Ben Smith On WADA, Minister, Accountability

September 25, 2023 | 8 Comments

“To say this is an embarrassment is an understatement,” said OBA candidate Ben Smith after news that the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] declared Bermuda to be non-compliant due to a “failure to appropriately implement the Code into their legal system,” which could result in Bermuda’s flag being prohibited from flying at major sports events.

Mr  Smith — the former Opposition Senate Leader, former Shadow Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport & OBA candidate for Constituency 8, Smith’s South who also serves as the National Swimming Coach said –  ”Although it is possible that the Government may be able to quickly pull together the legislation to move Bermuda into compliancy, the reputational damage has already been done.

“We need to have accountability in leadership and this is perfect time for the Minister of Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Owen Darrell, to show it.

“The local agency for anti-doping Bermuda Sports Anti-Doping Agency [BSADA] would have learned about required changes in 2022. There would have been communication from the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] with the exact wording required for the amendment and a deadline to have it completed. They would have given more than enough time for compliance and communication to warn of the deadlines.

“Minister Darrell should be transparent and indicate the date that the Ministry was made aware of the requirement and deadline. What action was taken by his Ministry to have the Attorney General draft the amendment and when was that communicated?

“There has been a breakdown in the system and the Minister needs to explain it. Brushing it under the rug because now it has become urgent isn’t good enough.

“To say this is an embarrassment is an understatement since almost half of the sporting budget in Bermuda is allotted to BSADA so how could something so critical be missed?

“The Minister thought it was important enough to attend the WADA Forum in January. According to a statement released on 28 January, “The minister joined other sports ministers throughout the Caribbean region at the forum to discuss matters such as; establishing a strong legal framework for anti-doping, further developing and implementing effective testing and education programmes and collaborating for protecting clean athletes and the integrity of sports”.

“Now the Minister has failed to provide the legal framework that was requested by WADA. If BSADA communicated the requirements to the Minister and he didn’t do it, he should step down immediately in light of the international embarrassment that has been caused already.”

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Comments (8)

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  1. watching says:

    So we are supposed to believe it is the individual Minister’s responsibility versus that of the anti-doping agency?
    The OBA loves to lay blame at Ministers knowing that Ministers actually have little responsibility for any day to day occurrences But they do this to appeal to the voters who may or may not understand this and therefore will join them on their bandwagon of ridiculousness.

    • hey says:

      Ministers are responsible for ensuring legislation is done, so yes it is the ministers fault.

    • Rally roo says:

      In specifically asking for the communication timelines to be made public, it seems Ben Smith knows something here…that perhaps the Minister or Govt knew about this in advance but did not take the required action.

  2. Beyond words! says:

    Well said!!

    All this government does is talk!!! Talk about the youth and giving opportunities. How would they like to have worked so hard to be in a position to compete internationally and then have to attend under this embarrassment. Imagine winning a gold metal or just walking in the parade if athletes at the PanAm games or any other major sporting event with no flag or national anthem!!!

    Disgusting! They seem to be efficient at booking airlines tickets and hobnobbing with the rich and famous preparing for their time after I would say service to the country; but honestly I don’t see any service as I hit pot hole after pot hole and watch the economy sink.

    This is a total embarrassment!!!!!!!

    The Minister of Sports should not have to step down, he should be fired, but that will never happen.

  3. JimBobBDA says:

    Is it me or does anyone else think to theirself “is this the best you have?” when it comes to OBA opinon pieces? Like come on, speak about real issues. Yeah this is embarassing but surely you could use your voice to be more vocal on bigger issues.

  4. ella says:

    Oh my gosh – Calm down OBA & the rest of you!! Noone is perfect!

    This is not the end, it can be fixed – Sheesh!

    • Ringmaster says:

      In the real world, yes, no one is perfect but someone has to be held accountable. The PLP owns this. Ministers love to micro manage and clearly this has not been actioned. Funny how they are in photo ops when the news is good, but missing when it’s not.

    • hey says:

      ella, maybe this one can be fixed, but if it wasn’t raised, then maybe it wouldn’t have been.

      Although ho many things on island are just patched up or a half job done …look at the causeway, the swing bridge , the roads… the foliage growth on the sides of the roads, the constant cancellation of buses.

      If the PLP did a proper job it would be done and it would be cheaper for you and me as a Bermudian Tax Payer.

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