Criticisms levelled at current Barbados Boxing Association (BBA) secretary Kathy Harper-Hall are unjustified, says long-standing BBA member Oliver Marshall. Leading up to and during the recent BBA annual general meeting and elections, Harper-Hall was heavily criticised for not wanting to step down at age 83.
However, Marshall in defence of Harper-Hall, pointed to the fact that despite her age, she gives her all towards the sport and he made it clear that he did not see a replacement at this point.
“I agree with the fact that she is old, the woman is 83. So, to say she is old is just repeating itself. But as far as her contribution to the association is concerned, I don’t see a replacement at this point,” Marshall said.
On Sunday, former national champion Junior Greenidge failed in his bid to be BBA president and was critical of the elections, stating he was finished with the sport.
“These people claim that they work hard. You could work hard for something and the boxing still in the ground? Please! The results show. What are you working hard doing? Results show that these people are just talking. A lot of talk, no action. I am being real and when you see a man like me come here to give my all in it, give sacrifices in it, to make sure that boxing gets what it deserves. We have been living in the stone age for so long, all of these people are happy because a lady at 83 years old, going 84 (got re-elect). That is how this thing is,” Greenidge said.
But Marshall, a long-serving Government Industrial School teacher, during his telephone interview with Barbados TODAY, stressed that he did not see anyone who could organise and manage the BBA as well as Harper-Hall has been doing.
“Not that there isn’t anybody that can’t do it. But they have not put themselves forward to take up the position and to do the work that lady does. She has been trying for years to see if she can get an assistant and every time there is an assistant it ends up with her having to do all the work herself. I have not yet seen the person who can control the association as she does. That’s a fact. I have been around the association since the 1980s, so I know what I am talking about,” Marshall stated.
Harper-Hall was returned as secretary of the BBA last Sunday and some members believed that by contesting the position, she was denying younger and fresher blood the opportunity to serve the association.
Without calling any names, Marshall who is now retired and served on the BBA executive since the 1980s, said it was surprising to hear and see the behaviour of some individuals. Marshall said that if anyone within the BBA has a problem particularly with how the association is being managed, they should come directly to the governing body and air their views.
“The association has done so much for the person. I was around when he was a junior in the sport and the association has helped all of them in ways beyond recognition. My feeling is that if you have a grouse bring it to the body. If you think there is corruption in the association come and speak about it. But again, what is corruption?
“If because nobody else is doing the work, one person has to do everything and we call it corruption? Well yes, that is corruption. That nobody else wants to do the work and that has been the problem throughout the association,” Marshall explained.
“I wish that the person or persons who are levelling criticism at the association would just come to the association and let it be thrashed out in the way that it should be. If they can do that, I think we would go further.
“But I am reading now where the person said they are done with boxing. If you have so much to offer you shouldn’t just walk away. Come and try to make it better and work and get the people you want out, out. But don’t curse them out or try to kill them off like that and that’s my feeling,” he stressed.
Marshall who was present at the BBA’s election this past Sunday said that more persons needed to come forward and make a contribution to advance sport. As someone who has been around for a long time, Marshall said one of the main challenges right now for boxing was a home. He strongly believes that when facilities are provided boxing will improve.
“I have had the opportunity to take boxers almost all over the world in South America, North America, England, Scotland, Caribbean. I have been all around with the boxers. So, I know what I am talking about.
“Our main problem is a home. A proper place to conduct the business of the association. That is the training and everything else. Because we can see when we go to other places what we do not have. That is our downfall.
“We have had so many promises from different governments, here and there. The last thing I am hearing now is that probably the Village Gate would be given to us. But the problem is – not having a proper home for the training of the boxers,” Marshall, who has managed many boxing teams for Barbados, said.
With boxing dear to his heart, Marshall intends to assist in the development of the sport in whatever way possible and said that the newly elected president Melissa Branford- Jones has his full support.
“I had the pleasure of managing the team in 2019 and she was part of the team. She means well for the association. I told her on Sunday that I am available – I’m not on the executive anymore – to assist in any way possible and she knows that,” he added.