Sport

Troubled waters?

Former boss Lyn dives into ASAJ presidential race, incumbent Lamey welcomes challenge

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 17, 2017



Things are heating up in the aquatics arena as former Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) president Martin Lyn has thrown his hat into the ring to set up another battle with incumbent Handel Lamey for the leadership post.

Lyn, whose six-year reign at the helm was ended by Lamey in 2015, cited a lack of efficiency and inability to access information from the current administration as his reason for coming out of the proverbial wilderness ahead of the upcoming elections.

The elections, which form part of the upcoming annual general meeting (AGM), will be held on November 29 to establish the administration which will be responsible for handling the affairs of the ASAJ for the next two years.

By all indications, this election will be one of intrigue, as Lamey and his team have been under heavy scrutiny over the past months by an anonymous party that tabled two no-confidence motions to remove executive members of the administration — both of which they survived. But the anonymous “activist” did not stop there and recently sent out a series of emails — which Jamaica Observer has seen — in a bid to “demonstrate the flagrant and frequent inadequacies” of the current administration. One of the emails, which came from the address stakeholdersgetactive@yahoo.com, read: “These elections are crucial for all stakeholders whether you are a swimmer, member of a club, parent of a swimmer, a council member or if you are otherwise affiliated to the ASAJ, as the elections will determine the future and direction of swimming in Jamaica.

“For parents they are especially important as they may actually determine whether or not your child achieves his or her full potential in their sport of choice,” the email noted.

It continued: “The present administration have been poor stewards of the ASAJ's affairs and the lack of transparency, the tardiness, the failure to communicate, the general laziness, the flouting of ASAJ'S long-standing rules, criterion and bylaws, have many stalwarts in ASAJ's circles wondering when the madness will end.

“So offended are these longstanding supporters and functionaries of the ASAJ that it has led to the ASAJ's inability to properly execute swim meets as they have been unable to garner the support and assistance of those functionaries.

“Over the next few emails to you, we will be outlining in greater detail just what these failures and transgressions are which have caused such concern to so many. It is important while doing this, to point out how a new administration will do things differently.”

The email then indicated that a team to be led by Lyn is currently waiting in the wings to succeed the current administration.

However, when contacted yesterday, Lyn, who has been under the radar since his defeat to Lamey, denied having any knowledge of who is behind the emails and explained the reasoning behind his decision to run for the presidency.

“No idea about who is behind any of the emails; in fact, I have only received one of those emails. But it is just my passion for the sport and a passion for the athletes, the parents and the volunteers, and I just don't think I should just sit by and let the ASAJ deteriorate.

“In my opinion, the last two years have not been going properly, so based on that, along with clubs and coaches meeting with me and calling on me to reconsider, I have decided to make myself available for the post once again,” he told the Observer in a telephone interview.

“I am displeased with the whole loggerhead situation and that is another reason why I am running, because this just can't continue because if there is confusion in the sport, then sponsors will shy away from [it] and parents will get disillusioned and then the sport will just deteriorate,” Lyn said.

For his part on the campaign trail, Lyn outlined that protecting the integrity of the sport as well as providing windows of opportunities for swimmers to access overseas scholarship — in essence picking up where he left off — headlines his manifesto.

“The most important thing is to bring back creditability to the sport, because we have to build on all of the past that has happened in aquatics during my previous tenure and we have a lot of things to look forward to. We are second only to track and field in our achievement and we need to build on that. we can't let that deteriorate,” he noted.

“We have a lot of talent in the pool and we can definitely generate many more Alia Atkinsons as well as top male swimmers, and also a lot of athletes can use this as a springboard for scholarships to study overseas, and those are some of the things that I would like to protect,” Lyn asserted.

“I personally was responsible for Yona Knight-Wisdom diving for Jamaica, and he has brought a lot of publicity to Jamaica as our premier diver, so nobody can take any credit for that and I also have another diver now in Pele Julian (London Crystal Palace Diving Club), who is just as good or better than Yona at his age, and these things I would say augur well for worldwide publicity for Jamaica,” he continued.

While the email stated that it fully endorsed the team, which will have Georgia Sinclair running for the post of vice-president, Carol Thompson will vie for secretary, and Richard Hopkins for treasurer, Lyn felt otherwise.

“It is not a matter of approving; I am not even into the slate business, I believe in the right person for the job. The only person I would approve whole-hearted on that is Carol Thompson, because she was my general secretary and she is above reproach and she knows a lot about the administration of swimming.

“But elections are elections. As I said, I am looking to bring back things to the sport and I am hoping that the electorate will see the benefits of my leadership and see what my leadership did in years gone by and hopefully I will have the support on November 29th,” he ended.

Meanwhile, Lamey told the Observer that he was unaware of the anonymous emails, but welcomed the challenge from his predecessor.

“I haven't seen any of the emails, but I heard that he (Lyn) has put himself up and people have asked him to run. But he is free to participate because it is a democratic process,” Lamey said with a chuckle.

In response to the emails, Lamey refuted the claims pointing out that the individual (s) are trying to tarnish the credibility of his administration, but they remain steadfast in their undertaking.

“I can't fault them for trying, but we know that we are an inclusive and collective administration and our accomplishments are public knowledge. So we won't get distracted by that and we will focus on delivering for the people and moving the sport forward, [and] that is all we do.

“I am looking forward to the elections and we are preparing ourselves to present ourselves at the AGM and so we won't be distracted. First and foremost, our focus is on presenting the reports and the audited statements to the various disciplines at the AGM and that is our current focus now,” he stressed.

Another major focus in the emails was that of the loss of the “Wisynco Sponsorship for the past two years of our most important locally organised competition, the Walter Rogers Age Group Champs, [which] was due to ASAJ president's negligence to follow up in a timely manner with the Wisynco Group regarding continuation of this sponsorship”.

But Lamey again was on the defensive.

“We did not lose any sponsorship whatsoever. The sponsorship that I am aware that they are talking about is a non-existent sponsorship, and if they claim that they need to provide the proof that it was lost. Ask them to bring forth the letter that states that they are the organisation that is not sponsoring us and for what reason. All those claims they need to back them up with proof,” he declared.

Finally, Lamey pointed out that there will be a change of personnel on his slate, but was reluctant to reveal the name or post of the individual.

“I think there might be some changes because there is a particular individual who has expressed interest that they are no longer willing to go forward because they have been in it for some time. I can't say who it is because I would rather that person issue the notice themselves,” he said.

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