Reports: Athletics Association secretary asked to step down

Secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Leslie “Les” Williams, has been asked by the body, to tender his resignation following the Canadian visa debacle that forced the country’s top sprinter, Cejhae Greene, out of the ongoing North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Games in Toronto.

According to reliable sources, Williams, who was recently nominated as the association’s official of the year for the 2017 National Sports Awards held in July, was asked on Wednesday to submit his resignation in writing to the executive while an emergency meeting has been scheduled for Friday to investigate the matter.

When contacted, Williams declined to comment, and refused to field any questions as to whether  he has been asked to resign.

Efforts to reach the association’s president, Everton “Mano” Cornelius proved futile as calls to his mobile early Thursday morning went unanswered.

Reports have suggested that the association’s secretariat, headed by Williams, was responsible for acquiring Canadian visas for Greene and two officials ahead of the games. Two other athletes – high-jumper, Priscilla Frederick and sprinter Ramadin Alexander, did not require visas to travel to Canada.

The officials, coach Jamille Nelson and Vice President of the athletics association Richard Lindsay were, up to late Thursday, stuck in New York awaiting word as to the status of their visas. Officials had said they expected the visas by late Thursday.

It is however, not the first controversy involving Williams and the athletics association as in 2017, the secretary was at the centre of an email mystery surrounding the request for a transfer of allegiance from then national sprinter Miguel Francis who now runs for Great Britain.

It was alleged that Williams inadvertently ignored an email from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) alerting the national association of Francis’ intent to transfer his allegiance and that the time allotted for the association to object had already expired when the error came to light.

Williams had tendered his resignation following that incident but it was not accepted by the athletics association.

The athletics association has yet to publicly explain the latest issue involving the Canadian visas.

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