Rugby boss Benzwick welcomes court challenge
Jerry Benzwick, who was returned as chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) following their annual general meeting (AGM), via Zoom, on Wednesday, said he would welcome any court action from Conroy O’Mally, who is crying foul after his nomination was rejected.
Benzwick, along with his administration, was returned unopposed for a second term, with O’Mally’s nomination being rejected by the JRFU board.
“There was no contest. Those contesting, their nomination was revoked, based on the fact that the club they said seconded it (nomination), wrote us to say they were not involved and therefore they had no nomination. They only had one nomination from one club and that club did not support them,” Benzwick stated, before adding that only eligible members and nominees were invited to participate.
However, O’Mally, who intends to challenge the legality of the AGM in the court, accused Benzwick’s administration of manipulating the constitution and sidelining his supporters in order to retain power.
“The election ran with a St Catherine core of men, who manipulated the system and voted themselves back into power. Three teams had the right to vote. So we saw manipulation of the laws taking precedence (at the AGM),” said O’Mally.
“I will continue what I started with my law firm, and I will be writing the JRFU to remind them the meeting wasn’t properly run. So my lawyer will continue to try and get the votes for the positions that were first indicated,” added O’Mally.
However, Benzwick welcomed the challenge and insisted that O’Mally quoted from the old constitution. He also noted that clubs that were ineligible to vote because of non-payment of affiliation fees, were given time to pay at least 50 per cent of those fees, but failed to make any contribution.
“We ratified a new constitution in 2019, which was accepted by the Friendly Society and achieved non-profit status, which the union didn’t have before. It was ratified by the board and clubs, and due process,” he said. “So he (O’Mally) doesn’t really have a case, so we welcome any court proceeding he wants to follow. I am sure he will not have a good day in court with us.”
Benzwick’s team will consist of Vice-Chairman Keisha-Ann Down; Secretary, Professor Anthony Greenaway; Treasurer Laurie-Ann Watson; and Assistant Treasurer/Secretary Hyacinth Morris. Board members include Patrick Alexander, Marvin Kelly, Bruce Martin and Mohenjo Thompson.
“We are halfway through, because we spent so much time rebuilding relationships and clearing debt incurred by the previous administration, but we have done most of the groundwork over the four years and now we are going into phase two,” said Benzwick. “This is where the real work starts. We are looking for four more years to make sure rugby becomes the number one sport.”