VP Frater unmoved despite MVP training base uncertainty

DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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MICHAEL Frater says despite proclamations by MVP Track and Field Club head coach Stephen Francis that he may find himself without a training base after being elected third vice-president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), he is determined to continue along his chosen path.

Francis told the Jamaica Observer following the November 29 JAAA election that unless Frater can convince him he will not be negatively influenced by the Warren Blake-led administration, Frater could be asked to leave the club.

"That is the way I’m leaning unless something else can be worked out. If he (Frater) can explain how my issues will be addressed satisfactorily and how he can convince us that he will not allow those on the JAAA executive to sabotage us (he can stay)," Francis said.

However, speaking at the Monday Exchange of reporters and editors at the Observer’s Beechwood Avenue headquarters yesterday, Frater suggested the chips must fall where they may.

"I was very disappointed when I saw the comments made by the coach, but I made a decision and I’m sticking with my decision. This is what I chose to do... and for me it’s just (that) I’ve finally found a way where I can actually help the athletes... this is the path I’ve chosen and I’m going to stick with the decision I’ve made and if coach Francis has a problem with that, then so be it," said Frater.

Frater’s popularity among the electorate was clear, earning the highest number of votes (204) of any elected official at the AGM. MVP teammates including Asafa Powell had promised to fully support him — a promise demonstrated by the number of votes he received.

Meanwhile, Blake, who expresses disappointment with Francis’ statement, said he could not understand its genesis, as not only had he always given service to the club, but Paul Francis, the MVP assistant coach, and brother of Stephen, had nominated him for the JAAA top post and was seconded by Racers Track Club head honcho, Glen Mills.

"... I deliberately reached out to both the major clubs because I wanted to send a signal that this is not about one club against the other club; I wanted all stakeholders in track and field to be represented on my executive.

"I found it a little unfortunate that it was said and I hoped it was not so. I do not impose my will on anybody and part of the reason (I chose him) over the years I have found Michael to be his own man — not a ‘yes’ man; not a lackey. I don’t like ‘yes’ men. I don’t want them around me. I’m willing to listen and hear everybody else’s opinion. Michael was chosen because I’ve never found him to be a ‘yes’ person," Blake declared.

"Michael knows that I’ve always given service to MVP. One of the plaques that I have on my dresser is a tribute from MVP for medical services rendered. I have, in fact, been honoured by MVP for services rendered over the years," he added.

A bewildered fourth vice-president, Vilma Charlton, pointed out that two of the most qualified athletic officials in the country were Paul Francis and club president Bruce James, and both worked alongside JAAA executive members when called to duty.

"So I really don’t understand. Everybody works across the board," said Charlton.

In addition, first vice-president Dave Myrie noted that members of the club who ran on different slates during the election had been identified to work on various commissions the new executive will be establishing.

"It’s about being inclusive. I was really amazed when I heard all of what is going on, but then again, you can never tell what is going on in somebody’s mind," said Myrie.

Meanwhile, Frater, who underwent knee surgery three weeks ago, said he had not spoken to his coach since those comments were published.

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