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President Gayle lobbies for pay to JAAA’s executive

Published:Sunday | March 26, 2023 | 1:28 AMJob Nelson - Sports Coordinator
JAAA President Garth Gayle
JAAA President Garth Gayle

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, is advocating the full-time employment of executive members for a more efficient manning of the island’s track and field affairs. In an interview with The Sunday...

President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Garth Gayle, is advocating the full-time employment of executive members for a more efficient manning of the island’s track and field affairs.

In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, Gayle, principal of Charlemont High School, argued that the duality of regular jobs and being JAAA administrators is cumbersome and impedes executive members’ ability to carry out their respective tasks within the association.

On the current executive, Gayle is joined by first-vice president Ian Forbes, second-vice president Lincoln Eatmon, third vice-president Michael Frater, and fourth vice-president Vilma Charlton. Forbes is the managing director of Sherwin Williams; Eatmon is a lawyer; Frater, a former athlete, is a track and field coach and entrepreneur; and Charlton is a retired educator.

The executive also comprises honorary secretary Marie Tavares, treasurer Ludlow Watt, director of records Leroy Cooke and assistant secretary Brian Smith.

“I believe in an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. To really and truly manage, we are now saying that in this current dispensation, more hands-on time and effort are needed, and we are not paid, and many of us are professionals in our own fields,” Gayle said.

“We all devote and spend time in managing the sport, but in many other jurisdictions of athletics, yes, they are paid,” he noted.

According to Gayle, however, while payment to the executive is not blocked by the body’s current constitution, the executive believes funds generated through corporate Jamaica sponsorship are not adequate to offset the expenses of the sport and facilitate employing more people to run the JAAA’s operation.

He believes that payment to executive members through employment could be funded by the Government of Jamaica.

“I would want to put, or to seek more partnerships that redound to more financial resources being made available to the association because I believe first and foremost, the athletes must benefit. We are all here for the development and the promotion of athletics, but I do agree that we are looking to possibly other partnerships, or maybe the Government could be an avenue,” Gayle said.


Quizzed if the Government would now play a role in the running of the JAAA, Gayle responded: “One has to be exceedingly careful. It’s not that the Government cannot assist in providing resources to federations and not interfere with their day-to-day management. That can happen and has happened in many jurisdictions,” he said.

“In Europe, many governments, like in the UK, provide assistance, for instance through the lottery system, which provides funding for many associations,” he continued.

Efforts to get a response from the sports ministry never materialised. Sports Minister Olivia Grange could not be reached by phone, and questions sent to Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications Oliver Watt on Friday were unanswered.

Gayle conceded that government agency Sports Development Foundation (SDF), which derives money through the lottery in Jamaica, provides some funding but insists this is still inadequate to meet the needs of the JAAA and pay the executive members.

“For me, I would not want to take from the current coffers to pay a salary – outside of those that we are currently doing now – to officers until we are able to. I will push and strive to have more funds available in the coffers to do so,” Gayle said.

According to Gayle, while paying executive members is not blocked by the constitution, he would allow that decision to be made by the entire JAAA body.

“It would have to be taken to our membership at an annual general meeting for that to be approved,” he said.

Ironically, Gayle’s suggestion comes at a time when the US Soccer Federation failed to garner the two-thirds majority vote among the delegates for the president of that body to be paid an annual salary of US$125,000, as opposed to the presidency remaining an unpaid position. That decision was reached on March 18.

Incidentally, though, while the president of USA Track and Field is not paid, the chief executive officer (CEO) has a paid position, and was paid US$3.8 million in 2021.

Gayle insists: “That mandate is a mandate. I would love our electorate, our membership, for it to be put to them and for them to make that decision in how they would want to see the association. But it does require a significant amount of time from the executive members. There’s no two ways about that,” he said.