Sports administrator, Royston La Hae has been returned for another 4-years as President of the Grenada Olympics Association (GOA).
According to an authoritative source, La Hae who has been holding the post for over 30 years, was returned unopposed as the expected challenge from former national table tennis champion, Rae Roberts did not materialise.
When contacted by this newspaper, Roberts who is a Senator in the Grenada Parliament representing the trade union movement, said that he was barred from contesting the post on the grounds that his Nomination Papers were not in proper order.
He said that the local GOA office had accepted his papers on Nomination Day and the Secretary informed him that it was in good order.
However, he said that minutes before the start of the crucial meeting on Saturday in which La Hae was to be challenged for the first time in over a decade, he was told that his papers were not properly filed.
Roberts spoke of the returning Officer, former Supervisor of Elections, Victor Ashby informing him two minutes before the start of the meeting that he needed to be endorsed by two affiliates of the GOA in order to be eligible to contest a position on the Executive.
He charged that the constitution of the local Olympic body is silent on the issue but believes that certain elements including the powerful General-Secretary, Veda Bruno-Victor might have betrayed him.
“…I was assured by the office that the constitution does not require the endorsement of a national federation or two. For almost weeks the General Secretary Veda Victor-Bruno advertised the list of candidates for each position, which conveyed the impression that we all were eligible.
“My name, Ray Roberts was paired with Royston La Hae to contest the office of President. Low and behold, two minutes before the meeting was called to order on Saturday, I was called by the Returning Officer Victor Ashby and informed that I am disqualified because I did not meet the requirements of the endorsement of at least two federations.
“I felt betrayed! The question I ask myself, “Couldn’t the General Secretary instruct the office to call and inform me that my nomination papers had problems? Or having discovered such the day after nomination, disqualify my application rather than promoting me as a candidate in the media and on the day of the meeting humiliate and embarrass me!
Roberts was confident that he had the support of a slim majority of the association members to win the Presidency.
He spoke of several of them urging him to contest against La Hae as part of an agenda for change in GOA as many of them see the local body as degenerating into a sort of “private and exclusive country club”.
He also had a word of caution for Bruno-Victor who many regard as the real powerhouse in the sporting body.
“…The Olympic Committee is at the crossroads and is challenged to be more inclusive. No one can question the hard work done by the General Secretary (Veda Bruno-Victor), however, she has to take stock and realise that her magnificent contribution does not give her the right of ownership.
“The power of being Permanent Secretary and General Secretary of the Olympic Committee does allow one to determine who gets what and who pays a price…”, he added.
GOA has been receiving thousands of dollars to aid in its work by its parent body the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Speculation is rife that the local body has almost two million dollars in a local commercial bank to build a much talked about headquarters to run its affairs.
Presently, the GOA operates a small office out of rented property on Woolwich road in St. George’s.