One potential candidate for the presidency of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), Dr. Philmore Benjamin, is hoping that having served as part of the organisation’s executive for over 10 years will help to convince associations that he is the right man for the job.
Benjamin, who is head of the Antigua and Barbuda Triathlon Association (ABTA), is amongst three individuals who have expressed a desire to run for the position which is currently occupied by Minister of Sports, EP Chet Greene.
“What I have done in the past is not anything to really talk about because, as I have always said, I have done nothing. What I am about to do is something so I am asking for the opportunity to do something. I have already been involved as a medical delegate for the IAAF in the region in terms of the Carifta Games, I’ve worked with FIFA as doping officer and I have been involved in the regional anti-doping organisation,” he said.
“I have dedicated more than 20 years to sports and sports medicine so I do understand the science of sports and I know from my long involvement in the NOC, about 14 years, exactly what we are to do to get the ball rolling in the right direction,” he added.
Should he find success at the polls, Benjamin said his approach would be one that gives more influence to the members of the organisation where its running is concerned.
“I am looking at a team approach and not just necessarily a president but a team approach whereby the administration of sports will be felt by the administrators of the various national associations and athletes because the governance of sports should be in the hands of national associations and athletes,” Benjamin said.
“I am seeing a different type of administration whereby it is one of participation and one of involvement and exclusiveness,” he added.
Benjamin, a United Progressive Party (UPP) politician who had contested the 2004 general elections in the rural south constituency, believes his case could differ from that of Greene’s.
According to Benjamin, Greene’s position as minister of sports is what creates the perceived conflict of interest.
“One of the concerns is that the current president is also the minister of sports which really is the conflict. Maybe if it was a different minister it would not have been seen the same way. I am not really a politician as such, whereby, I am not a minister of government. I am involved in politics and politics is about people but I am not really a minister of government so until such time I really can’t speak to that because maybe I would have to make a decision when the time comes,” he said
Two other sporting administrators, President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton “Mano” Cornelius and President of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA), Daryll Matthew, have also expressed a desire to contest the NOC’s presidency race which is slated for December.