Regional Anti-Doping Body Warns Of Possible Sanctions

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The Antigua and Barbuda Olympic Association (ABOA) and the Ministry of Sports have been warned of possible sanctions against athletes and coaches by the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) if the country does not move to immediately regularise its doping control mechanisms and improve its programme implementation.
In a letter dated October 12, 2018 and addressed to Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, and President of the ABOA, E.P. Chet Greene, RADO expressed its “concern” over the “limited anti-doping activity in Antigua and Barbuda over the last five years.”
Dr. Philmore Benjamin is head of the Sports Medicine Association and the country’s anti-doping programme.
When contacted, Benjamin labelled the circulation of the report as malicious, calling it strange that the release of the concerns by RADO were never sent to or discussed with him.
“The report was requested by the director of the regional governing body which is Maria [Jose Pesce] and she lives somewhere in Latin America, so she requested the report from RADO for all the countries. However, the president [E.P. Chet Greene] went to a meeting and he met with the CEO of RADO and they had a conversation. This report that should have been sent to Maria was sent to President Greene and the Hon. Daryll Matthew. It was not copied to me, they did not call me and said they were having a problem, they chose to have this thing circulating in the media and this is like an election gimmick,” he said.
The letter however highlighted that “Even with one of the best doping control officers [Dr. Benjamin] in the region, Doping Control in Antigua and Barbuda does not exist outside of Cricket West Indies missions” and that “There has been little anti-doping activity implemented for the sport community in Antigua and Barbuda.”
Benjamin refuted these claims, stating that the local body has been active in some areas.
“WADA has come out with a new form for doing things which is a little bit challenging so we are all behind on that so we are working on that. In terms of us testing people, we have been doing so and the person who does the testing is William Richards and Kristy [Dickenson] and from time to time the Caribbean RADO would give us an undertaking to create a pool of athletes, which we have done, and we have tested people in different sports in this country up to this year,” he said. 
RADO went on to list communication, sustainability and education and advocacy as areas where Antigua and Barbuda have failed to live up to the required standards.
The letter, signed by Dr. Adrian Lorde (OBE), who is chairman of RADO, hinted that failure to bring the country to “full compliance” could have a negative impact on athletes and coaches who represent Antigua and Barbuda at the highest level.
Benjamin pointed to a decision by the Olympic Association to remove the Sports Medicine Association as a member as part of the problem plaguing the body.
“One of the first things he [E.P. Chet Greene] did was to eliminate sports medicine from the associations listed under the NOC and in all other countries, sports medicine is part of the NOC and that has been removed so to blame me and say that I am not doing anything, it is orchestrated from a long time,” he said.
Both the Olympic Association and the Ministry of Sports replied to RADO, pledging to prioritise the appointment of a new island representative following the elective general assembly of the NOC.
They also sought to place on hold any pending sanctions by RADO on the country’s athletes and coaches.

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