National athletes stay hopeful during allegations against the CARIFTA 2019 LOC

Its been almost one week since the Cayman Islands Athletic Association (CIAA) claimed the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) sanctioned a banned on Cayman’s amateur and professionals track and fielders from participating in competitions due to unpaid funds by Cayman’s 2019 CARIFTA local organising committee (LOC).

CIAA President Lance Barnes went on record saying the funds owed by the organising committee are estimated to be around US$50,000. However, the LOC recently released a statement suggesting they were blindsided by the accusations made Barnes.

“The LOC went about ensuring all financial obligations for the Games were met and on 22nd January 2020 convened a meeting to decide on two final payment requests which were in dispute, one of which was the levy reimbursement for excess officials which amounted to just under US$5,000 (“Levy Reimbursement”), stated in a letter from Jacqueline Haynes, Darrel Rankine, Osbert Francis, Scimone Campbell, Evelyn Rockett and Collin Anglin.

It added; “It should be noted that although the LOC has been accused of causing the sanctions against our local athletes, we have not received any direct communication outlining our alleged wrongdoing from the NACAC or the CIAA. We have become aware of the current situation through the same medium as the general public – the media. On that basis we are not in a position to comment on the accuracy of the details in the public domain including the grounds for the sanction.”

Cayman’s Fastest man Kemar Hyman takes a breather during a training session at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex

Caymanian national record holder in the men’s javelin, Alex Pascal voiced his displeasure on the current dark cloud that hovers over Cayman track and field circuit.

“It is very sad for me,” said Pascal. “Right now I’m training to my full potential, trying to make the Olympic team next year. If we can’t go to the World Championships, if we can’t do NACAC are the Olympics then why am I really training.”

“The association needs to be very cautious, because I know everyone is watching,” Pascal added. “There [is] no room for error and we cannot make any mistakes, especially financial mistakes because at the end of the day, it is going to come back and haunt us, like it’s doing right now. So if we need to get more help or get more people, then get it and set the record straight.”

“Set the record straight.”

– Alex Pascal

Should Pascal qualify for the 2021 Olympics, he would join countryman Kemar Hyman who has already made the mark for the 100 metre dash. While there is many questions surrounding the sanctioned on Cayman track and field athletes, Hyman stays optimistic.

“We do make mistakes as an association,” said Hyman. “We’re human beings but I hope that this was just a mistake and we can clear things up and look at the bigger picture. I believe Cayman as a whole, whether it’s the government, or the CIAA and or the CIOC. I feel like they will all come together and try to get this bump taken care of.

 “At first, I was only coming out with negative feelings and thoughts about the whole problem, trying to figure out who to blame but that part doesn’t feel good,” Hyman added; relating to when he first heard the news. “So I’m just really trying to stay on the positive side and hope that the government knows that this is a big thing for the country”

We reached out to track prospects Rasheem Brown and Jamal Walton on a comment, but have yet to hear back. While thrower Lacee Barnes said; “I cannot comment at this time, due to the nature of the situation.”

In addition the LOC closed their letter saying; “It is unfortunate that what was an otherwise extraordinary event has been marred by the current state of affairs. It’s even more disheartening that its greatest impact has been directed at our athletes. We are at pains to understand the grounds behind the sanctions or how they could be deemed proportionate to the accusations being levied and why they are not being challenged by the local body responsible for protecting local athletes. We too have many unanswered questions.”

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