Guyana Football Federation [GFF] President Wayne Forde says that a decision is forthcoming on the report by the Commission of Inquiry [COI] into the allegations of sexual harassment of female referees.
Speaking to reporters yesterday following the launch of the Futsal Referees Workshop at the National Racquet Centre, Forde said, “I can’t comment with any depth into it. The executive committee would have met on the 1st [December], we would have had a preliminary review of the report. There is another layer of engagement that will take place with members of the COI and I must put into context, final decisions on this matter will have dramatic impact on the lives of many.”
According to Forde, “It may have already had an impact on those that were victims to this situation that we now learn took place. But we have to be very careful because ultimately when we make the decision we have to be prepared for whatever consequences so we have to ensure we consult with people that can guide the decision making process. If we have questions we have to make sure we give the COI the opportunity to answer those questions and the executive committee will have to make a decision. Decisions need to be made but we have to be well informed, well advised before those decisions are taken. We are moving to resolve this as swiftly as possible, I think a matter of days but we are being extremely cautious and careful with the entire process.”
Forde further added, “It took some time but as you probably know anything that can change one’s life forever needs to be handled with some level of care and as delicate as this situation has going on.”
The report of the COI has recommended the removal of Head of the Referees Department Stanley Lancaster and Referee Assessor Roy MacArthur from their respective posts. This was revealed by a source close to the COI.
According to the source, “The primary recommendation is the removal of GFF Head of Referees Department Stanley Lancaster and Referee Assessor Roy MacArthur. Many of the testimonies and stories received by the committee did not sound scripted or rehearsed, they felt genuine. The recommendations for their removal is based on the belief and credibility that incidents occurred. Although there was no physical evidence, many of the individuals that testified had different experiences and stories.”
The inquiry, which commenced in March 2018, followed allegations of sexual harassment by several female referees against senior members of the Referees fraternity.
Quizzed if the composition of the all-female committee could have possibly led to an unfair inquiry, Forde declared, “I think you will always have opinion on the composition of any board. I think we have to trust the professionalism of the people at times and we think that the individuals that conducted the COI are professionals.”
He further said, “We think they did a professional job, we think they were objective in their evaluations and in their taking of statements and testimonies and we believe that the report that they would have submitted is a good, solid and balanced report. Of course it is our responsibility to ask questions where we might see areas that we need clarity but the final decision is with the executive committee.”