Editorial

Get it right, JAAA

Saturday, June 30, 2012    

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COMMUNICATION, as we all should be aware, is crucial to the success of human endeavour. What is conveyed may be by way of words, actions, expressions, tone of voice, gestures, and even silence, but all will contribute in some way to a perception or understanding on the part of the receiver.

It’s obvious that the sender should be very careful that the intended message is received.

We have been drawn down this path because of the recent squabbles and dissatisfaction involving the JAAA, the governing body for Jamaica’s track and field. This newspaper believes that much could have been avoided with better and more proactive communication, including basic consultation.

Since Thursday, and continuing through to tomorrow, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited (JAAA/SVL) National Senior Trials to select Jamaica’s team for next month’s eagerly anticipated London Olympics is down for decision at the National Stadium.

It is of special significance because this year marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence and there is much hope and expectation of Jamaican success at the London Games.

Sadly, instead of basking in and exploiting the qualities of our world famous athletes and seeking to build harmony, the JAAA managed to earn the wrath of some of its most ardent supporters, including athletes, coaches, support staff, and especially the media.

From this newspaper’s perspective, the JAAA ‘false-started’ from last week when coaches and support staff for the athletes were hit with an accreditation processing fee for the event at the time they went to collect their credentials.

We are fully cognisant of the ever increasing costs associated with putting on such an event, and further, we have sympathy for the rationale behind the proposal to impose the processing fees as a means of reducing the abuse of the privilege, though we believe that other ways could have been found to resolve the situation.

Then came the dispute with the media as an arbitrary bid was also made to charge journalists an accreditation processing fee, as well as request photographers to hand over copies of all pictures within 48 hours. These were steps which were clearly unprecedented and which also impinge on the rights of a free press.

Thankfully, at the end of the day, good sense prevailed following a meeting between the JAAA, the Press Association of Jamaica and the Media Association of Jamaica. As we understand it, dialogue is to continue on a few thorny issues in pursuit of a mutually beneficial conclusion. However, we feel the bitterness could have been avoided had there been prior consultation.

Then earlier this week members of the public were left frustrated after being unable to purchase Grandstand tickets shortly after they went on sale.

Clearly, with that area being relatively small — seating capacity is only about 5,000 — it was always going to be a challenge. Inadequate communication made matters worse. There is no doubt that had patrons been informed in a clear and concise manner that only a few hundred tickets were available for the Grandstand, then there would not have been that high level of public frustration.

This too, we believe, could have been avoided, had the JAAA employed effective communication. Still, we continue to hope that this august body will get it right.

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