Minister Desmond Bannister Speaks on Anti-Doping Legislation

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bannister<<< Hon. Desmond Bannister M.P.

Nassau, BahamasBahamas Press presents the contribution made in The Parliament recently by Minister Desmond Bannister on an important subject for the well-being of athletes, the eradication of performance-enhancing drugs.

CONTRIBUTION BY THE HONOURABLE
THOMAS DESMOND BANNISTER
MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORTS & CULTURE
ON
A BILL FOR AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MEASURES TO DISCOURAGE THE USE OF DRUGS AND DOPING METHODS IN SPORT AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to move the second reading of the Anti Doping In Sports Bill, 2009.
As I do so, Sir, I once again thank the good people of Carmichael for their continued support and well wishes.  Thank you Carmichael.
I also wish, Sir, to pay my respects to the memory of the Late William “Yama Bahama” Butler, a Bahamian legend whose courage, durability and patriotism made him a true Bahamian hero worthy of being referred to as a Hall of Famer, and I am grateful, Sir, that we had the wonderful opportunity to induct him into the National Sports Hall of Fame just last year.
I also wish, Sir, to thank Mr. Wellington Miller, the President of The Bahamas Olympic Association and his Executives for supporting this landmark piece of legislation for The Bahamas.  The B.O.A. Executive has sat with me for hours, Mr. Speaker, and together we have reviewed every clause of the Bill.  I can say, Sir, that while every member does not agree with every clause of the Bill, and we would not expect them to, as an organization, the B.O.A. unequivocally supports the Bill, as their presence here today indicates.
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Mr. Speaker, at this time I should foreshadow one amendment which will be required to the Bill in the Committee stage.  The B.O.A. is about to change their name to “BAHAMAS OLYMPIC COMMITTEE”, and so where the name “BAHAMAS OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION” appears in Section 5 (k)(i) we will be seeking to amend that to say “NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE” which is the term that is used by the Olympic Charter, and the use of which will ensure that any further name changes by the B.O.A. will not require an amendment to the Act.
Additionally, Sir, I wish to thank Mr. Fred Sturrup for highlighting the importance of this Bill in a recent newspaper article, and I want to commend Mr. Sturrup for initiating the educational focus which will be so critical to successfully fighting doping in sports.
Mr. Speaker, on 4th February, 1999, the International Olympic Committee convened a World Conference on Doping In Sports.  Out of that conference came the Lausanne Declaration, pursuant to which the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) was established in November, 1999.
WADA is the international independent organization that promotes, co-ordinates and monitors the activities of member nations in the fight against doping in sport.
As a result of WADA’s pioneering fight against doping in sport, the World Anti Doping Code, also known as the Copenhagen Declaration, was finalized at the Second World Conference on Doping in Sports and was adopted by the International Olympic Committee, world governments and all major international sporting bodies on 5th March, 2003.  The Bahamas is one of 192 countries to have signed this Declaration to date, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, the Code has as its objective the implementation of effective doping control programs in order to prevent, deter, detect and legally punish individuals for using or providing performance enhancing substances which are banned under the Code.
The Code, Sir, has become the global instrument to harmonize policies and regulations and to provide a framework for the establishment and execution of anti doping policies, rules and regulations for the benefit of sporting organizations and to ensure fair play in all competitions for athletes worldwide.  Individual countries have three commitments under the Code, Sir:  first acceptance, secondly implementation and thirdly enforcement of the Code on all athletes who participate in sports in that country, whether they are citizens of that country or not.
Mr. Speaker, as a signatory to the Code, The Bahamas was obliged to implement it prior to the 2004 Olympic Games.  The deadline was first extended to February, 2006 just prior to the Winter Olympic Games and then later extended again.
In the interim, Mr. Speaker, there were several international developments with respect to anti doping:
First, on 19th October, 2005, in Paris, UNESCO adopted the International Convention Against Doping In Sport, with the objective of promoting the prevention of and the fight against doping in sport with a view to its elimination.  The Bahamas ratified the Convention on 12th October, 2006, and to date is one of 115 countries to have done so.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, was the Madrid Declaration, which was adopted by the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Madrid, Spain in November, 2007.  By virtue of this Declaration, Sir, all National Olympic Committees, sporting bodies and major event organizers were urged to become fully compliant with the World Anti Doping Code by 1st January, 2009; and all governments were urged to adhere to the UNESCO International Convention against Doping In Sport no later than 1st January, 2009.  This date, Sir, has now been changed to January 2010.
