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OPINION: Policy change needed; is the GOA election fair?

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Asks Treiston Joseph

I will start this article by asking one question. How could an election be held without anyone knowing who the candidates for President or any other post are, beforehand?

Well, according to Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) Treasurer, Garfield Wiltshire, in an article published in Kaieteur Sport on December 7, the revelation of candidates only occurs on Election Day (set for December 21, 2016) because it is part of the “constitutional policy” of the GOA.

Interesting!

This “policy” sparkes off a series of questions in my mind. Doesn’t such a policy give an unfair advantage to the incumbent President?

Since the candidates remain a mystery until election day, how are they supposed to sway the various associations to their side in a few hours? Doesn’t this almost guarantee that nobody besides the current president is re-elected, unless he chooses to hand over the reign to someone?

Are any promises made to associations beforehand, whether it is by the GOA boss himself or other candidates (if there are other candidates) vying for the top post?

Does this particular constitutional policy also exist in the constitution of respective Olympic Associations around the world?

Such a policy is totally egregious and in an attempt to hold a freer and fairer election, I believe that it should be changed in order to give those vying for presidency or any other post the chance to campaign ahead of the elections.

The policy almost seems a shady one to be honest and the associations need to take a stand with regard to this specific policy.

In addition, I will play the devil’s advocate in this situation. I did a bit of research and as recent as 2013, six candidates made pitches for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC); the highest authority in Olympic Sport two months prior to their elections; I repeat two months prior to the election.

The following is an extract from an ESPN article titled, “IOC Presidential candidates talk”, which is dated July 4, 2013.

One by one, the six candidates took their turn at the podium, trying to drum up support in their bid for the most powerful job in international sports. With just over two months before the election, the race to become the next International Olympic Committee president came into sharp focus Thursday with the contenders taking their case directly to the voters.”

Well if this happens at the highest Olympic level, then how can the GOA have such a policy that seems so conspicuously flawed?

Interestingly enough, I made a phone call to Yassin just over a week ago to secure an interview with the GOA boss to reflect on the year 2016, as well as to talk on the upcoming election, of course of which he refused.

Maybe the GOA should allow the media to view its constitution for more transparency; however, one can only hope that on December 21, there is a fair process for those candidates vying for the presidency of the GOA.

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