The board of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) ought to resign en bloc or be fired by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
Its members are guilty, it seems to us, of acts of omission that encourage people who want to bring the integrity of Jamaica's athletics into disrepute.
We are not here concerned with claims, in the recent past, of the supposed inefficacy of JADCO's drug-testing regime. Rather, we are appalled at the seeming lack of urgency on the part of the agency to prove to its global counterparts that it has put its house in order.
JADCO is that agency which, by law, monitors Jamaican athletes at home to prevent their use of banned substances so as to gain unfair advantage in sports. It operates largely in accordance with the regime established by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Three months ago, Anne Shirley, who helped establish the agency and had a short stint as its executive director in 2012, revealed that JADCO had, in the months leading up to the London Olympics, conducted few out-of-competition tests on Jamaican athletes.
The fact and timing of Ms Shirley's declaration gave it special resonance. It happened just as three of the island's leading athletes were reported to have tested positive for banned substances, and Jamaica was about to set off for the World Championships in Athletics in Moscow. Further, Ms Shirley's status as an insider gave credence to those who had long doubted the capacity of a country of under three million people to be such a power in global athletics.
But the discourse lacked much of its context, including the fact that while they may have not been tested at home, Jamaica's elite athletes were often tested abroad. Further, Ms Shirley failed to fully explain that a combination of old, inappropriate testing kits, which she herself had remedied, had enhanced testing, and other weaknesses were being improved.
However, she may have muddied the water, much of the fault for continuing negative perceptions about Jamaica rests with JADCO and its old-fashioned leadership that seems to thrive on hubris, arrogance and an absence of transparency.
This week, WADA announced that it will conduct an "extraordinary" audit of JADCO and its drug-testing arrangement. Given what the agency has supposedly done prior to, and since, Anne Shirley's statement, as well as the issues that are at stake, this newspaper would have expected that JADCO would be literally dragging the WADA officials to Kingston.
But according WADA's Director General David Howman, JADCO has said that it won't be able to accommodate his auditors until closer to the end of the year. Such a delay, he said, "doesn't overimpress us". Nor does it this newspaper.
We hardly believe that JADCO has anything to hide. We believe JADCO's chairman, Herb Elliott, to be one of those characters steeped in an old culture of the public sector, and lost in time. He and his fellow commissioners may be a modern-day version of Dickens' Ms Havisham.
Standing pompously on ceremony and hiding in the dark is to miss, and contribute to, the destruction of the edifice.
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