Additionally, Sir, it is my obligation as the Minister with responsibility for Sports to apprise the Bahamian people of the fact that the international sporting community has so committed itself to eradicating the use of performance enhancing drugs that commencing with the World Youth Games next year doping tests will be conducted on athletes age eighteen and under; these are high school aged students.  Similarly, Sir, signatory countries to the World Anti Doping Code will be required to reciprocate in similar fashion for visiting athletes and teams in this age group.
Mr. Speaker, aside from these international obligations, our recent experiences in sport in this country shows quite clearly why it is in the interest of The Bahamas to adopt an efficient anti doping regime.  I will give just a few examples:
1. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, the Bahamian men’s relay team finished in fourth place.  However, in the ensuing years four of the six members of the United States team have been suspended from the sport for taking prohibited substances; and last year our men got their Olympic bronze medal, eight years late.
2. At the very same Olympic Games, Mr. Speaker, Pauline Davis-Thompson finished in second place behind Marion Jones in the 200 metres.  Ms. Jones was later revealed to have taken performance enhancing substances, and Pauline now stands to be awarded the gold medal.  Hopefully, she won’t have to wait too much longer.  This is a matter, Sir, that I have asked the B.O.A. to look into, and to make representation to the I.O.C. on behalf of Pauline and the people of The Bahamas.
Mr. Speaker, I am particularly honoured that Pauline is here today in Parliament as we debate this landmark legislation.  The fight against doping in sport has always been one of her passions, and as the most decorated Bahamian female athlete in history, and the only Bahamian woman ever elected to the elite twenty – seven member Council of the IAAF, she is well placed in world sport to be a world recognized spokesman in the fight against doping.  Since she is here, Sir, I take this opportunity to congratulate Pauline on her historic gold medal, and also on her performance this year by winning the overall National Championship for the University of Tennessee this year.
3. The very next year (2001) at the World Championships in Athletics Debbie Ferguson finished behind Marion Jones. After Ms. Jones’ disqualification, Debbie was just recently awarded her gold medal, eight years late.
4. At the same World Championships in 2001, our men’s relay team finished in second place behind the United States.  The United States team has now been disqualified for using performance enhancing drugs, and now eight years later Avard Moncur, Tim Munnings, Troy McIntosh, Chris Brown and Carl Oliver have finally been awarded their gold medals.  I congratulate that outstanding team, Sir, and I thank the Honourable member for South Eleuthera for being there and assisting with the presentations.
5. Additionally Sir, Chandra Sturrup has been recently awarded her bronze medal for her performance in the 100 metres at the 2001 World Championships as a result of the disqualification of Marion Jones and Kelli White; and our men’s relay team is now recognized as bronze medalists for the 2003 World Championships, again as a result of the disqualification of the United States team.
Mr. Speaker, I know of no country in the world that has been impacted as much as The Bahamas has by other countries that have cheated through the doping process, and has led to these outstanding Bahamian athletes being recognized as World and Olympic Champions years after they should have been, and moreover, they have not received their much deserved recognition at an international event.  They are receiving their medals at home in front of hundreds instead of in the international arena in front of thousands who sit in the stadiums and hundreds of thousands of television viewers.  As a result, our athletes have lost out on lucrative opportunities, and our country has lost valuable international television exposure.
That is one reason, Sir, why we are following the model recently adopted by Jamaica.  The Bahamas and Jamaica are regarded as the top two international sporting powers in this region of the world.  No other country in our region has experienced the success that these two countries have enjoyed in international sporting competition, and accordingly, Mr. Speaker, it is critical for us to develop our own expertise and to create local Bahamian institutions to inform and educate our athletes about issues related to doping in sports, and to protect the reputation of our country in international sporting circles.
