November 23-24 is the scheduled election weekend for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Association (BAAA). Archer launched his campaign, officially, several weeks ago and seems to be drumming up a solid support base.
He is functioning from the best (meaningful) background, of recent BAAA administrative affairs, within the national family of track and field, I am convinced. Archer served under former multi-president Michael Sands and saw all of his shortcomings, his leadership errors. On the other hand, when it comes to Sands, though one could have grounds for criticisms, he was instrumental in The Bahamas landing one of the greatest sporting events in our history.
Indeed, the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays came into being, and the monopoly of the host relationship The Bahamas gained a hold off, happened under the watch of Sands as BAAA president. Archer closely observed that scenario. When Carey upended Sands and took over the presidency, Archer was re-elected to be a part of the administration.
Giving the devil his due, it’s arguable that Sands would have found a way to appeal to the “common sense” factor in the Cabinet of The Bahamas and gotten the sitting prime minister and his colleagues to see that turning the country’s back to the World Relays was a ridiculous decision.
The reality is, Carey seemed powerless. She seemed in great contrast to the extremely high world profile of track and field in The Bahamas. While the BAAA over the last decade-plus has not had in place an efficient National Development Programme, the success of elite Bahamian athletes who perform under the banner of the BAAA as their national federation, has been huge.
Presently, no other country in the Caribbean and actually, the entire North America, with the exception of the United States and Jamaica, has as many as three great athletes comparable to short/long sprinter Shaunae Miller Uibo; the man of sustained elite high jumping, Donald Thomas; and 200 meters/400 meters specialist Steven Gardiner.
Amazing, isn’t it?
This past season in the North American Region, the Bahamian trio out-performed any other three from countries not named the United States or Jamaica. In my view, not even Canada and Cuba had three track and field performers during the 2018 season as dynamic as Miller-Uibo, Thomas and Gardiner, all things considered.
So, the BAAA, because of its direct link to the aforementioned three sensations and others of their ilk over the last 20 years, became one of the powerful national track and field parent bodies in the world. In Asia, Africa and Europe, there are many countries, not as annually successful, collectively, as is the BAAA.
It is from that base, Carey should have called for a session with the Cabinet of The Bahamas to present the case for the IAAF World Relays remaining in country. Archer will have to impress those representatives of track and field clubs throughout the country, who have voting privileges, that he has the capacity to argue with great success for the BAAA family.
Bringing the World Relays back to The Bahamas would be a great plank.
Carey on the other hand, I understand has been able to develop rather nice relationships with those who head many clubs in New Providence. The majority of the track and field clubs are in the capital island of New Providence. Club votes will carry the day when the ballots are counted.
Just who has been, best able to network with them for support, will likely evolve as the president of the BAAA during the upcoming election weekend.
Best wishes to both Archer, Carey, as well as members of their slates.
I think at this time, Archer and Carey are the best options, for the BAAA. Hopefully, whichever one survives the campaign that is heating up, becoming intense, he/she will utilize the power of the BAAA much more than has been the case in the past, up to this point.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 727-6363