By E. Glenford Prescott
In a few hours, the sporting landscape of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will play host to what is expected to be one of its most contentious sports gatherings in recent times — the Annual General Meeting of the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
The meeting is set to take place at Xpert Computer Conference Room in Kingstown at 5 p.m. and will see accountant Stephen Joachim putting himself up against incumbent president, Trevor “Sailor” Bailey and long-serving general secretary, Keith Joseph.
Joachim, who is a trustee on the current committee, has waged what some describe as a “scorched earth” campaign against his opponents on one radio station, accusing them of many practices that he presents as less than transparent.
Joachim is said by many to be “well off” and well-connected and appears to have some influence in certain circles.
However, it is left to be seen if these attributes are good enough to bring down his opponents.
That said, there are some who believe that, based on some of the charges Joachim has levelled at his opponents – which, in their view, appear to be slightly touching the lines of defamation, that he could find himself expending some of his worth in legal fees and, possibly, in the settling of damages.
Joachim concerns have to do with what he claims is gross negligence in the management of the financial affairs of the SVGOC, continued and repeated serious violations of the SVGOC Constitution, and no circulated audited financial statements of the SVGOC for at least four years.
He also said “the SVGOC has been effectively run as the personal plaything” of the Bailey and Joseph, whom he accused of “making unilateral decisions in almost all matters and report on very little”.
Joachim said the SVGNOC handles well in excess of EC$1 million annually and despite the extended period in office by the current leadership, there are no formal internal financial procedures.
Amid all his queries and accusations, the men who are the source of his disenchantment, Bailey and Joseph, appeared not too bothered.
Bailey believes that Joachim has taken the wrong approach to the matter and indicated that as a member of the executive, the trustee has requested and received information and nothing has changed where that is concerned.
Bailey said he is not worried about Joachim’s comments or his decision to run against him but he will not shy away from taking legal action against him if he is found to have defamed him.
Joseph, in response to the issue a few weeks ago, was his usual laconic self, saying, “It is the man’s right to put himself up.”
He, however, felt that it was a serious breach of ethics by Joachim to put in the public domain, “in house” information to which he is privileged.
Joachim, who is also the president of SVG Swimming Federation, has said that his chance of defeating either Joseph or Bailey is pretty slim, but he is hoping to shake up the SVGNOC by his revelations.
He has indicated that should he win the presidency and Joseph is returned to his post, he will not be prepared to work with him. He, however, declined to give an indication as to whether he would resign or seek to pressure Joseph out of the organisation.
Joachim’s attitude to Joseph is seen by many as a far from his following his response in defending the same gentleman last year when an iWitness News as published an article that was critical of Joseph when he was seeking a PASO post.
Speaking on radio then, Joachim rubbished the article, accused the author of being “small minded” and of attempting to make Joseph look bad.
Some are wondering about the sudden turn around and what could have triggered this.
Reports say that this afternoon’s gatering should be an annual general meeting, with the meeting for elections set for Nov. 7.
However, according to the reports, Joachim is expected to move a motion to have the two meetings merged into one.
The current executive:
President — George Trevor Bailey – Cycling
Vice-President — Wayne Williams – Basketball
Secretary General — Keith Joseph – Athletics
Treasurer — Jacintha Ballantyne – Netball
Assistant Secretary/Treasurer – Shaun Young – Volleyball
Trustees – Earl Bennett – Volleyball and Stephen Joachim – Aquatics – Swimming.