The final stretch - Gayle, Quarrie bids for JAAA presidency culminate at AGM today
Today will be D-Day for the leadership of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) as its annual general meeting will be held at the National Arena at 9 a.m. In addition to the meeting, voting delegates of the JAAA will be casting their votes for a new president, an honorary secretary, and a director of records, as the new executive is set to run the track and field affairs for the next four years.
With incumbent President Warren Blake, who has been at the helm since 2011, not seeking re-election, it will be a battle between present Honorary Secretary Garth Gayle, and Olympian Donald Quarrie. Today’s election will see a total of 331 votes, which comprise 263 individuals and 34 clubs.
Both candidates have put out elaborate manifestos in a bid to woo the voters, and both have good credentials going into today’s election.
Gayle who has served as honorary secretary for the past 20 years, is banking on his experience to come out victorious.
“I am very confident of victory because I think my experience in the association and the volume of work I have done over the years has spoken for itself,” Gayle told The Gleaner. He is also confident that the two other running members of his slate will be successful.
Gayle, the principal of Charlemont High School, and a member of the Technical Committee of World Athletics between 2016 and 2019, in his manifesto, had a strategic outlook on four core pillars of transformation.
“The occasion we now face requires transformational leadership and a concerted effort that will convert our athletic programme to sustainable competitive advantages, and our strategic coalesces around four cores,” he said.
Quarrie, a past JAAA second vice-president under the leadership of the late Howard Aris, and running as an independent candidate, will be hoping to emulate Herb McKenley, the only Olympian to have held the post as JAAA president. Quarrie, who lives in California, thinks it is time to change and focus on the future. and has named four primary areas of focus.
Former University of Technology Sports Director Anthony Davis, and manager of On Di Run statistics agency Wayne Long, are both running independently. Davis will be going up against Marie Tavares for the post of honorary secretary, while Long will be hoping to unseat Leroy Cooke as director of records.
Tavares, JAAA’s assistant secretary, and a member of the management teams to several national junior and senior teams is positive.
“I am confident that our team will be successful, and we are looking forward to executing and implementing the mandate of our president, Garth Gayle, and the Executive Committee of the JAAA, by executing our core pillars for transformation,” she said.
Long feels at a disadvantage but is also optimistic about his chances.
“It feels like they are running a 100m sprint and I am running the 110m hurdles,” he said. “But I knew that before I entered the race, and I knew my 110m time was much faster than their 100m time. So what they have done is put additional hurdles in my lane. Hopefully, I will still be able to get to the finish line first,” he said.
Cooke is also confident that he will be re-elected.
“I do believe that our team, including myself, will be victorious,” he said. “The team I have been working with is a good one and, whatever happens at the end of the day, track and field will be a winner.”
At the end of voting today, 17 members will form the new executive of the JAAA.
Gayle campaign’s four core focuses
- Financial optimisation and sustainability
- Marketing brand development
- Inclusion and governance structure
- Human capital development
Quarrie campaign’s four core focuses
- Ensure an efficiently run organisation
- Strengthen the national programme
- Rebuild Jamaica’s relevance
- Prepare for Jamaica’s future in athletics