Trust my JADCO drug-test statistics
R. Anne Shirley, Guest columnist
I write in response to a column published in the In Focus section of The Sunday Gleaner on August 11, 2013 by Delano Franklyn, titled 'Jamaica haunted by drug scandal'.
In the article, he expressed astonishment at the difference in figures presented by Dr Herbert Elliott, chairman of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), and myself, a former executive director of JADCO, regarding the number of tests that were conducted by the commission during 2012.
He queried how there could be such an incredible difference and wondered that "depending on who is right, how could anyone so deeply concerned with JADCO (Ms Shirley up to a few months ago) get the figures so wrong?" This could be interpreted by some readers that I am the culprit who is trying to create mischief, given that I no longer work with JADCO.
Well, I stand by my numbers and I would have thought that rather than writing, without any research being conducted by Mr Franklyn, on the contrary, he would have seen fit to ascertain the truth, particularly given his current position as an adviser to the prime minister, who is also the minister of sport.
One of the things I have maintained throughout my entire working career is a meticulous attention to detail and research, and I stand by my contention that JADCO conducted 179 tests in 2012, broken down as follows:
Because I agree with Mr Franklyn that it is "especially important and critical" that an institution such as JADCO cannot afford to unwittingly disseminate wrong information, I would advise him to confirm if the information provided in the table above is correct and, if so, a public acknowledgement be made with regard to my efforts to ensure that the public record reflects the true level of tests conducted by JADCO in 2012 at the Jamaican taxpayers' expense.
In terms of track and field in-competition tests conducted in 2012, JADCO conducted a total of 96 tests - 15 tests at the Jamaica International Invitational meet in May 2012 and 81 tests at the JAAA National Senior Championships, held in June 2012, prior to the London Olympics.
With regard to the testing at the National Championships in June 2012, JADCO carried out 25 tests on behalf of the IAAF and 56 tests on its own account. What Mr Franklyn needs to do is seek answers to the following questions with regard to these tests:
1 What instructions were given to the Montreal Lab in writing as to which entity should be sent the results of all 81 tests? And by whom?
2 How many of the doping forms listed JADCO as the testing authority?
3 When were the samples shipped to the Montreal Lab? And when did JADCO receive the results of the 56 tests it authorised and paid for? And how did it receive this information - from the lab directly or through viewing the results posted in the ADAMS system?
4 After the thorough review conducted by the JADCO Technical Committee into this matter in August 2012, was anything done to ensure that the records in the ADAMS database were corrected?
5 Why was this problem not flagged and corrections made by WADA, IAAF, JADCO and the Montreal Lab, prior to the publication of the official statistics by WADA recently?
6 Why did no member of the JADCO board publicly acknowledge that the published WADA statistics did not correspond with the information they received each month at their board meetings?
In satisfying himself regarding answers to these questions, perhaps in preparing his report to the prime minister, Mr Franklyn might also want to apprise her of the potential impact this costly error could have had if the two adverse analytical findings (AAFs) which were received after the London Olympics had been from two medallists at those Olympics.
This would have had devastating consequences to Jamaica's reputation and that of our athletes, including the possibility of loss of medals.
Finally, rather than seeking to crucify the messenger, I would respectfully suggest that Mr Franklyn and other senior technocrats at the Office of the Prime Minister need to review the current state of staffing and organisational depth at JADCO - particularly given the fact that the agency should be far advanced in preparing cases for the six AAFs and one appeal that are on its plate and ensure that the necessary corrective actions are taken with immediate effect.
As he rightly stated, we need to do everything to protect the reputation of our athletes and our nation.
R. Anne Shirley is former executive director, JADCO. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.