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GNOC Bureau will not meet Sports Council

Nov 4, 2010, 1:07 PM

The Gambia National Olympic Committee will not honour the proposed emergency meeting with the National Sports Council billed for Thursday, according to a statement from the GNOC Bureau.

The National Sports Council convened a meeting with the Bureau members of the Gambia National Olympic Committee to finalise all pending issues geared towards a free and fair election for the vacant post of the president at the GNOC following the cancellation of the GNOC election on October 20.

The meeting, set for today, is the second meeting scheduled by the council following the inability of the Gambia GNOC to attend the initial meeting billed for 26 October 2010.

Below is the full text of a letter from the Gambia National Olympic Committee addressed to the Chairman of the National Sports Council and signed by Secretary General Peter Prom, on GNOC’s position concerning the proposed meeting.

Emergency Meeting with National Sports Council

I wish to refer to the letter from the National Sports Council, NSC10/09/GNOC/009 of 28th October 2010 calling for an extraordinary meeting with the National Sports Council (NSC), signed by the Development Officer for a non-existent Executive Secretary.

On behalf of the Gambia National Olympic Committee (GNOC) Bureau, I would like to point out the following facts:

1. The GNOC is the Olympic Movement in The Gambia, and it is an autonomous body in accordance with The Olympic charter and the laws of The Gambia (Ref. GNOC Constitution Article 11, 2.3).

2. The GNOC Bureau is answerable to the GNOC General Assembly which is comprised of the recognized National Sports Associations. Article VII, 7.1 of the GNOC constitution states that “The General Assembly shall be the highest body within the Gambia National Olympic committee”.

Based on the above facts we have come to the conclusion that:

1.         The GNOC Bureau cannot meet with the NSC, because a meeting of the GNOC Bureau shall be notified only by the GNOC President according to Article XII, 12 of the constitution. There is a management Committee that represents that GNOC Bureau at meetings and consultations and reports back to the Bureau.

2.         Whilst the GNOC upholds the National Sports Council Act 2000, the National Sports Council violated the same Act (Part II item 5 9c), by coming to the GNOC Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly and cancelling the Presidential election - The National Sports Council unconstitutionally hijacked the authority of the General Assembly, and therefore cannot remedy the present situation by calling for a meeting with the GNOC Bureau. The Bureau is still dazed about that fateful episode and will have to consult with its constituents before decisions are made.

3.         We have reviewed the whole scenario and have resolved that the reason for cancelling the Presidential election was because one of the Presidential Candidates, Mr Abdoulie Touray, raised some objections which were unfounded at that last minute when voting was to begin. The other Presidential Candidate, Mr Momodou Dibba, was not allowed to speak and members of the General Assembly were not given the opportunity to be heard. In his own words, Mr Sutay Jawo, Deputy Director of Youth, Ministry of Youth and Sports, pronounced the cancellation of the elections by saying: “We are from the Ministry of youth and Sports, and the National Sports Council; we are in charge of all National Sports Associations in The Gambia and, you (the IEC) are telling us that the GNOC invited you to conduct the election, we hereby cancel the elections. We have the backing of the Minister to cancel the elections”.

4.         Therefore, we wish to point out that the decision to cancel the election should have been made by the General Assembly and not by the National Sports Council.

However, we are very much cognizant and sensitive to the fact that Mr Abdoulie Touray has influenced in the Sports Policy and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Mr Touray, under his consultancy company, Sahel Group, formulated the Sports Policy and the Act, and also renders advisory services to the Government Sports Sector. Owing to this relationship, we can understand why the National Sports Council and the Minister of Youth and Sports are more sympathetic to Mr Touray as a Presidential Candidate, and this sympathy has been felt within the GNOC Bureau and among sports enthusiasts. This sympathy was quite evident when the National Sports Council cancelled the election. Therefore, the GNOC does not want to be a party to a meeting between the two contending Presidential Candidates. The NSC has authority over the National Sports Associations, and can meet with them without the presence of the GNOC.

We do also realize that previous correspondences from the National Sports Council to the GNOC have been coming from the Executive Secretary stating “I have been directed by………”  The Bureau would like to know whether these directives were truly coming from Council as the Act dictates, or from another authority. The GNOC and the NSC are partners in Sports Development and therefore we expect a harmonious relationship, mutual respect and understanding.

On a final note, there is need to revisit the Sports Council Act, the GNOC Constitution and Olympic Charter. Whilst the NSC Act Part 11, 5(a) stipulates that the NSC shall be the approving authority for the registration of National Sports Associations, the GNOC Constitution and Olympic Charter stipulates that the National Associations affiliated to their international federations (IFs) shall be recognized by the National Olympic committees.

We hope that the above justification will be useful.