CIAA gets new president after messy election

The new president of the beleaguered Cayman Islands Athletic Association (CIAA) is Lance Barnes, who was elected to a four-year term to lead a new executive that included many returning faces.

Lance Barnes

Other persons winning election on Monday 28 August were Theo Cuffy as 1st Vice President, Maxine Anglin as 2nd Vice President, Cydonie Mothersill as General Secretary, Ventisha Conolly as Treasurer and ordinary members Mollyann Moore, Paula Dawkins and Kenrick Williams.

However, the election held nearly a year late after legal and other challenges was fraught with issues, as Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) President Donald McLean oversaw the messy process that was needed to stave off suspension of the association from the sport’s world governing body, the IAAF.

Among the issues was the fact that no formal identification was needed to vote at the meeting held at the John Gray High School hall, with people only answering to a roll call of a 2015 membership list and indicating they were who they said they were. At least one person, whose name was not called but had an email from the association confirming her status as a fully paid up member in April, called on McLean to rectify the situation. He eventually ruled her eligible to vote.

The numbers of those in attendance fluctuated between 60 and 75 but it was not immediately clear how many of those people actually voted in the election.

There was also a situation of ballots for various positions being circulated at a time when only the 1st Vice President was being elected. “This is totally unacceptable,” McLean interjected before offering up “this is not going as smoothly as I had expected.”

Then came the issue of candidate eligibility. It was announced during the election that Delroy Murray, one of the candidates for the General Secretary position, was suspended for two years by the CIAA Disciplinary Committee and therefore ineligible to contest for a spot on the executive.

Bernie Bush, who was nominated by Murray for the post of president, challenged the decision, saying “the people who have banned Mr Murray are the people who are running against him”.

Again, McLean was forced to play peacemaker, eventually ruling that Murray was on the membership list being used and was allowed to seek election. Although his name was on the ballot, Murray was not at the meeting due to prior commitments overseas.

Another issue popped up during the election of three “ordinary members” of the executive. Three separate ballots were circulated but it was pointed out that the norm is for the three highest vote getters on a single ballot to win the positions and not have three separate ballots.

In this case, it appeared as though one of the ballots had only one name on it. In the end, members were instructed to vote for three of the five names. “This is a colossal mess,” McLean sighed.

McLean charged the new executive to hold separate elections for the Assistant Secretary post after Maxine Anglin, who was elected as 2nd Vice President, also won that spot.

At the start of the evening’s proceedings, the CIOC president explained how he found himself at the centre of things.

“I do not get involved in the internal affairs of any national federation but I was approached by the IAAF … and I was most recently asked by your acting president, Cydonie [Mothersill], if I would chair the meeting. I readily agreed because it’s extremely important that we have all of our national federations functioning properly,” McLean said.

“This is a very serious matter. The funding from IAAF has ceased – they have stopped funding you. If you do not have an election meeting, you will get suspended and who would that affect? That would affect the athletes and we have such promising athletes,” he further explained.

Despite what he termed “administrative issues”, at the end of the evening, McLean said he was satisfied that the election was conducted in a fair manner, although he conceded “I truly hope that I never have to do this again” as he challenged the new executive to “get your act together”.

Meantime, the new president, Lance Barnes, thanked the membership for their trust in him and strong leadership for the next four years.

“We have new leadership. New leadership is important. Some believe that I will be easily influenced as well but my track record as a leader is that I hold people accountable,” he said as he vowed to put the interests of the athletes first. will have a separate story on Barnes’ reaction and plans for the association.


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