Saturday, 22 December 2012 02:30
By Vanroy Burnes
Antigua St. john's - Everton “Bataw” Gonslaves remains as the head of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA).
He was elected unopposed in controversial circumstances at the Association’s annual general meeting held on Thursday night, December 20th, at the Multi-purpose Center.
Gonsalves lone challenger, Veron “Epilus” Edwards, was barred from contesting the election because he did not meet the deadline for submission of his police record.
Two other candidates on Edwards’ slate - Devon “Centaury” Jarvis and Ickford “Nyiah” Roberts - were also barred for the same reason.
The highly anticipated general meeting took place within a very hostile environment from start to finish. The Edwards camp contended that there are no constitutional requirements relating to a police record deadline, and anything could have happened in the 15-days after a police record is obtained and submitted. They therefore felt it should have made no difference that Edwards’ police record was not submitted on December 5th.
The Edwards camp also contended that the constitution could not be amended to allow the parties in question to be included as candidates, since their names would have to be included and that would have required 75 percent of the members for it to pass.
The Edwards camp claimed that the standing order would have to be amended, requiring 50 percent of the membership plus one extra person for such an amendment to be made.
They said the General Secretary informing the council that the constitution would have be amended was false.
However, in light of that, a motion was proposed on the basis that a 75 percent majority is required. Of the 51 persons present and eligible to vote, 36 did so in favour while 15 voted against leading to the disqualification of Edwards and his co-contenders.
That did not go down well. Edwards and his aligned candidates, along with their supporters, walked out of the meeting allowing Gonsalves to remain unopposed as president.
With the voting pool now reduced to 36 for the election, the following persons were elected: Gwendolyn Salmon, First Vice President; Daryl Michael, Second Vice President; Fernando Abraham, Third Vice President.
The floor members elected were Althea Joseph of English Harbor, Rolston James of the Referees Association, Randy Baltimore of Willikies, Ruby Williams of Old Road, and Kenderson Gregory of Sap.
The general meeting lasted about six-and-a-half hours from 7pm to 1.35 am and was loaded with controversy. Treasurer Londell Benjamin were unable to answer most of the questions put to him from the financial report, which raises many questions about ABFA’s finances.
The circulation of a cheque for $65,000 written by ABFA to the lone professional team, Barracuda FC, came under severe scrutiny with numerous questions asked about who signed the cheque and its purpose.
That episode alone took up a full hour-and-a-half, and though it was never justified, it had to end at some point.
The long night concluded with Gonsalves at the helm for another four years to preside over Antigua and Barbuda’s football. However, Caribarena has been reliably informed that the Edwards’ camp intends to fight that development right to the bitter end, with legal action possibly on the cards.
The Football Association elections were akin to the mood that normally prevails during general elections, with people from all over the country whether involved in the sport or not flocking to the Multipurpose Center.