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Official Complaint filed by Bahamas, citing TCI Nat’l Swim Coach is ‘out of order’

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By Deandrea Hamilton

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#TurksandCaicos, April 21, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos Sports Commission, the overarching sporting body for the islands has said it is “verifying” what led to the fall out involving CARIFTA qualifying swimmer, Lenin Hamilton Jr, the Turks and Caicos Swimming Federation and the Swim Federation of The Bahamas.

Needless to say, Lenin Hamilton Jr or LJ was devastated by the development, which barred him from competitive participation in the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships.  He had been training years for his debut at CARIFTA; it was twice delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and this time a complaint filed by the TCI Swimming Federation postponed his opportunity by another year; he learned of the ruling on his 13th birthday.

“There has been much speculation surrounding this incident, some of which the TCI Sports Commission is in the process of verifying. We are awaiting a comprehensive report from the Turks and Caicos Islands Swimming Federation on the matter,” informed a statement issued on Wednesday.

A deeply concerning debacle developed over the Easter Holiday weekend during the 35th CARIFTA Aquatics Championships, which were staged in Bridgetown, Barbados.

“The series of events that led to Lenin Jr.’s inability to swim in the CARIFTA Swimming Championships 2022 is unfortunate. While National Team selection and coordination is the remit of the National Federations and not the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG), the TCIG champions a fair playing field for all participants in sports and values strong positive working relationships with neighbouring countries, such as the Bahamas.”

Lenin Hamilton Jr, who is a member of the TCI Aquatics Swim Club, is both a Bahamian and Turks and Caicos Islands citizen.

The fiasco seems to stem from a badly worded offer letter to the athletes.  Our newsroom obtained a copy which reveals a discriminatory condition.

“I did not accept the offer, because I did not like the wording in the letter for CARIFTA.  It wasn’t worded like the letter for CCCAN was worded.  This one felt like it had more restrictions,” explained Lenin Hamilton Sr, coach of TCI Aquatics Swim Club.

Hamilton said he felt it was not necessary or best for his swimmer to practice with Coach Hall and considered the stipulation as just another way to block TCI Aquatics from national representation.

An excerpt from the TCI Swimming Federation’s offer letter, which was issued on March 3, 2022 advised:  “As you probably well know, the CARIFTA swimming championships is a high-level international swim meet that will require certain expectations. These include dedication to training in the upcoming weeks, including some practice sessions with the National Team headed by National Coach Mr. Ezekiel Hall. Swimmers and parents will also be required to abide by a code of conduct during the training prior to CARIFTA and at CARIFTA, both on and off the pool deck. Failure to show up on time for the practices or not be fully dedicated to training or any breach of the code of conduct could be grounds for removal from the National Team.”

Lenin Jr, at the time was training in The Bahamas, and according to his father and coach would not be able to make the practices; additionally, the stipulation when reviewed by many in the TCI sporting community was described as “disenfranchising” to an athlete.

“I just put my son in a better position to train for this event,” said the Coach about Lenin Jr’s move to The Bahamas ahead of the swim championships.

Turks and Caicos Islands has no Olympic qualifying facility; its swimmers usually earn qualifying times in meets abroad, particularly in The Bahamas.

The clause in the offer letter was also viewed by the discerning as yet another attempt by the TCI National Swim Coach, Ezekiel Hall to exclude TCI Aquatics from participation. Hall, who heads Provo Aquatics Swim Club has been repeatedly accused of biased and questionable execution of his duties as both the head coach and member of the executive board of the TCI Swim Fed.

Bahamian media in reporting on remarks by its Bahamas Aquatics president – Algernon Cargill – said the decision to disqualify the boy was as a result of a complaint filed by the Turks and Caicos Swimming Federation.  The decision, once it was publicized, unleashed a firestorm of criticisms and comments expressing shock at the move.

It has also created “bad blood” between the countries which have also been published in Bahamian media.

“We in the Bahamas Aquatics Federation are extremely disappointed with the camaraderie displayed by the Turks and Caicos.  We have been extremely generous and benevolent in not only assisting Turks and Caicos to develop their federation but inviting them for years to compete in The Bahamas,” Cargill in a Tribune newspaper article added, “We feel the situation could have been resolved between the countries because the IOC has rules that allows for countries to resolve disputes like this.”

