England-based players break silence on Jamaica incident

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Antigua and Barbuda’s national footballers based in England are accusing the local football association of poorly handling the situation regarding the arrest of two of the island’s football officials on drug-related charges in Jamaica back in March.
It’s the first time this group is speaking out about the incident.
National goalkeeper Brentton Muhammad and midfielder Joshua Parker, said news that coach, Derrick “Pretty Boy” Edwards and equipment coordinator Danny Benjamin, had been arrested on drug charges at the Norman Manley international Airport came as a shock to the England-based players who were still at the hotel as they were scheduled to leave on a later flight.
Muhammad said however, he was never contacted by anyone about the incident, neither was he asked if he saw anything that could have benefitted the official’s case in Jamaica.
“The concern I think that we had as players was that it felt like it wasn’t taken with the utmost seriousness in the first instance. As a player, if that incident takes place and I was potentially there in the hotel, I would expect someone from our FA, especially, to make contact with me and find out every single thing I knew that could possibly help the investigation,” he said.
“No one, to this day, has asked me particularly what I’ve seen or what I know, and not that I know anything about it, but potentially, that’s something that could have led to the situation speeding up and it being dealt with in a more professional manner,” he added.
The goalkeeper said they were informed of the development by a Jamaican official.
“We were all sitting in the lobby of the hotel when the liaison from Jamaica came back and told us briefly what she knew of the situation and at that point, obviously, it was at the beginning stage and she mentioned to us basically what had taken place and who had been detained and at that point it was almost like a state of shock because no one could believe what we were hearing. From that point and when we got home, it felt like the stages that needed to be put in place were very delayed,” the player said.
Meanwhile, Parker summed up as a joke, the way he feels the situation was handled by the Football Association.
“It was just a joke and it just sums up how things are done. It was unprofessional and it doesn’t happen with other countries so why does it happen to us. I just think it’s outrageous and even up to now I don’t think it has even been dealt with and this is maybe four months on,” he said.
“This is two innocent men who have families, children, names getting dragged through the dirt, sitting in prison cells crying themselves to sleep,” he added.
Edwards and Benjamin were eventually freed of all charges after prosecutors informed the court they did not have enough evidence with which to convict the accused. Both officials maintained their innocence throughout the ordeal and had called on the football officials here to investigate the matter.
The football association supported the officials financially while in Jamaica, to include funding for their legal defense and paying for housing throughout the ordeal. An investigation in the matter has since been started by the football association.

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