To show how significantly this doping problem in sports has hit The Bahamas, Mr. Speaker, please permit me to give two examples.  At the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia, The Bahamas was hailed as the world’s top athletic power on a per capita basis.  That was because the Golden Girls won a gold medal and Pauline Davis Thompson won a silver medal.  What the world did not appreciate at that time, Sir, was that Marion Jones would have been disqualified for doping violations, leaving a well earned gold medal for Pauline.  Very few people also appreciated, Sir, that when Chris Brown took the baton on the final leg of the relay and valiantly tried to run down Michael Johnson, he found himself behind an American team of which four out of the six runners have since been suspended for doping offences, and from which the gold medal has been confiscated.  That meant, Mr. Speaker, that had the playing field been even, Chris Brown would have found himself out front, and Olympic history would have been considerably altered..  Consider how much more significant the recognition for our county would have been, Sir, had the world appreciated that had they not had to compete against dopers, Bahamian athletes would have won three gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games.
The second example, Sir, came from the 2001 World Championships.  After those Championships, track and field writer Pat Butcher wrote an article praising The Bahamas.  He said in part:
“When a country like The Bahamas – population 275,000 – can win a gold and silver, with considerable input from individual winner, the elegant Avard Moncur on the men’s 4×400 relay, and countries like Senegal – to the joy of IAAF President Lamine Diack – and the Dominican Republic, and Mozambique and Jamaica can win gold the athletic word is spreading well beyond it’s traditional frontiers….The Bahamas deserves another mention for it’s athletes’ performances over the last three years.  Gold in Seville and Sydney and gold and silver here.”
What he and everyone else could not have appreciated at the time, Sir, was that The Bahamas had won three gold medals at those World Championships in Edmonton: Debbie Ferguson in the 100 metres, Avard Moncur in the 400 metres, and the men’s 4×400 relay, but the historic nature of those achievements, Sir was hidden by the fact that dopers finished ahead of Debbie in the 100, and ahead of our men’s relay team.

Today, Sir, by passing this legislation we will be ensuring that The Bahamas will be fully compliant with World norms with respect to the fight against doping in sports, and we will have the legal authority to test any athlete who is in The Bahamas, whether the athlete is a Bahamian or not; to enter into reciprocal agreements with other countries, and to also test Bahamian athletes while they are in other countries.  We are seeking to ensure, Sir, that the cheaters will never again take glory away from the honest competitors on the world stage in the sporting arena; and we do it at a time when the world is learning that even at last year’s Olympic Games in Beijing several athletes including a gold medalist tested positive for prohibited substances.
I am, therefore, quite pleased, Sir, to outline some of the provisions of this very important legislation.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill creates four important institutions.  These are:
1. A National Anti Doping Commission;
2. An Anti Doping Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee
3. A Disciplinary Panel; and
4. An Appeals Tribunal.
The Anti Doping Commission will consist of nine members who will be appointed by the Minister, who must be satisfied of their high integrity and ability to exercise sound judgment with respect to their responsibilities.  The Director of Sports will be a member ex officio
Mr. Speaker, this Commission will have the duty to promulgate anti doping rules; to implement the policies and programmes of the government against doping in sport; and to do all that is necessary to comply with and implement the World Anti Doping Code.
On this topic, Mr. Speaker, the Lausanne Declaration says this:
“The Olympic oath shall be extended to coaches and other officials, and shall include the respect of integrity, ethics and fair play in sport.  Educational and preventive campaigns will be intensified, focusing  principally on youth, and athletes and their entourage.  Complete transparency shall be assured in all activities to fight doping, except for preserving the confidentiality necessary to protect the fundamental rights of athletes.”
In this regard, Mr. Speaker it is important that the Bill imposes on the  Commission the obligation to protect the privacy and the right to privacy of athletes, and to ensure that appropriate and fair procedures are developed to reflect the needs of athletes under the age of eighteen.
Additionally, the Commission will be responsible for planning, implementing and monitoring information and education programmes for the purpose of educating members of the general public, athletes, parents, and support personnel about doping matters, including health consequences, ethical values in sport, the rights and responsibilities of athletes, and information on nutritional supplements.  Mr. Speaker, these educational benefits, and particularly the last one will be critical for young people in our country.
