The chairman and the entire board of the embattled Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission have resigned in the wake of doubts over the effectiveness of the country’s anti-doping efforts.
Natalie Neita-Headley, government minister with responsibility for sport, said the resignation of the commissioners “was necessary because of public perception of the existence of conflicts of interests.”
The changes were not unexpected after an extraordinary audit of JADCO’s operations by a three-person panel from the World Anti-Doping Agency in October.
Since then, Neita-Headley had attended the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, where she discussed Jamaica’s situation with WADA director general David Howman.
In August, just days after Jamaica’s participation at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, the former executive director of JADCO Renee Anne Shirley wrote in US magazine Sports Illustrated about flaws in Jamaica’s anti-doping system.
Eight Jamaicans in three different sports tested positive for a variety of banned drugs.
They included six track and field athletes led by two-time 200-metre Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, former men’s 100m world-record holder Asafa Powell and two-time Olympic silver medallist Sherone Simpson.
WADA president John Fahey said flatly that Jamaica “dropped the ball” in its anti-doping efforts, although Howman said Jamaica had responded positively to the report produced by the WADA investigators and their recommendations.
The resignations of the current JADCO board members will take effect on December 31st.
The 11 departing commissioners will include chairman Herb Elliot.