By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda’s representative to the Caribbean’s Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO), Dr Dwayne Thwaites, revealed that when he took over the role in 2018, the country was in danger of being banned by the organisation for failing to pay annual fees for almost eight years.
“One of the things we were faced with when I first took over the anti-doping association was the fact that we were way behind on paying our fees. We did not, in any instance, withdraw our funding but the funds need to be appropriately adjudicated so that certain events, certain things, can be done, testing can be done. People need to fly from one area to another and we need the testing kits and we need supplies and a lot of things,” he said.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, Thwaites said the fees are split between the government and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) adding that at the time, he was fearful the country’s athletes faced possible barring from the major world games.
“It’s a split funding, so it is 50 percent funding from the NOC and from the government itself. What had happened in the past is that we were negligent in making the payments between the two groups and so far, we have come up with funding for at least 50 percent of what we had owed,” he said.
“When I first took over, I actually went to a meeting where I was pulled out and so from then we have been negotiating to get this done but both government and the NOC have done a wonderful job in paying at least 50 percent of the funding,” the urologist added.
Thwaites said he is pleased with the progress made thus far in bringing the country’s standing back to regular status.
“I think that we have paid a substantial amount of the funding that we owed; we still have a little bit to be paid to get ourselves up to date and I was very worried for all the young athletes. When you put in your time and you do what you have to do to get yourself fit to compete and we have a very strong team in terms of swimming and athletics and so you don’t want to disappoint the youths of your country,” he said.
“I am sure you were around with all these great athletes that we grew up with and have done well for the country and so it’s important that we, as an institution, and we, as a country, do what we have to do to keep everything going,” he added. Thwaites was appointed to the position in 2018 following the resignation of Dr Philmore Benjamin.