Not only is there an appeal for the Barbados Football Association (BFA) nomination process to be restarted, but football clubs in the island are now calling for the removal of BFA general secretary Edwyn Wood.
Former national captain and previous BFA council member Terry Sealy said that it was clear now more than ever that BFA president Randy Harris and his general secretary Wood were not on the same page.
Sealy’s comments came in response to a letter officially signed and sent out yesterday afternoon by Harris to “bona fide members” notifying them that contrary to reports in the media, they had a right to attend the August 9 AGM and were eligible to two votes.
But Sealy has charged that this is a contradiction to what Wood sent out on Friday, February 14, indicating to the clubs that by Monday, March 2 at 5 p.m, nomination and the names of delegates had to be submitted. Failure to do so by that deadline meant nominations would be deemed invalid. Sealy queried whether Harris and Wood were working in the same office.
“The evidence is here to show that there is a big miscommunication within the football association. The president showed by stepping in and sending out this letter that he no longer has the confidence in the general secretary. Because this is really the function of the general secretary and for the president to get involved and sign off on this tells you something.
“I am clearly asking for the president to ask the general secretary to do the decent thing or to fire him. This has been going on for a long time where the football association has been making some serious administrative mistakes and they cannot continue along this line,” Sealy explained.
He also renewed his call and has joined with the president of Wotton Football Club Rasheed Belgrave and longstanding manager of Beverly Hills Club Ali Rochester, in appealing for an independent election committee to be put in place to handle the upcoming election process.
“It clearly shows here that the football association has some serious problems handling this election and the way it is looking, it is not going to be a fair election.
“You have a situation where people want to be a candidate in the upcoming election and they were misled. The general secretary is there to work with us, the members, the clubs and guide us in the correct way, not to give us the wrong information,” Sealy stressed.
He added: “I will say personally I have no problem with the president but I honestly think the president needs help surrounding him and he must stand up and make those strong decisions that are best for football. I can assure him I would have his back but he has to make the right decisions for football. He cannot allow people to stay in positions and continue to embarrass the football association and him.
“We are fortunate to have a member of our association, our president (Harris) reaching to the level of vice-president of CONCACAF and serving on various committees for FIFA. Then for his association here in Barbados to be having these little petty blunders all the time, I think the president needs to make those strong decisions and kindly ask the general secretary to step aside or dismiss him. The general secretary should go.”
The clubs are asking for proper notification, also that the distribution and collection of nomination forms be handed over to an independent group who would then hand them over to the BFA letting them know who are eligible to run.
According to the club members, when those procedures are not followed, the whole process smells fishy. Representatives of many of the clubs who have to catch public and private transportation, especially from the rural part of Barbados, complained that they went to the BFA office on numerous occasions to collect forms from the general secretary and frequently he was never in office.
The clubs are questioning why paid staff within the BFA could not deal with the issuing of nomination forms.
Accusations are also swirling that the relationship between the general secretary and BFA staff is not a good one. Some staff members in the last few years have either been fired or have resigned. Some of them have brought wrongful dismissal lawsuits against the BFA. Clubs have been suggesting to the president that if the general secretary does not resign, he should be asked to leave the office before the AGM. The general secretary’s post is one that is not elected at the AGM, but is a position selected by the president.
Contacted tonight for a response, Wood said: “This process is nothing new to me and I know it is a ticklish process. So, in everything I do, I’m guided by the statutes of the football association. The statutes are available to all member clubs and the public at large on the BFA website, anybody can check it and see.”
Asked for comment on the situation, Harris told Barbados TODAY he would not be commenting on his staff. “I am not going to comment on my personnel. Nobody has written to the BFA and tell them what is going on or nothing. There has been no discussion so I can’t comment on that at this time.”