It will also be critical, Sir, for young people to know what is on the prohibited list, because, it is not whether the athlete intended to dope that counts in sport…..it is what is found in your body.  The athlete’s intention can be pure and noble, Sir, but if a prohibited substance is found in his body there will be consequences for him.    That’s why, Mr. Speaker, I believe that this Bill provides such a wonderful educational opportunity for us to teach young people about the potentially harmful effects of drug use.  What’s very important about this, Sir, is the fact that the prohibited list is very comprehensive and is updated every year; and athletes have to constantly be aware of what they are putting in their bodies.  For, example, Sir, people often take diuretics to release water from the body and give the appearance of losing weight.  Diuretics also act as a masking agent for some drugs, so the use of diuretics are prohibited; as is ephedrine, which can also be bought over the counter in diet pills, and which many bodybuilders have used to lose weight prior to competition.  Additionally, Mr. Speaker, alcohol is prohibited in certain sports; as are beta blockers, which has a legitimate use for heart and high blood pressure patients; even the appetite suppressant cathine is prohibited in certain concentrations.  So, Mr. Speaker, you see this educational function will be extremely critical.
Another ramification for the Bahamas, Sir, is the exposure of local athletes to the dangers of innocently ingesting traditional medicines which have been relied upon by Bahamians for as long as we can remember.  Bahamians have long experienced the health benefits of cerise, strong bark, Guamalame, love vine, five finger, along with inhalers and vapour rubs.  Some of these traditional medicines may possess properties which may find their way on to the list of banned substances, and it will be the duty of the Commission to ensure that requisite research is done, and that the athletes and coaches are advised accordingly.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill also appreciates that some athletes will have significant health issues, but will still be able to compete at a high level.   One example of this is asthma, where the recommended treatment often involves the use of inhalers which contain corticosteroids, the presence of which in the body may trigger a positive doping test.  The Bill provides athletes who may suffer from asthma, or who may suffer from other health problems which require them to take a prohibited medication, to apply to a committee composed of six medical practitioners for what is called a therapeutic use exemption to permit them to take the medication in circumstances where there is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method, and provided that it is not a substance which will significantly enhance their performance.
It is also important, Sir, for those who come into contact with athletes to understand their function, and to appreciate the obligations which this legislation places on them.    On this issue, the Lausanne Declaration provides:
“The Olympic movement anti doping code applies to all athletes, coaches, instructors, officials and to all medical and paramedical staff working with athletes or treating athletes participating in or training for sports competition organized within the framework of the Olympic movement”
Mr. Speaker, many of us will be aware of Trevor Graham, the Jamaican born coach who at one stage coached Sprint Capital U.S.A., a group of the top athletes in the world, including  Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, C.J. Hunter, Antonio Pettigrew, Justin Gatlin, Alvin Harrison, and Jerome Young, all of whom at one time or another has been  found to have used performance enhancing drugs.  Graham played a prominent role in the BALCO drug fiasco, where the world learnt a few years ago about the designer drug THG, which was being used by so many of the world’s prominent athletes.  The U.S. Anti Doping Agency has now slapped a lifetime ban on Graham.  Last year at Graham’s trial on issues related to alleged lies that he told about his relationship with a steroids dealer, the Telegraph reported that “five of Graham’s former athletes testified last week about life inside his camp.  They said the regime’s pressure to dope was allegedly so intense, it was almost impossible to stay clean.”
I gave the example of Trevor Graham, Sir for two reasons.  First, to make it clear the intense nature of the pressure which can be applied to athletes to use prohibited substances by persons who have authority over them.  Secondly, Sir, to underline the fact that the sporting community is very small and everyone knows everyone else.  Some of the athletes whose names I have mentioned have been to The Bahamas, and are also well known here.  In fact, Mr. Speaker, it has been said in some world sporting circles that these athletes would come to The Bahamas and other countries which did not have proper anti doping regimes in their off seasons to avoid drug testing in their own countries.  Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, Bahamian Coaches should be aware that the Bill deals with anti doping rules violations by Bahamian and international athletes as well as by other persons, which may include coaches and officials; and that the rules violations include “the administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or prohibited method to any athlete, or assisting, encouraging aiding abetting, (or) covering up any type of complicity involving an anti doping rules violation an any attempted violation.”  This is the long way, Sir, to say that the Bill contains provisions to sanction coaches, officials and other persons who may be complicit in breaking anti doping rules.
Mr. Speaker, the Commission will also be responsible for testing athletes, whether they are Bahamian citizens or not, and for notifying the athletes and government officials of the results.
