New constitution for the BAAA

Written by Brent Stubbs for Bahamas Athletics 

THE Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations has a new constitution, replacing the old one that governed the sport since its formation 65 years ago.

A ratification meeting was held on Thursday for the new constitution that will go into effect on April 1, although it is still waiting to be approved by the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

The membership agreed 32-13 to accept the new constitution and while there was another vote for those against it, the membership voted 33-12 to unanimously pass it.

BAAA's president Rosamunde Carey and first vice president Tonique Williams called it a historic day for the association during a press conference on Sunday.

“The large percentage of votes cast in favor of the new constitution expressed the members desire for reform and confidence that the new articles met the evolving demands on the organizations and forms a reliable and principled framework to set the BAAA on a path of sustainable success,” Carey said.

Carey said the membership expressed confidence in the vision and work of the executive board as they continue to “raise the bar." 

The new constitution will fill the requirements as mandated by both the Government of the Bahamas and the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), the governing body for the sport around the world.

 “It was constrained by a culture of politics, a lack of resources and a structure that stagnated the growth and development of athletics,” Carey said.

Carey said the new document meets the requirements of the office of the Attorney General and can be registered as a non-profit company so as to comply with government policies.

“Further, it satisfies the requirements of the IAAF and other international organizations,” Carey said. “It proves a number of significant changes to the Bahamian athletics system and the executive board that will enable the BAAA to expand its reach and resources and enhance its performance at all levels.”

The following as some of the key changes to the new constitution:

• Appoint a paid Chief Executive Officer, who would be charged with the day-to-day operations of the federation with a focus on efficiencies.

• Restructure executive board with specific portfolios towards sharing the demanding responsibility of managing the federation activities.

• Length of the executive board tenure will move from three years to four years starting from the 2018 general elections.

• Introduce regional associations towards decentralizing athletics by enabling focused development in more Family Islands.

• Fix limit on the length of time an executive or council member can serve – no more than two consecutive terms, or the equivalent of eight years.

Under their platform 'United Purpose’ that they used to be elected in 2015, Williams said their executive team began the process of reforming the constitution and they can proudly boost of the completion of the document.

“This document was not about ourselves, it was not about self goals, but this was a document that was we thought represented where we thought the federation should be headed,” Williams stressed.

Williams also said that the new document will now remove the voting powers from the executives back to the people who matter - their athletes, coaches and affiliates.

And she said it will also empower all of their associations to do more work as the BAAA takes a step back once the New Providence Amateur Athletic Association is formed.

The nine-member constitution committee comprised of Carl Oliver, Patrick Adderley, Maybeline Miller, coach Rudolph Ferguson, Harrison Petty, president of the Parents Association; Pauline Davis, IAAF Council Member; Attorney Winifred Adderley; Kelly Albury, a coach from Grand Bahama and Curtis Pride, the former president of the Coaches Association.

Former BAAA’s president Desmond Bannister also assisting the committee in completing the document.

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