The backlash against the team from the World Cup disappointment left a bitter taste in Bernard’s mouth. “Jamaicans only respect medals, and we suffered great disrespect because we did not get a medal. They quickly forgot the (bronze) medal we won at the Commonwealth Games. But netball is something that we have to be proud of,” she insisted. She backs new president Dr Paula Daley Morris to take the association forward and would like to see her complete some of the projects like the two-year-old semi-professional league. “We had a specific plan, but the new association (leadership) will have to forge their own plans …, so it is for Paula and her team to look at it and see what they can manage. But she must be given the opportunity to lead the association in the direction she sees fit. “I would like to see it continue because semi-professional is the way to go. England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are not fools in doing it. We must also grow the parish associations so they can be vibrant,” she said. Bernard will continue to contribute to netball in her new capacity as treasurer of the Federation of Americas Netball Association. However, her focus will be on her family business, and she has no aspiration of making it to the top netball post (International Netball Federation president). “I want a break. For 20 years I have been in netball non-stop, and 10 years of hard labour as president, so my time has come,” she declared. The election of the new president, Daley Morris, was shrouded in controversy, with some four lawyers required to cipher the articles of the association. “The articles were done by a reputable law firm, and all the lawyers who looked at it said there was nothing to prevent a director from seeking a higher post. In the final analysis, we chose one leader and we should move on. “In the past not many people wanted to support us, but now that my board has taken it to this level several people want to serve. But it should not be that we have to go through such acrimony because it’s a voluntary service. “We want to put this election behind us and accept the decision. I want us to put aside our feelings and behave appropriately. If we can’t do that then there is going to be division. In life there is going to be differences of opinion, but I know we all want what is best for netball,” she reasoned. Bernard walks away knowing she gave her best to the sport. “I leave the sport knowing that I gave everything and more. I leave the sport knowing that I helped move it from one stage to the next. I leave the sport knowing that I did not embarrass the foremothers and that netball became a household game.” GREAT DISRESPECT UNPRECEDENTED FUNDING After 10 years at the helm, charismatic netball president Marva Bernard rode off into the sunset at the end of her tenure as Netball Jamaica’s president, convinced she had done her very best. Even though the country did not win a medal at the Netball World Cup in Australia in August, the veteran administrator is proud she left behind a lasting legacy and solid foundation on which future administrators of the sport can continue to build. Bernard spent 12 years as treasurer of the netball association before she was elected to the top post in 2005. She is responsible for taking the association from a struggling to a thriving entity, rearranging the administration’s structure so that it could run as a business. “I was able to convince the prime minister to give us a house for our national players and that is an achievement many of the presidents before me wanted. I was able to get players overseas in professional and semi-professional leagues in England and Australia. I am happy that the relationships I have made with Australia, New Zealand and England have helped us,” she said. While former presidents found it difficult to generate funds, Bernard, through persistence, was able to convince sponsors to invest in netball, which brought about unprecedented funding and greater support for programmes and players in ways never seen before. Senior team players were given a stipend each month, new programmes that made many high school girls qualified umpires or near-qualified umpires were also incorporated. “They (sponsors) are proud to be associated with netball. We have built on what others that have gone before us left behind, and we helped to make netball a household game,” she said. However, she desired nothing more than the coveted World Cup gold medal. “The biggest disappointment was not being able to win a medal at the World Cup, but that is sports, that is life. But if you go for something and you do not succeed, you try and try again,” she said. “I am proud that since the rankings was introduced in 2007, even though we have not played as many matches as the higher-ranked teams like England, we are still better than many countries in the world that have much better resources than we have,” she added.
Dear Editor,Now, that we are cognizant of the intentions of The PNC Led Coalition, that is, to delay elections for as long as possible and to hold on to power as long as they possibly can, what should the election body do in such circumstances? This is the question that should be on every member of GECOM’s mind.This is the burning issue, but for some clandestine reason this chairperson seems not to understand? We, the People have already made our decision, twice to be exact, we’ve made that decision at the LGE Level and are eagerly awaiting our turn at the national level. We want an end to all of these meetings, interviews and what have you, of this illegal government with a final view to general elections soonest. We, The People, want elections because that is the end result of a successful passage of a no-confidence motion.Having said that, what should be the role of the newly installed Chairperson? I say her role should be one of expediting the dictates of the law as it relates to preparedness in time for elections within the legally stipulated time-frame. There should be no delay in such matters because the affairs of an entire nation are at stake.However, this aspect of the nation’s business has been stymied by the many twists and turns in this ongoing saga of general election and a government’s fear of facing the electorate. Incidentally, GECOM who is supposed to be an autonomous and bipartisan body seems to be caught up in this mess also. I do hope that this electoral body get its act together and in the final analysis get into election mode. So, let us get a few pertinent facts cleared up, before we discuss this election business in a detailed manner.For starters Madam Justice Chairperson took an entire month to as it were “settle in” that is making cordial remarks and talking to members of the secretariat, smiling and handshakes. We are talking about an entire month to make such salutations, when the urgent business of getting ready for Election 2019 was on the cards. It shows what mettle she is made of and to whose side she is leaning.This is certainly not a good sign at all and does not augur well for the independence of the chairman or the GECOM. These occurrences all show some form of collusion with the illegal powers that be and that the chairwoman is acting under instructions from other outside sources.Another case in point is in the stopping of the house to house registration, then soon after backpedaling in the statement that there would be a merger of the names from that very same process, she put a stop to. How can she in all fairness add registrants from an incomplete list to the National Register, this is an illegal act? This is preposterous and coming from a Chairwoman/former judge? Outrageous! You cannot merge an illegal document (the printed house to house registration forms was never sanctioned by parliament) on to the national register; this constitutes an illegal act. Further to it as a judge, Singh should know that you cannot use an unverified – and in the majority of cases duplicated list – on to the national register, this openly constitutes a fraud.As a former judge Madam Justice Claudette Singh ought to know that you cannot, I repeat, you cannot legitimize a fraud, this is outrageous behaviour! You just have to go straight into the Claims and Objections Phase which means that those persons who would have attained the age of 18 years and are eligible to vote would have been automatically updated into the National List of Electors. Conversely, those who have died would be taken off the list by the clean and verified list that can only come from the GRO; It is as simple as that!Are we to believe then that 370,000 persons reached the age to vote in the last five months? That is the rank foolishness this government is telling us? They are telling us in no uncertain language, that Guyana saw a rise in 370,000 “new” names in 5 months and as such this must be “merged” or in other words “added” to the NRR, this is the Anansi Story this government is giving us? Outrageous! The truth of the matter is, that figure of 370,000 represents a duplication of registrants and as such should be left alone and the real update should be sought from the established list that they allowed to expire in April of this year.Finally, what we see transpiring before our eyes is a chairperson who at best is a jellyfish actor, one who says one thing but undercover, does another. Is she afraid of doing the right thing? As someone rightly said, “this judge/chairwoman is under pressure, that is the reason for her behaving in this manner”.Well, I vehemently reject that assumption, I submit that she is not under any pressure other than that which she has created for herself. If she sticks to the letter of the law, as she asserted, then she has nothing to fear, however, a deviation from the laws that govern our country means that she is bound to get into these shameful alleyways and poorly crafted apologies would be the order of the day.If anyone that is under pressure then it is The Chief Justice and she has carried out her duties with high regards and legal precision. Claudette Singh on the other hand wants to “please” and for that reason she will go down in history as a weak, vacillating Judge/chairperson who was grossly guilty of dereliction of duty.Respectfully,Neil Adams