By Neto Baptiste
President of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) and a Vice President for the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Steve Ninvalle, has urged his Caribbean counterparts to “get their houses in order,” following recent events which led to the launch of an ethics investigation into nine Caribbean associations.
Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Maarten, The Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Anguilla, Bermuda, Haiti and Suriname have been named in a letter to the AIBA Ethics and Disciplinary Committees as countries who have, allegedly, had their annual AIBA fees recently paid by the Dominican Republic Boxing Federation ahead of AIBA’s electoral congress slated for December.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Ninvalle labelled the development an indictment on sports within the Caribbean and the ad hoc manner in which we tend to operate.
“While I empathise with them it is hard to sympathise because of the fact that this is an annual fee and I find that in the Caribbean, we wait until the last moment in order to get our houses in order and I might run the risk of being castigated by some Caribbean countries and that is quite alright but I will call a spade a spade,” he said.
“When we have our own tournaments in the Caribbean and Kathy Harper-Hall [Programme Director at Sport for Life Barbados Inc] because she has to go out with a whip and start beating people into shape to send in their registration and then at the last moment, registrations are coming after the deadline and so forth so this may be a wake-up call so that it doesn’t happen again,” he added.
Ninvalle, who is also an executive member of the American & Caribbean Boxing Confederation, said that while one association covering the annual subscriptions for others may not seem to be a major issue, red flags are raised when this is done just weeks prior to an election.
“While that would have been seen as okay, ethically AIBA saw that as being wrong and those nine countries have, up to now, been barred from voting in the upcoming election of AIBA which is supposed to be from December 12 to 13,” he said.
“Nothing was discussed so I am not privy to any information that anything was discussed as it relates to supporting any one candidate. I think the issue at hand was the fact that one person paid for nine countries and AIBA would have thought that it was in breach of their ethical rules and that is why those countries are on the sidelines up to now,” he added.
The Guyana national said the negligence of some the nine associations reflects badly on the region and that those in authority must be held accountable.
“You must call a spade a spade because you cannot be an administrator and after two years you cannot pay your US $250 subscription to AIBA so that I can continue to call reckless. This is not pointing at any country because we are all in the Caribbean and if one slip shows then all of our slips are showing,” Ninvalle said.
“There are certain priorities we will have to deal with in an early time and one is the paying of our yearly subscriptions. The other thing is that we need to make sure that our country participates in some of the major tournaments because that also, you can be blacklisted because of that,” he added.
The alleged payment has raised concerns as a possible breach of AIBA election rules after the Dominican Republic Boxing Federation (DRBF), which nominated one of the four candidates vying for President of AIBA, allegedly paid the membership fee of the nine countries so they can vote in the December Congress.
Website, Insidethegames, reported last week that the DRBF, which nominated Domingo Solano for President – transferred a total of $4,800 (£3,700/€4,000) to the Americas Boxing Confederation (AMBC) to cover the dues of nine National Federations.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Boxing Association (ABBA), Len Mussington, offered no comment on the issue.