The main reason Hamilton Jr was not cleared to swim and represent Team Bahamas in the 2022 CARIFTA Swim meet was because ten months earlier, in June 2021 he represented Turks and Caicos at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Confederation, CCCAN meet, which was held in Puerto Rico.

“The information provided to us explained that Lenin Hamilton Jr., who represented the TCI at CCCAN less than twelve months ago, had made an application to represent The Bahamas at the CARIFTA Swimming Championship hosted this past weekend in Barbados.

Communication was had between the Turks and Caicos Islands Swimming Federation and the Bahamas Aquatics Federation on the matter. With no resolve between each country’s federations, the Barbados Aquatics Sports Association was notified, which subsequently made a ruling that the FINA rule GR 2.5 and 2.6 was violated and withdrew Lenin Hamilton Jr. from the competition,” said the Sports Commission statement.

There was a similar statement to Magnetic Media by the Swimming Federation’s president Dan Redmond, “We were unaware that LJ was planning to represent the Bahamas at CARIFTA until we saw the CARIFTA list of swimmers entered with times (called ‘psyche sheets’).

The rules about ‘sporting nationality’ are very clear and are included in the event summons (see attached document CARIFTA Summons 2022).

Lenin ‘LJ’ Hamilton, represented the Turks and Caicos Islands at CCCAN in June 2021. This makes him ineligible to represent another nation for a period of twelve months, (reference FINA GR 2.5 & 2.6).

This is a problem for the CARIFTA organisers and they’ve simply applied the rules that everyone has signed up to,” shared Redmond.

However, some of what is stated here is not what Dan Redmond reported to Magnetic Media on March 21st, when we contacted him about the absence of LJ Hamilton from the team roster.

Our news organization was told, Coach Hamilton declined the offer due to the requirement to have LJ attend practices in the TCI and would be swimming instead with The Bahamas, where he was training.

Redmond went on to inform that this decision by his coach did not mean LJ would not be able to compete for TCI again.  The comment was in response to our question about why the promising young swimmer was not more assertively pursued; why Turks and Caicos was contented to lose such a valuable athlete?

And contented they were.  No objections came about Lenin Jr not appearing at the CARIFTA Aquatics Championships for The Bahamas and no objections came to yet another slight, when his father – a distinguished coach – was not added to the coaching staff for the team.

The demonstration of care and concern which would be expected for a Youth program and National Coaching team was heartbreakingly absent.

The Bahamas swim president said it was not the first time Coach Ezekiel Hall has shown bad form and double standards.

“Turks and Caicos did the exact same thing in 2018 at CARIFTA.  What I have done is file an official complaint with the Turks and Caicos Olympic Association that has clearly outlined that their coach is out of order.  In 2018, his own daughter who swam in The Bahamas’ FINA (international swimming Federation) sanctioned meet as a Bahamian athlete, when two weeks later and swam for Turks and Caicos at the CARIFTA games and subsequently went on to the worlds,” explained Cargill in that newspaper article.

Support for Lenin Hamilton Jr, has been massive and reportedly included  Mario Bowleg, Minister of Sports for The Bahamas and Prime Minister, Philip Davis who Algernon Cargill said reached out to the national coach.

LJ swam the 50m backstroke in 33.22; the 50m butterfly in 30.42 and the 100m free in 1:00:27; top times, according to The Bahamas who also said the country is looking forward to LJs ability to swim for The Bahamas in future.

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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News

Provo Water Company Boosts Water Distribution Infrastructure in Providenciales with Key Improvement Initiatives

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PROVIDENCIALES, TCI, APRIL 9, 2024: Provo Water Company (PWC) remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing the water distribution network in Providenciales by making significant progress on various improvement projects while innovatively addressing short-term distribution challenges.

The company is currently working on two projects to enhance water distribution on Providenciales. The first project will see the installation of a new city water transmission main line from the TCWC Production Plant along June Plum, Gardenia Way, Kakeka Streets, and Garden Loop to the Leeward Highway, extending from the Long Bay Hills Drive junction to the roundabout near Crackpot Kitchen. This pipeline upgrade will provide increased water supply to the network and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2024, enhancing water reliability and ensuring better service for the community.

