TWO weeks before the biggest event on its calendar for 2015, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is in turmoil, as it faces not only external threat, but accusations of betrayal from its own athletes.Last week, British newspaper The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR published a report saying that the IAAF did not act on thousands of suspicious doping tests from the 2005 and 2007 World Championships.This week, Olympic discus champion Robert Harting led several athletes in a video accusing the body of betrayal.The IAAF had already faced challenges to its credibility this year, given the exceptional season of the American, Justin Gatlin, who is the fastest man over 100m and 200m this season, coming back from two doping suspensions.Jamaican psychiatrist Dr Aggrey Irons, a member of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s (JAAA) Disciplinary Committee and a former member of the Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel, believes there is an attempt to damage the IAAF.”It is an attempt to damage the credibility of the IAAF. I don’t think it will work,” Irons said.Sports psychologist Dennis May agrees and said the turmoil may work in the IAAF’s favour.”Not this issue, because in a sense it has been dealt with already at the highest level. We have seen, too, many accusations in baseball and football. There was a lull, but it came back up. When fans see there is an effort to take out the unfair advantage, people will appreciate it. People love sport. What they want to know is that it is a level playing field,” he said.Opportunity for changeMay, who holds a master’s degree in advanced behavioural science from Antioch University in Seattle, said it is time for the IAAF to institute harsher penalties for cheating.”It’s an opportunity to say ‘here is a stake in the ground’. The sanctions going forward may be even harder.”The founder of Jamalco Track Club believes the tension will heighten interest in the World Championships, especially the men’s 100m, which will feature the tainted Gatlin and reigning world champion Usain Bolt.”It’s high drama,” he said. “It is almost like a soap opera and films you watch. Athletics is at a crux point. From the fans’ point of view, it’s the clean games versus the dirty games. It’s interesting. People say Gatlin tested positive and he has served his time and people will say it has happened with us too.”Upcoming electionMay added that the timing of the scandal was interesting, given that the IAAF will face an election just before the World Championships next week.The body will meet to decide its next president, with 1984 1500m Olympic champion Sebastian Coe facing Ukraine’s 1988 pole vault champion, Sergey Bubka.Irons also said it is in the athletes’ and specifically, Jamaican athletes’ best interest to remain focused.”Recently, there has been an attempt to make us run under a cloud and we have to try to run above that cloud. We have a vested interest in our sport staying clean,” said Irons.May said he is not sure Harting’s accusations are a popular opinion among athletes, which would have been noticed in this age of social media.”Has there been a ground swell? If (that was the case) there would have been a lot of responses and in today’s world with responses being so fast, if you haven’t seen that, I don’t think that will affect it,” he said.
…would usurp Police Service Commission’s roleGiven that President David Granger appointed the Crime Chief, Lyndon Alves, he will determine the fate of the senior member of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), who is currently on administrative leave, pending an investigation following reports of misconduct.This disclosure was made by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on the sidelines of an event last week.“If he is cleared he will come back if he is not well fine. The President, having appointed him, will make certain decisions,” the Minister said, despite the fact that the law states that it is the Police Service Commission that deals with disciplinary issues within the GPF.The Crime Chief was sent on administrative leave last week after whistleblowers pointed to several alleged corrupt acts he was reportedly a party to while stationed in Berbice.However, when probed about the status of the investigation, which is being conducted by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Ramjattan referred the question to the Police Commissioner, Leslie James.Reports are the Crime Chief was allegedly shielding a few junior rogue ranks who have been linked to criminals among other transactions.The Minister noted that policemen who are aware of the situation will be giving statements to determine whether or not Alves returns to his job. “We have to take the statements from those police, of course, they will be questioned and of course thereafter legal advice will be sought,” he informed.Given that the OPR is conducting the investigation, meaning the police is investigating itself, which in itself has raised a number of questions, Ramjattan said, “you do not want to what call a Caricom Commission to come in?”Further, the Minister said that it is important for such cases to be investigated by the OPR to build confidence. He added that hundreds of cases have been investigated by the OPR before which have all been respected as they were even subject to further analysis. In fact, cases are even sent for legal advice from the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP).In the meantime, pending this investigation, the Crime Chief will remain on administrative leave until the investigation wraps up.Recently, allegations have stemmed against a lance corporal detective in Berbice of the rank being linked to the criminal network in the region.This was revealed after the rank’s cell phone number was discovered in the phone of now dead criminal Kelvin “Kelly” Shivgobin, who was shot and killed recently in the backlands of Black Bush Polder during a shootout with the police.It was alleged that the rank was being protected by Alves, who had previously headed the Berbice division.HandpicksIn August last year, President David Granger, during his search for a new Top Cop, said that he was looking for “unbribable” cops.On August 29, 2018, President Granger had handpicked five top-ranking officials from the GPF for the top police post, but former acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine had been excluded.They were Assistant Commissioner of Police Lyndon Alves, Maxine Graham, Leslie James, Nigel Hoppie and Paul Williams.Independent probeLast week also the Region Six, the Chairman, David Armogan, had called for an independent probe into the allegations, which he said are causing discomfort among residents and the business community in Berbice.Furthermore, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday last called out President David Granger for his silence on the matter despite being briefed on it. Saying it is perplexed by the Head of State’s reaction, the Opposition called for a wider probe into the matter.“The PPP wishes to stress that the reports by whistleblowers, published by the local media corps, provide enough justification for a wider probe to be ordered, particularly since what is at stake is public confidence in the leadership of the Force and a test of the commitment to address the issue of corruption,” the party noted in its missive on Monday.