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Cayman Athletic Association Reissues Statement: Initial Apology Retracted

Local News 14 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Cayman Athletic Association Reissues Statement: Initial Apology Retracted

The now highly publicised events that have transpired in the wake of the Caymanian’s Team return from the recent CARIFTA Games has been the topic of much public discourse, with several different versions of alleged events now casting a shadow on the outstanding achievements of Cayman’s athletes.

After returning to Grand Cayman on 11th April, murmurs of a member of the Caymanian contingent being escorted off the pitch by authorities began to permeate the otherwise celebratory atmosphere of the athlete’s return.

What had been a record CARIFTA for Cayman with 13 medals in swimming, a win in the under - 20, hundred (100) meter dash and other highlights, after a two year hiatus of the regional event due to Covid-19, quickly gave way to concern that one of the team’s apparent coaches had been dealt with less than favourably.

Lacee Barnes and her fiancé contend that they were not given fair treatment during the CARIFTA games and were not allowed to coach the athletes

There has been some confusion about whether those who escorted Ms Barnes and her husband were armed and there are different accounts of the incident.

An initial statement by the Cayman Islands Athletic Association (CIAA) apologising to Ms Barnes and her partner has since been retracted.

In that statement, officials noted:

“The CIAA Executive would like to apologise to her (Ms Barnes) and her husband for their experience at CARIFTA and we regret the way it unfolded. We hope that they will consider formally engaging with the CIAA training and development programmes as their experience and expertise will greatly benefit the further development of our Cayman athletes.”

However, on Thursday, 13th April, another statement was disseminated by the organisation’s President, Mr. Delroy Murray, which explained their position in further detail and refutes some of the statements made by Ms Barnes.

In his rebuttal, Mr. Murray did not deny that Ms Barnes had been escorted off the field by officials but noted in chronological order, the events which led to this decision being made.

Mr. Murray said on 17th January, 2023, Mrs. Lacee Barnes and her fiancé had requested accreditation for themselves as a Coach and as a medal presenter, respectively.

This request was discussed at an executive meeting of the CIAA, the day after, according to Mr. Murray’s statement, which went on to state that the request was denied, based on the team’s size and that it was not possible for her to present medals.

According to the CIAA’s most recent statement, a request was made on 5th March for Ms Barnes to receive a press pass.

However, on 10th March, correspondence from the CARIFTA governing body responsible for this, said that they had already been contacted by persons outside the team in relation to accreditation.

“In accepting our team submission NACAC was advised that an attempt had been made by persons to be accredited as part of the Cayman Islands Team who were not listed as part of the members of the Team submitted. We requested the name of the persons and were told that they were Lacee Barnes and her husband, who were desiring to be accredited stating

that they were coaches with Team Cayman and that they also coached some of

the athletes privately….,” read the statement.

Mr. Murray said on 18th March 2023, CIAA were informed that a letter had been received from

Ms Barnes’ father (the immediate former President of CIAA) enquiring if Ms.Barnes and her husband could be provided with tickets as Ms. Barnes would be doing interviews with a media house there.

Ms Barnes was then advised that the name of the local media house that she would be working for would need to submitted her name directly to the LOC and that in any event, this would still need to be approved by the CIAA.

The CIAA President said, “In the words of the person supplying the information, it looked like ‘Subterfuge’. ”

After arriving in the Bahamas and observing the start of the games, Mr. Murray said he noted that neither of the two Coaches accompanying the team were located in the Coaches area of the high-jump Competition and instead, he saw a male person in the said area, who seemed

to be offering advice to the athlete.

He said he then received a phone call from Coach Tyrone Yen in which he stated

that a parent was enquiring as to who it was that was coaching her son.

Coach Yen confirmed that the person in question was Mr. Riley, according to Mr. Murray’s account, which added that Mr. Riley was not a Coach and did not hold any Coaching Certificate.

“I made a telephone call to Coach Williams as to why Mr. Riley was assisting the athlete instead of one of the two accredited Coaches. An explanation was provided that did not satisfy me and Mr. Williams was asked to kindly have Mr.Riley remove himself,” noted Mr. Murray’s statement.

He went on to explain that shortly after, and it was noted that Ms.Barnes was playing an active role in Coaching the Girls.

“Based on the fact that Ms. Barnes was not one of the accredited Coaches of the

Team, I sent a message of complaint to the LOC asking for an investigation and

the removal of Mr. Riley and Ms. Barnes accreditation,” the statement read.

The LOC responded by agreeing that the accreditation was against the Rules and an

undertaking to have the accreditation of both persons removed was commenced.

On Sunday 9th April, Mr. Murray said he again noticed that Ms. Barnes appeared to be Coaching the same two Athletes in the Shot-Put, adding that the President of the BAAA approached him and asked how we wished to have situation handled.

“I advised him that we required the accreditations removed as they were not Coaches of the Association,” said Mr. Murray’s statement.

“I observed that sometime after this two unarmed Police Inspectors were seen

traveling in the direction of Ms. Barnes. However, I am unable to say if they

actually accosted or even approached Ms. Barnes as my attention was drawn to the activity on the track,” he added.

“The next thing I observed was that Ms. Barnes was walking hand in hand with

the President of the BAAA. There were no Police Officers accompanying

them and there certainly none was present with any firearm of any make or

nature,” said Mr. Murray.

He added that the President of the BAA informed Mr. Murray that he had removed the accreditation passes of both Mr. Riley and Ms Barnes-Riley but wondered if there was any objection to them remaining within the confines of the Stadium but with the accreditation passes removed.

Mr. Murray said he did not objection to this position.

He explained that in response to having their accreditation removed and being invited to participate as spectators, Ms. Barnes referred to the Members of the Executive present and

the Association in general with an offensive expletive, accusing them of doing

nothing for the athletes and only being interested in sitting in VIP seats.

“At this point the Members of the Executive present removed themselves from the

locale after the BAAA President presented them with the accreditation

passes of both Mr. Riley and Ms. Barnes, which both showed that they had

been accredited as Team Coaches of the Cayman Islands!…” noted Mr. Murray.

He went on to state:

“The LOC has since confirmed that the Accreditation passes were obtained through the actions of a friend of Ms. Barnes father who:

Unauthorizedly entered their names in the system under the auspices of the Federation; and thereafter

(b) Collected the passes and removed them from the confines of and over the objection of the LOC Office, which required proof that the Association’s approval had been received as this was required before handing the passes to the recipients or anyone.”

“….I find the remarks of Ms. Barnes not only baseless and without foundation and in some cases to be outright lies. The attempt made by us this past Tuesday to ameliorate the situation was not appreciated by Ms. Barnes who persisted in distorting the truth and the manner in which politicians have sided with her is not only disheartening but frankly misplaced and only serves to encourage the ‘We vs Them’ narrative that bodes no good for the community, but we are approaching an election season, so I understand,” remarked the CIAA President.

A picture of Ms Barnes in toe with several Members of Parliament, baring the now popular catch-phrase, “We stand with Laceee” has been making the rounds on social media.

Mr. Murray advised he would not be resigning from the CIAA and listed a number of accomplishments achieved under the current administration of the Association.

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