The entire board of the controversial Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has resigned with immediate effect.
According to a statement from the country’s minister with responsibility for sports, it is hoped the move will restore public confidence.
The commission has been under fire since August, when former senior JADCO official Renee Anne Shirley told Sports Illustrated that the authority had only carried out one out-of-competition test between February 2012 and the start of the London Olympics in July of the same year.
Three high-ranking officials from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) visited Jamaica for an audit last month. This followed weeks of criticism after several of the country’s high-profile athletes tested positive for banned substances.
Former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell, twice 200m Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and London Games 4×100m relay silver medallist Sherone Simpson all failed drug tests and were left out of Jamaica’s athletics team for the World Championships in August.
Outgoing WADA President John Fahey had suggested the Caribbean nation could face severe penalties if they were declared non-compliant with the WADA code.
But Natalie Neita Headley, Jamaica’s minister with responsibility for sports, does not think this likely:
“At no time has WADA ever deemed Jamaica or JADCO to be non-compliant,” she clarified.
Last week, triple world champion Usain Bolt said miscommunication surrounding Jamaica’s eligibility for the 2016 Olympic Games because of the anti-doping problems had cost him a potential sponsor and left him unhappy.
The IAAF athlete of the year urged officials to quickly resolve the problems.
Neita Headley has announced that the Jamaican government is in the process of working through a plan “to implement the recommendations that have been made to improve operations of our anti-doping agency.”