Mr. Speaker, we all remember Ben Johnson’s blazing 100 metre win at the Seoul Olympic Games, followed by his disqualification, and the delivery of the gold medal to Carl Lewis.  Five years later it was revealed that Carl Lewis himself had failed a number of drug tests prior to those Olympic games, and that the results had been covered up by the United States Olympic Committee, along with the results of failed tests by over one hundred other American athletes.    So, Mr. Speaker, it is important for this Commission to be seen to be completely independent and totally unbiased.  That is why, Sir the Bill provides for he appointed members to have true security of tenure.  Members will hold office for three years, and a member can only be removed from office if he becomes of unsound mind, or permanently unable to perform his functions due to bad health, or is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, or if he engages in conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the Commission, or fails without reasonable excuse to carry out his statutory functions.
Mr. Speaker, one member of the B.O.A. felt that an appointment to the Anti Doping Commission should be reserved for the N.O.C. of The Bahamas; however, Sir, the entire idea behind the legislation is to ensure that independence and impartiality prevails, and in that respect the majority of the Executive of the B.O.A. agreed with the formula set out in the Bill, and I have assured them that this Minister will have regard for recommendations that they make to the Ministry.  To do otherwise would be to give the impression that the members of the Commission are in some way representatives of a particular sector, and therefore would be pushing the agenda of a specific organization.
Mr. Speaker, the third institution is a Disciplinary Panel, which will have alleged rules violations referred to it by the Commission.
The Disciplinary Panel will consist of an Attorney of ten years standing at the Bar; three qualified medical practitioners; and three persons who have been either sports administrators or athletes.
They will conduct disciplinary hearings, determining whether there has been a rules violation; and impose consequences for violations.  Time is critical in this entire process, Sir, both to the athlete who will have a cloud over his head and to the sporting community in general; hence the Disciplinary Panel is required by the Bill to commence a hearing within fourteen days after a matter has been referred to them, and to issue a written decision and reasons for that decision so that the entire adjudication process is completed within thirty days of the matter being referred to them.
Mr. Speaker, to ensure that there is complete fairness, an Appeals Tribunal will be constituted to hear appeals from the Disciplinary Panel.  This Tribunal will be chaired by a person who has served as a Justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, and will have as its members an Attorney with at least ten years experience, two persons with at least ten years experience in sports medicine; and a sports administrator with at least ten years experience in that field.
The Tribunal will hear appeals and impose consequences.  Moreover, Sir, it is appreciated that athletes who make a living from their sport will be impacted by the hearing of these appeals.  It is, therefore, critical for those who may be eventually exonerated that the appeals be expedited, as the filing of an appeal does not operate as a stay of the imposition of a penalty.  Accordingly, the Tribunal will be required to hear the evidence within twenty one days of the lodging of an appeal, and will also be required to give written reasons for their decisions within thirty days of the lodging of appeals.  Notwithstanding the speedy nature of the process which is built into the Bill, Sir, it is recognized that it may be expedient for international level athletes who are aggrieved by the decision of the Disciplinary Panel to appeal directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the Bill permits them to do so.

Mr. Speaker, this is a very comprehensive Bill.  It follows the Jamaican model, and will ensure that The Bahamas continues to be a respected leader in the international sporting world.  Full effectiveness of this Bill, Sir, will require the combined support of the athletic community,  including coaches, athletes and parents; they must all work hand in hand with our educators as well as the legal and medical community.  We will need Doctors and Lawyers to give of their time to support this important national initiative, and, Mr. Speaker, I am convinced that we will have their full co-operation, guidance and assistance.  We are all in this together, Sir, and we need all partners on board.
Mr. Speaker, on the issue of forging partnerships in sports, yesterday I was disappointed to read of two bodybuilders who apparently will no longer be going to the World games this year.  Most disappointing, Sir, was a quote by one of the bodybuilders, as reported in the Nassau Guardian”
“It is disappointing that the Ministry (of Youth,
Sports and Culture) does not consider bodybuilding
a sport…not everyone are track and field athletes.  I
hope that in the future we will get some support
from the ministry because bodybuilding is a very expensive sport.”
