Photo: New Jamaica Olympic Association President Christopher Samuda greets the press after being delcared the winner of the election on Tuesday night.
Christopher Samuda and his entire slate were elected en block to serve as the new board of the Jamaica Olympic Association on Tuesday night in a historic vote that saw a new president of the organization for the first time in 40 years.
The organization has been led by the Hnorourable Mike Fennell since 1977 and saw a change in the leadership, after the longstanding president decided not to seek another term in office.
Samuda went up against Vishu Tolan, former President of the Jamaica Badminton Association and Vice President of Badminton World Federation, in what became a fractious race in the days leading up to the vote and managed to win by a four votes – 20 to 16.
Samuda was gracious in his acceptance speech and indicated that changes would be swift in coming as he set to achieve his own mandate.
“I am pleased to advise that I got a vote of confidence for the office. This is a new dawn but we will build on the institutional integrity for which the JOA is known. There will be changes in the interest of sport but those changes will be seamless,” Samuda promised.
The Jamaica Paralympic Association President thanked the man with whom he served as Secretary General of the JOA for the last four years.
“I want to publicly thank the Honourable Mike Fennell for the years of service he has given to the Olympic movement. The sterling quality of character that he displayed and the quality of leadership that he displayed and also the unwavering interest in the development of Olympic movement, not only in Jamaica but regionally and internationally.”
An attorney-at-law, Samuda also thanked those who elected him and those who voted otherwise.
“I want to thank also the members of the board, those who supported me and those who did not support me, I want to thank all of the member associations those who supported and those who did not support. The movement is now unified, we will move towards our goals as a team,” he assured.
Fennell said his board would demit office at the earliest possible time to give the new board an opportunity to fulfill their own mandate.
“This is a democracy, people have chosen and they are all sports people so we will get on with the job now. The transition has to happen as quickly as possible because it’s important for the new people to have their own way to do what they have to do without interference.”
The other member of the new administration are: 1st Vice President, Chris Stokes, the Jamaica Bobsleigh Federation President who defeated Warren Blake President of the JAAA, 25 votes to 11, 2nd Vice President, Garth Gayle, the General Secretary of the Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association, defeated Martin Lyn overwhelmingly 29-7. The post of Secretary General went to Alan Beckford who is Vice President of the Jamaica Triathlon Association. He also had a large margin of victory defeating Marva Bernard 28-8. In the race for Treasurer, Nichole Case, the interim president of the Jamaica Badminton Association defeated incumbent Comptin Rodney 21-15.
The other board members are, Yvonne Kong of the JOA, Laurel Smith secretary general of Jamaica Fencing, Raymond Anderson of the Jamaica Football Federation and Robert Scott secretary general of the Jamaica Rowing Federation.