- Minister Neita Headley provided an update on a two-day visit by a team from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
- The Minister described the discussions with the WADA officials as very frank.
- WADA to collaborate with JADCO in the strengthening of its programmes.
The Government is moving to strengthen and build the capacity of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), to improve its operations.
Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, made the announcement on Thursday, October 30, at a press briefing, held at JADCO’s South Odeon Avenue offices, in Kingston, where she provided an update on a two-day visit by a team from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which began on Monday, October 28.
The consultation was initiated following an invitation extended to WADA by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on August 5.
The Minister described the discussions with the WADA officials as very frank and done in a spirit of partnership.
“I believe these meetings were fruitful and constructive and we have come out of those meetings having a greater commitment to working closer together in partnership, to ensure that JADCO advances and becomes not only world class, but best in class,” Mrs. Neita Headley said.
She added that the world anti-doping body has assured the Office of the Prime Minister that they will collaborate with JADCO in the strengthening of its programmes and will also provide support for the establishment of the Commission’s new website which is on track.
“Greater emphasis will be placed on communications, in order to improve the flow of information coming out of JADCO to the media and to the rest of the world in a more timely and responsive manner,” the Minister informed, while noting that the agency has engaged the services of a communications and public relations specialist.
Mrs. Neita Headley further informed that in addition to recently filling the position of Executive Director, the recruitment process for five of nine identified vacancies at JADCO is nearing completion, and all the positions are expected to be filled within the next two months.
The new Executive Director is Carey Brown, a chemist employed by the Ministry of Youth and Culture, who was employed within the last two weeks.
A new Financial Director has also been engaged by JADCO and the financial operations have been transferred from the OPM to the in-house management team at the Commission.
The Minister further noted that budgetary support has already been increased by 14 per cent over the previous year and recommendations have been made for additional funding to support the Commission’s testing programme and the development of the new website.
She revealed that the agency plans to do 300 tests per year at an average of US$300 per test. “I believe this year we are seeking to add another 100 tests and to commence the process of blood analysis,” Mrs. Neita Headley informed.
The Minister noted that last year, 179 tests were done, as against 286 up to September this year. Approximately 45 per cent of these were done out of competition.
The Minister stressed JADCO’s compliance with the regulations. “We are not non compliant at this time. I want to make that clear. We have never been non-compliant and I have never seen any report that has suggested that we have been non-compliant,” she emphasized.
She pointed to Jamaica’s long and illustrious history of sporting success at many levels and expressed commitment to integrity in sports, fair play, and the maintenance of a doping free environment.
“We stand resolute in our commitment to improve and strengthen the operations of our national anti-doping agency and we will make it the best in the world, commensurate with the level of excellence of our sportsmen and women,” Mrs. Neita Headley asserted.
She pointed out that the organisation, at five years old, is still young and while there are some things that it has done well, there are areas for improvement and these will be addressed.
A report is expected to be generated from WADA in the coming weeks that will detail findings of the visit.