By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) political hopeful, Neil Cochrane, said that should he become the party’s candidate for the All Saints East & St. Luke Constituency for the next general elections, he will leave his posts as vice president with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and president of the Antigua and Barbuda Turf Club (ABTC).
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Cochrane said he would however, still be involved in horse racing as both an owner and trainer.
“The NOC, I would say goodbye to, but in horse racing I would continue to race my horses and provide whatever support that I can, but I would not be president. In fact, regardless of whether I am elected or not, I think that I need a little bit of a break where horse racing is concerned, but we are carefully transitioning. I am hoping we could have elections, maybe, by November, but we are carefully transitioning to make sure that we transition a decent product,” he said.
Cochrane, leading into the 2018 NOC elections, said he believes that anyone holding elective political office should not sit as presidents and or hold any other position within sporting bodies, as it could act as both a conflict of interest in some instances, while members of said bodies could feel intimidated by those in high political positions.
Asked if he would support close friend and fellow horse owner, Dr. Dwayne “Baba” Thwaites who had signalled his intention to, one day, become head of the turf club, Cochrane responded in the affirmative.
“Again, we look at the pool of people around us and those who we see are really active and bringing a type of energy to you, and I have said to Dr. Thwaites straight up that ‘hey, I think I need to take a break from this and I see you as one of the persons whom I think can take over’, and he said well, he doesn’t really have the time for that but if it has to be. Then he said, ‘Neil you can’t go away leave me. We have a wonderful relationship and I brought him into horse racing, that’s the reality and because of that, I would have an obligation to support,” he said. The NOC elections are constitutionally due in 2022, while elections for the Antigua Turf Club are due later this year.