Last evening’s Annual General Meeting for the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee (NOC) ended in a deferral after an over two-hour dispute over the voting rights of one member association.
NOC President E.P. Chet Greene brought to the attention of the 18 members in attendance that the Fencing Association’s president, Kelesha Antoine, was “wittingly misrepresenting the wishes of her member association.”
The NOC president further elaborated on the alleged “subversion of natural justice” by outlining that Antoine had not followed the edict as prescribed by her association when she first nominated NOC candidate for president, Neil Cochrane, and subsequently listed herself as the person with the casting vote in last night’s general elections.
A letter signed by NOC General Secretary, Cliff Williams on 20 December 2017, he states, “you subverted the majority will of the association and acted contrary to the standing resolution of the executive committee.”
The letter further outlines that, “a consequence of your actions is your immediate suspension from all NOC-related activities and referral to a Disciplinary Tribunal where your actions outlined in the complaint will be addressed.”
“We view your actions as reprehensible, unethical, unsporting and will notify you of a date and time for your disciplinary hearing,” the letter concludes.
Greene then asserted that, having heard the case laid out by the aggrieved members of the fencing executive that he convened a “round robin” tribunal conference among the NOC members he could get on the phone and got 5 of the 12 executive members to agree to sanction Antoine by not allowing her to represent Fencing at the AGM.
The NOC president then went on to lay out an email trail initiated by Antoine in which she asked her executive members to indicate their preference for NOC president among the listed candidates of Greene (incumbent), Neil Cochrane, and Dr Philmore Benjamin.
Greene pressed that “five out of the eight executive members voted for Greene while three of the members voted for Cochrane, yet the president subverted the will of the executive and cast her nomination for Cochrane on behalf of the association.”
“That cannot be right.”
After laying out his case, President Greene then went on to ask the security services in attendance to remove Antoine from the proceedings to which was met with loud approval from the members in attendance and a war of words ensued between Antoine, football president Everton “Batow” Gonsalves and Greene.
“On what grounds will you be dismissing [Antoine] from the proceedings?” Gonzalves questioned.
Antoine lashed back at Greene asking for clarification as to who the five members were after only confirming three named signatories on a letter to the NOC affirming their consideration for Greene’s nomination.
Arguments, allegations, innuendo, cross-talk contunued between all the parties involved and after two hours of dispute there was no clear resolution in sight.
“I hereby declare this meeting adjured. A new date for which to be set in the new year and I apologise to the members who have come out in their numbers tonight,” Greene announced after many motions were put on the floor in favor of deferral and/or the ‘status quo’ which would allow for the meeting to continue with Antoine as fencing representative.
“If we went to a vote tonight, who votes for the sport in question?”
“What happens tomorrow if we say that Kelesha Antoine, who subverted Fencing Association votes and then the NOC ends up in court for to answer for convening and conducting a meeting which will end up [against our favor]?”
“I want to stress here that we are not reopening the nomination process. We are continuing the general meeting when we resume.”
Greene stressed that, “what we are examining, is the illegality or otherwise of the actions taken by Kelesha Antoine. She’s the subject of this matter. And when we determined how that will be treated, we will communicated with members, circulate necessary notices and we will come back to complete this meeting.”
Antoine, who resigned her post as NOC executive member in December of last year, was set to contest this year’s general elections as the 3rd vice president on the Dr. Philmore Benjamin slate.
Benjamin and Cochrane have since consolidated their respective slates with Benjamin contesting the post of president and Cochrane that of 1st vice president.
The remainder of the slate is as follows: Everton Cornelius, 2nd vice president; Kalesha Antoine, 3rd Vice President; Raymond Doogron, treasurer and ordinary members Stephen Butters, Jules Bowen, Edith Clashing, Everton Gonsalves, Roland Morgan, Rosemarie Simon and Daryl Matthew.