KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) — The Jamaica Anti-doping Commission (JADCO) is disputing a claim by a former official that its drug-testing programme was inadequate.
In a statement Thursday night JADCO said it viewed with "deep concern utterances by various persons in the public sphere in their attempt to discredit the work of JADCO, its commissioners, the Government of Jamaica and the success of Jamaican athletes".
The commission was reacting to an allegation from its former executive director Renee Anne Shirley which has caught the attention of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
JADCO said its procedures and processes were "in keeping with international standards".
They had been reviewed by "... quasi-judicial bodies like the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel and Jamaica Anti-Doping Appeals Tribunal, and judicial body outside of Jamaica, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which as recently as this year found them beyond reproof," JADCO said.
Shirley had accused Jamaica's politicians and administrators of ignoring her warnings that the positive tests returned by Asafa Powell and four other athletes were a "disaster" waiting to happen, saying: "They believe Jamaica does not have a problem."
She said that between February 2012 and the start of the London Olympics in July, JADCO carried out just one out-of-competition test.
However, JADCO said local athletes were tested in June 2013 at the National Senior Athletics Championships and none of those selected to be members of Team Jamaica to the recent IAAF World Championships returned adverse analytical findings.
The statement reported a steady increase in the number of in-competition and out-of- competition tests conducted locally.
JADCO said it carried out 504 in-competition and 372 out-of-competition tests in the four-year period between May 2009 and July 2013.
WADA director General David Howman Wednesday called on the Jamaica government to investigate Shirley's claims.
"Our normal approach if we have issues falling into the category of either complaint or concern is to try to work with the particular signatory," Howman said.
"If nothing happens, we can ask our board to declare any of the signatories non-compliant".
JADCO said it had been working closely with WADA, who had visited in July last year and "expressed satisfaction with the development of JADCO" and its new commissioners.
"JADCO will continue to collaborate with WADA to improve its systems, and is assured that Jamaican athletes face no threat of being barred from participation in the next Olympic Games or other international events," the statement added.
Meanwhile, Jamaica's minister with responsibility for sport Natalie Neita-Headley says the country's drug testing programme can stand up to scrutiny in the face of threats from WADA.
"A lot of things are unfortunate, but we have very little control over people and their personalities," said Neita-Headley, who declined to comment directly on Shirley's comments.
"I think what is important is that the programme can stand up to scrutiny. That is what is going to be important and if we do have shortfalls, then (we'll) seek to address them. The sports programme is more important than any person or personality."
The minister said that her government is committed to addressing any shortfall once identified.
"We remain committed to ensuring that all is in place and that we reach the ideal of ensuring that we are always compliant with what world standards are," Neita-Headley said.