Legal framework in place for testing Jamaican athletes

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica now has a legal framework in place to test its athletes for banned substances, following the passage of the Anti-Doping In Sport Act 2008, in the Senate on July 25.

Jamaica’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, who piloted the Bill in the Upper House, said the Bill was timely, as “Jamaica gets ready to compete this year at the Olympics in Beijing, China.”

“The Bill is intended to provide a strong framework for Jamaica’s anti-doping program to ensure that our athletes are assured of an environment which continues to nurture, celebrate and secure their sporting excellence, free from the taint or question of the doping enhanced performances, which sadly, our athletes have competed against in the past. Practices which now pose a threat to the integrity, value and viability of sporting competitions,” Senator Lightbourne said.

She noted that with this legislation, Jamaica would maintain its enviable position in sports, with its impeccable standards, reputation and record, and that the Government would be vigilant in ensuring that “the playing field is level and remains level.”

“It is having regard to these commitments that the Government adopted the World Anti-Doping Code, which among other things, provides for an international framework and standard for anti-doping policies, rules and regulations,” the Senator pointed out.

She informed further that it was for this same reason that Jamaica became signatory to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Convention Against Doping in Sport; is party to the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport; and in 2005, developed the Jamaica Policy Against Doping in Sport. “It is within this context that the Government of Jamaica, with the passage of this legislation, will put in place all the remaining national mechanisms to effectively ensure the right of all athletes to participate in doping-free sport,” the Senator said.

The Bill seeks to formally establish a Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), which will implement the policies and programmes of the Government against doping in sport with functions inclusive of planning, implementing and the monitoring of information and education programmes.

“These programmes will focus on health, prohibited methods and substances, nutritional supplements, the consequences of doping and the harm of doping to the ethical value of sport,” Miss Lightbourne said.

The Commission will be responsible for establishing a database for the registered testing pool for all Jamaican athletes and for notifying athletes and the relevant national sporting organizations of entries made to the register. It will also be required to test athletes and give notification of results in keeping with bilateral or multilateral agreements.

“This Commission will co-operate with testing and education initiatives of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and anti-doping organizations. It will conduct research concerning doping in sport; consult, advise and assist the Government of Jamaica, overseas Governments, non-Governmental bodies and persons on any matter connected with doping in sport, in order to promote the adoption of uniformed, international testing procedures,” the Senator informed.

The Bill also provides for the establishment of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel; the Jamaica Anti-Doping Appeal Tribunal; and the Jamaica Anti-Doping Therapeutic Use Exemptions.

Miss Lightbourne commended the previous Minister of Sports, Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, “under whose leadership work on the Bill was initiated and who gave support for its successful completion.”

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