Saturday, February 24, 2018

Serrette seeks re-election today

SIX MONTHS after both Sport Minister Anil Roberts and NAAA general council member Clyde Forde were calling for his resignation, Ephraim Serrette will today seek another term as NAAA president, when the National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAA) holds its annual general meeting from 2 p.m. at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“I have offered myself,” Serrette said, when confirming his candidacy. However, Serrette would not disclose his opponents, neither would general secretary Alan Baboolal. However, it is understood that former Member of Parliament Rawle Raphael is also fielding a slate of candidates. Raphael could not be contacted after several efforts yesterday.

“ I don’t know,” was general secretary Baboolal’s response to who the candidates were. “The NAAA constitution is not a constitution where you have to send in your candidates before nomination day. So, to tell you who coming would be pure speculation on my part. People know. But, I cannot give you as an official source on behalf of the NAAA Secretariat.”

Serette was also vague, even about the people on his own slate. The present 17-member executive currently includes Serrette (president), George Comissiong (first vice-president), Dr Ian Hypolite (second vice-president), Nadine Hamid (fourth vice-president) and Baboolal (general secretary).

“It’s the present people on the executive with some minor adjustments,” Serrette said briefly of his slate of candidates. “We did not have a PRO, so we have to bring in a PRO, and one or two people on the committees and so on.”

Serrette rated the successes of his last term as developing a strategic plan for the first time in the history of the NAAA, and having a development plan. He said that the NAAA was also working towards self sustainability, so that it will not have to depend solely on Government funding.

Both Sport Minister Roberts and Forde vehemently called for Serette resignation, and that of his entire executive, over drug issues involving female sprinters Semoy Hackett and Kelly Ann Baptiste.

Sprinter Baptiste withdrew from the World Championships due to a “doping matter”. However, the major fallout came over Hackett, when the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) appealed an earlier decision of the NAAA’s disciplinary panel to exonerate the sprinter following an earlier doping issue.

The IAAF re-suspended Hackett pending an appeal, which is to be heard before the Court of Arbitration for sport in Switzerland. Sport Minister Roberts insisted that Serrette had to go. However, Serrette did not believe that the fallout from the Hackett matter will affect his re-election chances.

“No, no, no,” Serrette said. “I don’t see that (affecting me). We are one of the only Federations (locally) that facilitates testing. Since 2005 as a Federation we have been facilitate testing, so we are not supporting cheating in the sport. I don’t know of any other sport in Trinidad that is doing that.

“Semoy’s matter is before the Court of arbitration and it is up for hearing in February of next year, “ Serrette added. “Kelly Ann now has to go before a disciplinary committee. I have requested that the B sample be tested and she will face a hearing. That is due to be scheduled before the end of January.