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FIRED! - JADCO sacks Dr Paul Wright

Wright sacked after controversial BBC comments

BY HOWARD WALKER Senior staff reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, March 04, 2014    

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DR Paul Wright has been dismissed from his post as a Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) doping control officer.

E-mailed questions sent to JADCO yesterday regarding the matter were not answered up to press time, but Dr Wright, who has been in the post since its inception in 2005, confirmed to the Jamaica Observer that he no longer works for the agency.

"Yes, from the middle of November last year," Dr Wright revealed on Sunday.

When asked the reason he was dismissed, he said: "No sir, they didn't say why. They just said they are restructuring."

However, he hinted that his dismissal could have been as a result of a statement he made to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in an interview published a few days earlier.

He was quoted then as saying that the country's recent rash of failed drug tests might be the "tip of the iceberg".

"There is no successful whistle-blower who is not a pariah," Dr Wright told the Observer before terminating the telephone conversation, saying he was in the middle of something.

Dr Wright's comments then were seen as a body blow to the already fragile JADCO operations after former Executive Director Renee Ann Shirley's stark criticism to US magazine Sports Illustrated following a spate of adverse analytical findings involving Jamaican athletes last year.

Dr Wright, who has over 30 years' experience in drug testing, added at the time that a short visit to the island by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officials would not lead to the sweeping changes required to give the world confidence in Jamaican sport.

Following Wright's and Shirley's comments, JADCO responded via a statement that it "viewed with deep concern the utterances by various persons in the public sphere in their attempt to discredit the work of JADCO".

Since then, JADCO, a government agency headed by a board of directors appointed by the Ministry of Sports, has replaced the previous board with one led by successful and respected businessman Danny Williams.

But the agency has revealed that it will need a huge increase in its budgetary allocation if it is to meet its commitments for the rest of the year.

With a fiscal year budget of $63 million in reality after deducting expenses, JADCO will be left with $16.7 million to implement anti-doping programme.

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