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International Games
Monday, October 09, 2023
CANOC President Calls for Voting Change

Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) President Keith Joseph has reiterated a call for Panam Sports to change its voting system, describing it as "discriminatory".

Under the Panam Sports constitution, countries that have staged the Pan American Games can cast two votes at General Assemblies while others have one.

It applies to elections of the Executive Board and future Pan American Games hosts.

Speaking at the CANOC General Assembly at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Joseph claimed this rule means the Caribbean region is left disadvantaged.

"In the Americas, the major challenge is for us to end the weighted voting system that discriminates against those countries that have not hosted the Pan American Games," the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines official said, according to Barbados Today.

The voting system was introduced in 2010 with supporters claiming it provides an incentive for bidding for the Pan American Games.

Many Caribbean countries, however, view the system as being undemocratic.

Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic are the only CANOC members to have hosted the Games.

Joseph claimed efforts to allow affiliate countries to join Panam Sports should be pursued, potentially creating a path to the Pan American Games for territories with no National Olympic Committee.

"While the statutes of Panam Sports allow for associate members, there is as yet no mechanism in place to facilitate such membership," Joseph said.

"We must continue to lobby for Panam Sports to effect such a mechanism.

"Unfortunately, efforts to have aforementioned territories benefit from similar recognition and inclusion in Panam Sports and the Pan American Games have been met with unfortunate resistance.

"Rest assured that the struggle will continue."

Joseph called on for CANOC to be recognized as the most important sporting organization in the region and that a "true Caribbean sports culture" should be established.

"History will not absolve us if we fail in our efforts at the inculcation of all that is positive in sports, building a Caribbean solidarity and indeed, genuine Caribbean unity," he said.

"Ours is a historical trajectory, imbued with the incredible energy of our peoples through the years.

"Ours is an amazing responsibility to lift our spirits, holding each other's hands and reaching beyond possible."

CANOC used the General Assembly to sign a partnership with the Centre for Sport and Human Rights.

"CANOC has always been dedicated to fostering unity and sportsmanship in the Caribbean," said Joseph.

"This partnership with the Centre for Sport and Human Rights underscores our commitment to creating an environment where human rights are upheld, and athletes are empowered."

Another deal was signed with the University of the West Indies, to promote sports excellence, education, and community engagement in the Caribbean.
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