Dark shadows over Grenada Invitational and payment to athletes

Organisers of the Grenada Invitational track event at the National Sporting stadium have been very tight-lipped over reports circulating in the country that the outfit is in dire financial difficulties and owing athletes thousands of dollars.

Michael Bascombe – did not respond to the queries

Information circulating in some quarters is that a number of athletes and professional service providers who took part in the Grenada Invitational in April are still awaiting payments for their services.

THE NEW TODAY sought a response to the claim from Treasurer of the organisation, Fenton Frederick who sent a Whatsapp message on Tuesday saying: “I acknowledge your whatsapp message and a response will be given by the end of day”.

The very same query was made to founder of the games, Michael Bascombe via Whatsapp on Tuesday but no response was received from him to the questions asked.

This newspaper understands that there is an arrangement between the Invitational and athletes for a delay in payment to facilitate drug tests of all participants but this period has since expired.

Speculation is also rife that the Grenada Invitational is $1.1 million in debt and has requested a bail out from the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s.

According to a well-placed source, as a result of the financial problems faced by Grenada Invitational Inc, government has ordered an audit and economic impact assessment in an effort to see its financial standing.

One government official was contacted on the report but said that he has no information on it.

When pressed, Treasurer Frederick offered the following comments: “The Grenada Invitational is a registered business that is governed by Directors. I cannot make a response on haste on behalf of the company. As I stated, an official statement will be made and is presently in the hands of the company’s lawyers.”

Frederick warned that the sporting outfit would resort to legal action if this newspaper was not careful with its reporting on the current situation.

He said: “We await your article given this haste and urge it is factual and within business norms. We will not hesitate to act as not only the company’s good name but Grenada’s name is at risk. I pray that one day we see an article on the benefits of the GI (Grenada Invitational) to Grenada and Grenadians.”

During a sponsorship presentation for the hosting of the very first Invitational in 2017, concerns were raised over the budget for the games but up to this day, the media and the general public are unaware of the cost involved in putting together such an event.

The response given by one of the organisers in 2017 was, “the Grenada Invitational is a private event…we are in a position (to say the budget) but we’re not going to because it is a private event.”

A question was asked by deceased journalist at the Government Information Service (GIS), Trevor Thwaites about the prizes offered to bring the top athletes to Grenada.

Former Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Dexter Mitchell who has since been removed from the position pending the outcome of a court matter responded with this, “the prize structure is not determined by us, it is determined by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). Again, let me repeat, it is a private event…we do not think that we have an obligation to make the cost of the Invitational public.”

There are unconfirmed reports that the Mitchell-led government used its influence and leverage to get a number of state-owned bodies to contribute to the staging of the Grenada Invitational including the purchase of large amounts of giveaway tickets to the public and party supporters.

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