The second project, which is set to be completed by the end of September 2024, will focus on upgrading the fittings at major water junctions along the Leeward Highway. These improvements to the water supply network’s central artery will increase water flow to the Suzie Turn Reservoir, and enhance water availability and quality for customers located west of Turtle Cove.

These projects not only tackle the current water distribution issues causing nightly restrictions but are also essential components of PWC’s long-term strategy to support the island’s population growth and flourishing tourism industry. In the immediate term, the organization has resourcefully repurposed a newly built water tank located in the Industrial Park area. Originally designated for a future project, the water company has utilized the new tank as an additional source to replenish the Suzie Turn Reservoir, addressing the water supply issues that began in March.

In response to the new development, Managing Director Robert Hall stated, “We are pleased to have found a way to utilize this water tank as a temporary aid in addressing the high-water demand. The activation of this tank reaffirms our commitment to fulfilling the water requirements of our community in response to the growing demands of our customers and stakeholders.”

Situated in the heart of the Industrial Park area, the new tank boasts a capacity of 1.5 million gallons. This tank will work hand in hand with the Suzie Turn Reservoir to meet the water supply needs in the northern and southwestern areas of Providenciales, bridging the gap until ongoing projects deliver a lasting solution.

Once the two current projects have been completed, the new water tank will serve a critical role in a future project and in safeguarding Providenciales with an emergency water supply during crises like hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“This water system investment speaks volumes about our proactive approach to directly addressing water challenges. Through expanding storage capacity and optimizing distribution efficiency, we are well-positioned to deliver reliable, high-quality water services to our customers,” Hall said.

He also added that, amid these efforts, advocating for water conservation practices is crucial. Small actions, such as fixing leaks, using water-efficient fixtures, and practicing mindful water consumption, can play a significant role in safeguarding our valuable water resources.

In addition to these initiatives, the organization will continue to optimize and promote its robust educational campaigns and community engagement programs aimed at raising awareness about water conservation and the importance of sustainable water practices. By empowering individuals with knowledge and tools to make informed choices about water usage, Provo Water Company aims to foster a culture of responsible water stewardship that benefits both the environment and future generations.

“As we move forward, we remain committed to serving our community and look forward to the positive impact that these new initiatives will bring to this island.” Hall concluded.

For additional details about Provo Water Company and its water efficiency and conservation initiatives, visit its website, provowater.com and social media pages at @ProvoWaterCompany for tips and announcements, or contact our customer service team at customerservice@provowater.com.

 

Pic: Provo Water Company’s Managing Director, Robert Hall, and team working to expand water storage capacity to optimize distribution efficiency.

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Bahamas News

Saxons Brass Section Thanks CWCO for Continued Commitment

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS (April 9th, 2024) Behind the vibrant costumes and electrifying beats of Junkanoo parades are committed members, mentors, and supporters such as Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO). In a heartfelt acknowledgment of years of generous support, the Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited the water supplier to present a plaque of appreciation.

Jeremy Adderley, speaking on behalf of High Voltage Brass, said, “Without CWCO’s support, we would not have had the brass costumes needed to compete and secure our two-straight victory. Their support also helps us as we plan lessons for our young members to enhance their musicianship skills, not just for Junkanoo but for college and beyond.”

Adderley highlighted that the plaque is a token of High Voltage Brass’ immense gratitude for CWCO helping the Saxons Superstars keep culture alive and for being a steadfast partner in developing future leaders.

He added, “Every year, it is a struggle to make it to Bay Street. Many of our members are eager to participate, despite their circumstances, and every year our group continues to grow. Thanks to CWCO’s generosity, we look forward to continuing to grow and succeed alongside their great team and establishment.”

Henderson Cash, CWCO’s General Manager, said, “Receiving this plaque from the Saxons Superstars is a profound honor for us at CWCO. It symbolizes the strong relationship we’ve built over the years, rooted in mutual respect and a shared commitment to preserving Bahamian heritage.

“Our support for the Saxons Superstars’ brass section is emblematic of our broader mission to invest in our community’s vibrancy and the potential of its young people. We are deeply committed to continuing this support and fostering the traditions that make our culture so unique.”

 

Photo Caption: The Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO) to present a plaque of appreciation.

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