After the position of the Cayman Islands Athletics Association (CIAA) was aired on Radio Cayman recently about the removal of Lacee Barnes-Riley’s accreditation as a coach at the CARIFTA games, Loop News contacted Barnes-Riley to obtain her version of the events, which led to her being escorted off the field in The Bahamas.
To begin with, Barnes-Riley explained that she initially sent a Whatsapp message requesting accreditation on January 7.
She followed up with a formal email to the CIAA president, Delroy Murray, and CIAA general secretary, Cydonie Mothersill, on March 8.
As to the next steps, Barnes-Riley said:
I called the Bahamas line for CARIFTA and was told that an online form was available for additional coaches and personnel of other ranks to obtain accreditation. My husband and I signed up. All that was required, was to receive in-person verification. We got verified of our identities and received our passes.
Based on her statement, Barnes-Riley appeared to have completed the steps to obtain her coach accreditation.
What happened next is not disputed by either side; Barnes-Riley began sharing her experience with Team Cayman at the CARIFTA games.
With my own experience on six CARIFTA teams, I know two coaches are not enough.
Former athletes inspire the current athletes. We are able to relate with them on a personal level and share our experiences as athletes. In addition, when former athletes come back as coaches, our knowledge is fresh and we are able to help innovate programmes.
As to the cost of additional coaches, she stated, “The CARIFTA technical manual allows for additional coaches to be assigned to the team with a daily additional fee per extra coach of US$150 per day.”
Given the potential contribution to current athletes by past athletes who are willing to act as coaches, how things ended surprised Barnes-Riley.
As she explained:
I was sitting in the team camp surrounded by other Cayman athletes.
My husband was in the middle of getting a Cayman athlete warmed up and ready who was about to compete in under an hour.
The Bahamas Athletic President approached me and husband in front of Team Cayman and other countries in the warm up area, with two armed soldiers. That was when I became aware that our accreditations would be revoked.
The accreditation was revoked by the Bahamas Athletic President in the press box area, shortly after I was told to leave the warm up area.
Concerning the reason for the revocation, she said, “The Bahamas Athletic President told me that the Cayman Athletics Association had reported us to NACAC and World Athletics for illegally obtaining accreditations.”
Shock and tears
Reacting to the public execution of the revocation, Barnes-Riley told Loop News that she felt “Shock and confusion” and “immediately fell to tears while walking with the Bahamas Athletics President.”
Lamenting, she said:
It has always been about the athletes for me and it will remain that way. I will continue to stay involved as long as I know that I can do something to help Cayman athletes reach their goals.
They made a drastic and public decision without trying to communicate with me first.
The public embarrassment warrants a public apology.