WADA, regional governments strengthen ties
SPORT Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange and president of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Witold Banka outlined the importance of the WADA Forum for Caribbean Ministers of Sport in the fight against anti-doping in the region, as the agency pledged increased support for efforts in the area.
WADA will increase its financial support for the region to US$225,000 ($35 million), representing a 50 per cent increase, in what is being highlighted as an indication of the organisation’s committment to the region’s fight against doping in sports.
The two-day forum, which began yesterday at Jamaica Conference Centre, was attended by representatives from eight countries including Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Nevis , nd St Lucia.
The forum’s agenda focused on several issues, including providing an update on the anti-doping landscape in the Caribbean, and the crucial role played by governments in clean sport.
The eight ministers represented also signed the Kingston Declaration, which Minister Grange deemed as vital.
“We committed to convening on an annual basis and to engage with other structures at the policy level that can influence the development of sport, beginning with the Sport Council of the Americas and the Central America and Caribbean Sport Council meetings scheduled for April in Washington, DC.”
“Additionally, we pledged to support the implementation of the WADA code and the international convention against doping in sport, and to support each other’s efforts to be compliant — both to the code and the convention,” said Grange.
Another key outcome of the forum saw Minister Grange’s recommendation to change the name of the agency’s regional office in Uruguay — from the “Latin America Office” to the “Latin America and Caribbean Office” — accepted by Banka, which he says was an important decision by WADA.
“We’re very delighted to change the name of our original hub from the Latin American Office to the Latin America and Caribbean Office; it better reflects the geopolitical reality and the importance to us of the Caribbean nations. It’s not only a symbolic change but it shows our commitment and our approach to the Caribbean region when it comes to anti-doping policy,” Banka noted.
Banka also pledged additional resources of US$225,000 from WADA for 2024, which is a 50 per cent increase in the agency’s financial contribution to the Caribbean.
Before his departure the WADA president is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Andrew Holness to discuss the state of anti-doping in the country.