Greene ‘justifies’ Harrigan’s suspension, VP hits back

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The ongoing public squabble between executive members of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) continued this week as president of the organisation, EP Chet Greene sought to justify the suspension of vice president, Wilbur Harrigan.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Greene said that Harrigan’s suspension is well within the norms of the NOC and that he, as president of the Antigua and Barbuda Volleyball Association, must take responsibility for what
happens with the organisation.
“Mr. Harrigan is the one who signed on behalf of the volleyball association to receive the cheque, who made the request on behalf of the volleyball association, so Wilbur Harrigan is being held to a higher [standard] than even the volleyball association,” he said.
“I hear the comment that the action should be against the volleyball association, but the last thing you want to do is to suspend or discipline any association over these matters. This thing points straight to Wilbur Harrigan, so he has to take responsibility; he is the president and you can’t tell me as president of the NOC I must take responsibility when things go wrong but in volleyball, the whole body must take responsibility when the president does foolishness,” Greene added. 
Last week, Harrigan was issued a letter of suspension over the association’s failure to return the US$15,000 it received from the NOC as assistance for the country’s hosting of the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (EVCA) Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in September of last year.
Reports are that the association received a total of US$15,000.00 towards the hosting of the tournament which was eventually cancelled following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria through the Eastern Caribbean.
According to Greene, who is also the country’s sports minister, the funds were twice returned by Harrigan who later repossessed the cheque. A move that has been noted by the NOC.
“It was last week Wednesday, I think, we had a cheque sent to the NOC office. The monies were received or returned, albeit returned $5000 short. Later that same day, the vice president himself turned up at the office and repossessed the cheque,” he said.
“Until I wrote him a letter threatening further actions, he never brought the money back until he brought it back with a further cut into the money and so that too becomes a subject for another investigation,” the minister added. 
Harrigan, who has since broken his silence on the matter, hit back by accusing the minister of withholding the facts, adding that the funds were not given to the volleyball association with any specific conditions attached.
“To assist, they never told me to do it for Peter, for Paul, for transportation or nothing. A set of minutes showed up to say that it was for transportation and accommodation or something to that effect. The money that was signed for, it was signed to assist. We did not get a letter to say, you could only use it for medals,” he said.
Last month, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the NOC was adjourned as the body sought to rectify the dispute regarding the nomination of one presidential candidate, Neil Cochrane.
Greene has come under recent pressure to relinquish his position as president of the NOC. The minister, who had initially said he would not seek re-election when his tenure ended last year, announced early December that he had been asked by some associations to reconsider that position.

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