Presidential hopeful Lue vows to unite TT family

Presidential hopeful Lue vows to unite TT family

...Challenges legitimacy of Lothian-led managing council of JTTA

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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Andrew Lue, the man who aspires to be the next head of the Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA), challenges the legitimacy of the man occupying the office of president.

Godfrey Lothian, the veteran sports administrator, continues with his managing council to run the affairs of table tennis (TT) despite a Supreme Court ruling that voids the last elections and some critical constitutional changes that took place prior to the February vote of 2019.

Lothian, in his defence, says that the court ruling reverts the management of the sport to the previous administration, which is the JTTA, of which he is the legally elected head.

“My view is that subsequent to the last AGM (annual general meeting) of the JTTA, an action was taken against the 'incumbent' Godfrey Lothian and Table Tennis Jamaica (TTJ). This action resulted in a ruling of the Supreme Court to declare null and void the entity named TTJ and all decisions taken by TTJ to be null and void. As the term of office of the incumbent had expired, and as the managing council of JTTA was dissolved at the time to hold elections of officers, it is my view, under advice from counsel, that there is presently no managing council for table tennis in Jamaica.

“So to put it briefly, there is no challenge to any incumbent…I am [simply] making myself available to serve as the next president of the JTTA at the next meeting of affiliates of the JTTA where a managing council will be duly elected,” Lue told the Jamaica Observer.

The table tennis family is indeed a divided one and a political time bomb, especially when a voting congress is in the air. Stakeholders are often divided along lines of philosophy, rhetoric, management style, and even personality.

Elections for a new administration will be held next month.

And as is customary, battle lines have been drawn and swords crossed.

“It [voting for new leadership] doesn't have to be fractious; it is this way because in the recent past there has been a lack of management skills and an abundance of self-interest playing out in the sport by the people who run the sport. I will work to make this behaviour a distant memory,” Lue noted.

In his view, Lue, a former national player, says the growth of the sport is being stymied by a number of fundamentals.

Among them is “a lack of will or skill to bring disputes to a peaceful resolution so that all affiliates can work together to build the sport and attract sponsors”.

“A lack of organisation and governance in TT. There is no functioning general secretary and [there are] several vacant positions in the executive council,” said Lue.

An IT professional by trade, the presidential hopeful says after next month's vote, unifying the fraternity will be a high priority.

“I will have two top priorities that will run concurrently. One is to bring all affiliates together and foster a feeling of warmth, friendliness, respect, and unity and to have a forensic audit of the years 2013-2019, as there have been no audited financials as required by the constitution.

“I will bring to the administration of TT a council that will be transparent and inclusive. All views and differences will be received and amicably resolved,” Lue asserted.

If elected, Lue, 51, promised a focus on critical pillars to drive growth across the breadth of the game.

“The Latin American Table Tennis Union (LATTU), which is the regional governing body for table tennis, under the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has five strategic priorities — organisation and governance; high performance and development; international events; promotion, and revenue.

“Successive (JTTA) administrations have tried to go for revenue first and failed because they haven't started proper organisation and governance. My vision in the short-term is to organise the managing council, sub-councils and see to the proper registration and verification of affiliates.

“In the medium-term my intention is to leverage the assistance of the ITTF to increase the existing levels of certification for administrators, officials, coaches, and my long-term goal is to establish a high-performance table tennis centre where training of players, administrators, coaches, and officials will be done on a regular schedule. When the above is achieved, then the results will manifest themselves in efficiently run competitions at all levels and increase in the number of internationally ranked players from Jamaica,” Lue reasoned.

He thinks that packaging the sport to attract more corporate support will be a key plank in recasting the battered local table tennis.

“It [wooing private business] is a big drawback [as] significant sponsors are sadly lacking. I know at least two sponsors who have withdrawn support. I know that Optical Solutions sponsors the prep and primary school leagues. I am not sure of any other significant corporate sponsor. I know the last national championships was sponsored by players from the Diaspora.

“[But] we definitely will work through the relevant subcommittees, in partnership with the managing council, to attract major sponsors and build the visibility and attractiveness of the sport in Jamaica. I am hoping to attract at least one regional or international event each year,” said Lue, who claims he started playing the sport as a 10-year-old.

Lue is yet to decide on his slate, but told the Observer he will make an announcement soon.

— Sean Williams

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