Response to the letter by Debbie Ferguson-Mckenzie
September 24, 2013
Madame Debbie Ferguson-Mckenzie
While not having been formally advised, I do wish to express my personal congratulation, along with that of the Federation, in your recent appointment, as an assistant coach at Southern Miss.
We have every reason to believe that you will continue with the level of success, that you have demonstrated over these many years.
I am in receipt of your recent letter, and it is with much regret, that I am using the same level of circulation, that you choose, even though this is a personal matter which should be addressed, in the uttermost of confidentiality.
Subventions of Elite Athletes
Article thirteen (A) of the National Sports Policy sets out the purpose of subventions.
“The Elite Athletes Subvention Programme is a government initiative designed to assist qualified athletes with meeting their training and competition expenses. It is not a salary or a wage or an entitlement and the use of such funds under the Programme must be limited to offsetting legitimate training or competition charges”.
Designation of elite status
While I am not in a position to address the details relative to the timing of you being designated as an elite athlete, I can confirm that such a designation was handled and continues to be handled in a number of ways, and as you yourself stated, your case was handled by the then Prime Minister.
You should be aware of the fact that the said designation, was determined by the Government, even though there is provision for input from both the Olympic Association (now BOC) as well as the relevant federation (BAAA).
Your request for retroactive compensation (1999-2004) is being forwarded to the Minister of Sports, under whose direct jurisdiction, along with the National Sports Policy (Article 12) the definition and designation of an elite athlete falls.
It seems most unfortunate that this matter has not been brought up and resolved long time ago, but resolution of the same, is a Minister’s decision.
Reduction of your subvention
I will follow-up on that matter, as a matter of urgency, but it was my understanding that elite athletes would have had their status confirmed, after the World Championships in Moscow.
It was the federation’s recommendation, that your situation remain unaffected.
It is appropriate for me to add that, the National Sports Policy does make provision for the employment of Elite Athletes (Article 12 B), but that is an area, overseen by the Minister.
I will revert to you, as soon as some response is received from the Minister.
Yours in sports