Editorial

JADCO, sport minister need to respond urgently

Monday, March 17, 2014    

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The problems of the Jamaica Anti Doping Commission (JADCO) are clearly not going away.

Following last year's damaging reports of a range of resource and other inadequacies at the agency comes the damning report of a botched urine collection process involving champion sprinter, the highly decorated Mrs Veronica Campbell Brown.

Reports suggest that it was a process so botched that the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) needed only a relatively short hearing to establish that Mrs Campbell Brown had no case to answer.

The CAS - resorted to by a desperate Mrs Campbell Brown after she was banned for two years at the insistence of the world governing body for athletics the IAAF - ruled that Mrs Campbell Brown was free to return to competition immediately. Further, the CAS ruled that Jamaica 's governing body for athletics, the JAAA, and the IAAF should pay Mrs Campbell Brown 12,000 Swiss Francs to assist with her legal fees.

We believe a comment attributed in news reports to a member of Mrs Campbell Brown's team of lawyers, former Jamaican prime minister Mr PJ Patterson, is worthy of repetition because it goes to the core of the matter.

"There are lessons that we dare not ignore: The rules and processes must be followed by everyone - not only the athletes - the invigilators also. As our profile of success in track and field grows, so too must knowledge of the art and science increase," Patterson said.

There has been much song and dance about athletes having a responsibility to always control that which enters their bodies.

But equally, those who seek to monitor and sanction athletes must rigorously operate on the basis of agreed standards and must be held accountable.

It would appear that in the case of the test samples relating to Mrs Campbell Brown there were appalling breaches of minimum standards and gross inadequacy in accountability.

As Mrs Campbell Brown - who suffered immeasurably as a result of last year's positive test - pointed out to journalists, the incompetence manifested in the entire episode "does not inspire confidence or lead to a healthy" relationship between athletes on the one hand and the various authorities on the other.

Indeed, given last week's revelations, we are left to wonder if there may not be a few banned athletes out there - without the resources to employ high-profile lawyers or appeal to the Court of Arbitration - who were unjustly treated and left holding the wrong end of the stick .

In light of the current situation, the nation needs to hear from JADCO and the minister of sport. The quicker the better.

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