Sport

Insurance scheme, bond issue among JAAA’s priorities

HG HELPS Editor-at-Large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 11, 2012    

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INTRODUCING a comprehensive insurance scheme for athletes and coaches, floating an international bond, and renegotiating with sponsors are among the key priority areas of the newlyelected executive of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

In moving to refurbish its house, the group, led by President Dr Warren Blake, will first settle the selection of committees and subcommittees at its first executive meeting scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking to journalists during the newspaper’s weekly Monday Exchange at its Beechwood Avenue headquarters yesterday, Dr Blake outlined key areas his administration intends to tackle soon.

“The first priority now is to set up the committees. The commissions, committees and the sub-committees are the ways and means by which the JAAA is going to get its work done,” Dr Blake said.

The JAAA boss said in proposing people to sit on the committees, the executive would take a broad perspective of including those who did not support his slate, which swept the voting at the annual general meeting on November 29.

“If you don’t have a sufficiently wide net of people involved then you might not be able to move stuff forward the way you want to move them forward. This is why we cannot afford to be selective in terms of keeping people out who want to serve.

“The whole question of ‘you didn’t run with me on my slate so therefore I’m not going to be utilising you’ is really a non-starter. If people are willing to serve, then we are willing to accept them and accept their services.

“In setting up the commissions, quite a number of people who appeared on slates other than mine are included, because they have indicated that they still want to continue serving track and field and we have no problems in utilising their expertise,” Dr Blake said.

Turning to the matter of introducing an insurance scheme, Dr Blake said it was long overdue. Listing it as a lifelong dream for athletes and coaches to be covered, Dr Blake said more attention would be placed in that area.

“I have long since dreamed of having a comprehensive health insurance scheme, because being a doctor I see where a lot of athletes get injured and a lot of them come to me.

“Whereas if I waive my fees, they can get looked after, but at the same time they also have to meet hospital fees and other costs and even that sometimes proves challenging for a lot of athletes.

“We are now in the process of getting quotations from the market to get a comprehensive insurance scheme, not just for health, but it also has a pension benefit, it has travel insurance, it has public liability, because in terms of coaches if you give advise, people can sue you. It is something that includes all facets of insurance and Michael (Frater) will be responsible for administering this and see that the athletes buy into it. How it will be done depends on the funding, whether we will pay for it or it will be a contributory type of scheme,” Dr Blake said.

Frater, the third vice-president of the JAAA, who along with first vice-president and Kingston College principal, Dave Myrie, and fourth vice-president Vilma Charlton, attended the exchange, also endorsed the proposal to have a comprehensive insurance scheme.

Dr Blake touched briefly on the matter of floating an international bond to raise money for the organisation, but said the details were being worked on. The support of the Diaspora, he said, would be crucial in this regard.

The JAAA executive will also meet with its sponsors soon, Dr Blake said, to “see how much more we can get out of them.

“To run track and field in Jamaica takes a tidy sum of money. We spent over $100 million last year just to send teams abroad and the irony is the better you get the more money you need to spend.

“Included in that is the over $30 million that we spent in a two-week period sending teams away in the summer.

“We will also have to find ways of earning more money from our track and field meets through live streaming.

“We figure that if we can stream to the Far East where the population is there and the interest is there and you can get a million people in China watching at a $1 each, you can easily make US$1 million off it,” Dr Blake said.

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