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry is very impressed with the leadership of the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.  Mr. Sumner is doing an excellent job, and I commend him for it.  The ministry will continue to work closely with this Federation.  For the information of members of the public who may have been misinformed, I should advise that in the fiscal year just completed, bodybuilding was given a grant of $25, 000.00 plus a special grant of $15,000.00.  That’s $40,000.00 that the Ministry provided last year, and we are committed to providing similar levels of funding from the current budget for this very vibrant sport.
Mr. Speaker, on a per capita basis The Bahamas has been recognized as the World’s premier sports power in athletics.  We can all appreciate, however, that the achievements of these outstanding Bahamians are even more significant than the sports world has ever imagined, and the reallocation of the medals that I spoke of earlier is an indication of this.  This Bill will assist us in bringing purity back to sports.  It is a good Bill, Sir.  It has the support of the sporting community, and I thank The Bahamas Olympic Association and other members of our sporting community  for their overwhelming support of this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, please permit me to also thank Permanent Secretary Nairn, D.P.S. Poitier, and Director of Sports Lundy as well as Mrs. Tina Roye of the Attorney General’s Office for ensuring that we were able to bring this very important legislation to Parliament today.
As I come close to the end of my contribution Mr. Speaker, I offer the sincere congratulations of my Ministry to all of our outstanding Bahamian teams that have competed or will compete internationally this summer…at the track and field World Youth Championships in Italy; our basketball teams in Argentina and the Virgin Islands, our baseball teams in Venezuela and Canada; our volleyball teams in Barbados, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Cuba; our swim team at C.C.C.A.N. and at the swimming World Championships in Rome; our young Judo practitioners at the Cadet World Championships in Hungary and our track and field World Championship team in Berlin.  In particular, Sir, I extend heartfelt congratulations to Mark Knowles for his wonderful triumph at Wimbledon this year.  Mark has indicated that he is looking forward to celebrating his victory as a Bahamian sporting landmark when he returns home at the end of the summer, Sir, and we eagerly anticipate his return.  I also offer the heartfelt thanks of my Ministry to those partners and supporters who make it possible for The Bahamas to be represented at these events, and in particular, Sir, I single out, once again Mr. Basil Neymour, who has through many contributions made such a dramatic difference in our sporting landscape.
Mr. Speaker, before closing I wish to refer to two very special sporting events which are scheduled to occur this weekend.
First, Sir, a special committee has organized a luncheon to celebrate the historic achievements of our Bahamian sporting hero, Thomas Augustus Robinson.  In 1958, Mr. Speaker, Tommy Robinson carried the banner of The Bahamas in Cardiff Wales and brought our country to international sporting prominence by his gold medal performance in the 200 metres, and his silver medal in the 100 metres.  Tommy is the father of Bahamian athletics.  We all have stood in awe of his achievements, and all of us have benefitted in some way by simply knowing Tommy.  Mr. Speaker, wherever one goes in the world of sports, Tommy Robinson is seen as a very special, legendary figure.  Mr. Speaker, despite all of Tommy’s undisputed greatness, Fred Sturrup summed it us so accurately recently that Tommy’s “humility always overshadowed his stardom”.  This is true of all of the great ones.  I put Tommy Robinson and Sir Durward Knowles as two of the leaders in that category, where their humility helps to define their greatness.  Tommy Robinson is a true Bahamian hero and role model, Sir, and I hope that honourable members will all take the time to show up for the luncheon honouring him on Sunday.  Here’s to you Tommy.
The second event scheduled for this weekend which I wish to mention, Sir, is the Peace on the Streets basketball game between the pastors and the politicians.  I want to commend my constituent, Mr. Carlos Reid, for organizing this event, which is geared towards creating awareness of positive values among our people.  Mr. Speaker, I’m looking forward to attending and participating in this wonderful event.
Mr. Speaker, I could not close without wishing a full recovery to A.S.P. Ricardo Taylor, who is due to be released from hospital in Miami today.
Mr. Speaker, as I move this historic Bill today I am cognizant that while we will have to remain vigilant because new drugs are being created in labs around the world even as we speak, this action that we take today will truly have positive global consequences, as it will make the world a better place for athletes everywhere.
On behalf of the very very special people of Carmichael, and on behalf of the athletes of The Bahamas, Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to move that this historic Bill be read a second time.