, and they are not to take any medication that is not prescribed by an authorised person, medical practitioner preferably," Minister Reid stated.
However, Gayle is hoping that the blacklisting of cheating coaches would be a national effort, across all sporting disciplines with strong state support.
"The association (JAAA) opposes such an act and does not support that type of behaviour, and we would hope and pray that the entity or institution would have done the necessary reporting mechanism and ensure the law takes its full course," Gayle noted.
"That individual should be made known to the Ministry of Education and the police so that he has nothing to do ever with children or with students in any shape or form for the rest of his life.
"We stand with the law and all entities that have to do with sports in general, ISSA, (Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association), JTA, (Jamaica Teachers' Association), every sporting association, in general, should move to make sure that this individual and anyone else have nothing to do with children," said Gayle.
The JAAA is proposing that Government move to establish a policy parallel to what exists in other jurisdictions to prevent the free movement of pedophiles.
"We would want the Government to be strong in executing such penalties," Gayle said. "Just as in the USA, where you have paedophiles barred from living or doing any form of a transaction within certain school perimeters.
"That is what we think Jamaica should have happened. He (coach) should never be seen around any form of educational institutions," Gayle stated. "We follow the IAAF and WADA codes, and so this must be stamped out and we are hoping that the authorities (police) would be able to get from him who his source is and who is the big fish that needs to be answerable for this."
According to Gayle, the JAAA is ready to play its part in blacklisting the individual, if he is found guilty.