MICHAEL Frater's election to the post of third vicepresident marks the first time that an actively competing athlete has been elected to such a highranking position in the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), but the athlete's future with his MVP Track and Field Club is now in doubt.
Sources close to the club had told the Jamaica Observer recently that should both Frater and Dr Warren Blake, be successful at Thursday night’s elections, then the athlete could find himself out of the club.
Head coach Stephen Francis told the Observer yesterday that unless Frater can convince him that he will not be influenced negatively by the Blake administration then this could become a reality.
“That is the way I am leaning unless something else can be worked out. Unless there is a way to work out the issues that is the way it might work out,” Francis said.
Frater’s popularity is clear after he earned the highest number of votes — 204 — of any elected official at Thursday night's Annual General Meeting at the National Arena.
Frater’s teammates, including Asafa Powell, had promised to come out in full support of the athlete, a promise clearly demonstrated by the number of votes he received.
“If he can explain how my issues will be addressed satisfactorily and how he can convince that he will not allow those on the JAAA executive to sabotage us (he can stay).”
Francis, in the meantime, dismissed any notion that the JAAA body would not try to sabotage his club. “They going tell you they don't know, but it doesn't matter what they say is what they do.”
In Thursday's vote Blake secured 178 votes to capture the top position ahead of challengers Lincoln Eatmon (122) and Grace Jackson with a paltry 28.
Frater himself told the Observer in an interview at the launch of Blake's manifesto two weeks ago that he was supporting the noted orthopaedic surgeon because not only had he not been approached by either Eatmon or Jackson, but he was impressed by Blake's intention to implement an athlete's welfare commission.
“For me and for most of the athletes we have all been pushing for a pension plan, a medical plan and an athlete's welfare committee and for me developing an athletes welfare committee goes a far way in terms of actually giving back to the athletes right now,” he told the Observer at the Knutsford Court Hotel, then.
Meanwhile, Ian Forbes, who was voted second vice presidentwith 152 votes was the only non-member of Blake's slate who was elected to the JAAA hierarchy. He beat 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold medallist Deon Hemmings- McCatty. McCatty received 136 votes. Forbes told the Observer that he will have no trouble working with members of the team now assembled, as he has been serving track and field since he was six years old and was set a good example by his father Headley (Forbes) who was treasurer under four different presidents. “My position is and has been to offer myself for service to Jamaica's track and field. It really does not matter. It's about service. And I would just continue to do what I have been doing all these many years."
Kingston College principal Dave Myrie was elected first vice-president with 195 votes to Alfred Francis's 116; Vilma Charlton claimed 165 votes for the post of fourth vice president, defeating Dr Jon Jones, while Garth Gayle was returned as general secretary and Marie Tavares returned as his assistant.
The embattled Ludlow Watts, who was at the centre of the controversy regarding the existing PUMA contract and a much-talked-about letter from Blake earlier this year regarding spending, was retained as treasurer with 156 votes.
The new director of records is Ewan Scott, who earned 116 votes. Blake, in the meantime, spoke confidently following his win.
“I was never in doubt that my team would win and that I would come though successfully.” Jackson said she would be doing an analysis as to why voter response was that low, but that she was extremely tired after the last few days.
“It's reflective,” Jackson said of her mood. Over 90 per cent of the 379 eligible voters turned up for the AGM.