Fri | Jul 30, 2021

Lothian plays cross-court - JTTA president agrees to smooth transition of power for incoming administration

Published:Saturday | February 6, 2021 | 1:18 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
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Departing Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) President Godfrey Lothian says he leaves behind what he describes as a solid foundation for Andrew Lue and his administration to build on. Lothian, who led table tennis for the last seven years,...

Departing Jamaica Table Tennis Association (JTTA) President Godfrey Lothian says he leaves behind what he describes as a solid foundation for Andrew Lue and his administration to build on.

Lothian, who led table tennis for the last seven years, will not be eligible to contest today’s election of officers at the association’s annual general meeting (AGM) at the National Arena. This is because the court blocked an injunction from Lothian’s camp on Thursday to stop the AGM.

Lothian’s team had organised its own special general meeting (SGM) and set a different time and date for an AGM. But Lue’s camp was adjudged to have used the JTTA’s general secretary, Ann-Marie Burton-Clue, to organise its SGM despite Lothian’s claim that Burton-Clue had handed over responsibility to Assistant General Secretary Francena Pryce.

The ruling also brings the two-year conflict for the leadership of the association to an end, after the court ruled the last election in 2019 null and void because of discrepancies in the polls.

But Lothian, who was gracious in accepting the court’s decision, said his administration departs having established a firm base on which Lue’s team can develop.

A FAR WAY

“Table tennis has come a far away,” Lothian told The Gleaner. “We now have the most coaches in the Caribbean. We carried two of the biggest coaching instructors in the world here in Richard McAfee and Christian Lilleroos.

“We have distributed countless table tennis boards across the country. We have an office at the National Arena. We started the primary school league and the National Premier League.

“So I think we have done a lot. Definitely, I think we leave a good foundation in place. But now we just have to move on.”

Lothian, who served three terms in office, said he will ensure the transition of power is a smooth one.

“The court didn’t rule like how we wanted,” he said. “It has been a long and rough road with different things happening, legal battles and such. Therefore, we have come to the conclusion that in the interest of our players, members, and supporters, the best thing to do is allow Mr Lue and his team to go forward at this time.

“We don’t want to be seen as stifling the development, so we wish Mr Lue and this team well and we will work to ensure that there is a smooth transition so table tennis can go on.”

Lue’s team will be the only ones contesting the positions for office today, and with victory all but assured, they are already looking at their next move.

Lue said it will take much hard work to get table tennis to what he considers a satisfactory level, but he says he is convinced they have the people to get the job done.

“I want the JTTA to be a model sporting organisation for the others in Jamaica in terms of transparency, accountability, and governance, and I think we have the talent, energy and will to get the job done,” Lue said.

He said that his team is already looking at having its first council meeting soon after the AGM, and one of the priorities will be mending the fences with Lothian supporters.

“Once the executive council is elected, we will be reaching out, as a matter of priority, to all affiliates, to let them know we are a council for everyone,” he said.

“All the resources that are available to us, will also be available to all the clubs, as long as they have their houses in order.

“So it is just to talk to them, find out what their objectives are, and see how we can provide the resources to get them where they want to go.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com