RWB Academy Petition Calls Out Trinidad & Tobago Swim Bosses Over Swimmer-Free “Ghost Clubs” That Feed World Aquatics With Officials

2023-10-30 No comments Reading Time: 3 minutes
The RWB Petition
The RWB Petition

The RWB Aquatic Academy has launched a petition in which it urges the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT) to embrace “fairness and transparency” and stop giving votes and jobs to coaches and officials who belong to “ghost clubs” that have no swimmers.

Some of those involved have even worked their way up through the sport to the point where they have worked at World Aquatics events or made it on to the World Aquatics Technical Officials list. RWB Aquatic Academy suggests.

Citing World Aquatics By Laws (Article 9), the petitioners note: “We, the supporters and members of the swimming community, wholeheartedly endorse the inclusion of RWB Aquatic Academy as ordinary members of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT).

“Since our application in October 2021, RWB has met all membership requirements as per the ASATT constitution. Our club has made valuable contributions to swimming in the country, producing national athletes, setting records, organizing events, and actively volunteering. However, a concerning violation of the World Aquatics By Laws (Article 9) has been observed, where clubs without swimmers are allowed to vote.

“In fact, clubs without active competitive swimmers are allowed to nominate persons to be selected as national coaches and vote ASATT personnel to office.  Of deep concern is that some of the representatives of these “ghost clubs” have also made their way on to the World Aquatics Technical Officials list.”

The petition concludes: “The World Aquatics By Laws emphasize the importance of democratic representation and active athlete participation in aquatics organizations. We urge ASATT to rectify this violation and ensure fair representation for clubs that contribute significantly, such as RWB Aquatic Academy. 

“By signing this petition (in full), we stand united in advocating for fairness, transparency, and the inclusion of RWB Aquatic Academy as valued members of ASATT. Let us work together to create an association that upholds its own rules, recognizes the contributions of its members, and fosters the growth and success of swimming in Trinidad and Tobago.

The details of the petition below and where those who wish to support the RWB Aquatic Academy can sign.

The Role Of World Aquatics In The Trinidad & Tobago Fiasco

Editorial: World Aquatics, the global regulator, has the power to suspend Trinidad & Tobago if the allegations contained in the above petition are true.

Indeed, World Aquatics would have a duty to act if it is the case that coaches and officials from clubs void of competitive swimmers are making it to the elite international arena. If sport rewards such people and includes them in the club of elite representatives of their countries via swimming organisations affiliated to World Aquatics, then sport accepts manipulation, a state of play that results in bans on athletes, as a way of life.

If the World Aquatics Reform process needs a new entry on its to-do list, here it is. UANA and all who represent the Americas at World Aquatics should investigate the claims with immediate affect, while World Aquatics should issue the same warning to the ASA of Trinidad & Tobago as it issued to Swimming Australia: get your house in order or we’re stepping in with a Stabilisation Committee until you fall in line.

Such suspensions don’t affect swimmers and the likes of Trinidad & Tobago’s world-class sprinter Dylan Carter would be free to compete internationally.

World Aquatics recently lifted the ban on the 2019 Kenyan Swimming Federation, long after sordid events in which the home of FINA Bureau member, head of the Kenya federation and still FINA pin honorer Ben Ekumbo, was raided. Processes are still underway in several cases involving Olympic officials from a time when Ekumbo was National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) vice-chairman and Deputy Chef de Mission for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

For the first time since Ekumbo, found “hiding under his bed” when officers came to arrest him, was not available to stand for re-election to the FINA Bureau, the Kenya Swimming Federation finally held elections this month.

Under a process led by Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, Maureen Owiti was elected president, Stanley Kaberu and Hilari Seri the first and second vice-presidents.

Namwamba thanked World Aquatics publicly and pledged Government assistance to the KSF. Politics and sport are bedfellows, for better or worse – and it is ridiculous to suggest otherwise.

“World Aquatics is pleased to report that by the decision of the World Aquatics Bureau, the suspension of Kenya Aquatics is lifted,” World Aquatics said in a statement. “The World Aquatics Bureau thanks the tireless work of the Stabilisation Committee, which successfully prepared an updated constitution and held democratic elections for the future officers of the national federation.”

Perhaps Trinidad & Tobago will be next in line for a “Stabilisation Committee”. If the details set out in the RWB Aquatic Academy ‘s petition hold water, the call should be made without hesitation.

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