DeVent backs Cann's stand against drugs in sport
Government MP Ashfield DeVent has thrown his “full support” behind cricketer Lionel Cann for taking a personal stand against the use of illegal drugs at sports club venues.
DeVent has praised the St David's Islander for speaking out against a marijuana-smoking incident believed to have involved some of his team-mates that allegedly took place in the dressing room in front of his teenaged son during a cricket match at Lords earlier this month.
The Pembroke South East MP said he hopes others will follow Cann's lead.
“I'm not surprised that what he (Cann) said has happened because if the country is honest our two major sports cricket and football and cannabis go hand- in-hand. And it's not a new phenomena because it's been going on for 25-30 years,” DeVent said.
“Drugs are a major part of Bermuda's culture and a lot of clubs even have gang connections and all of that somehow comes from the sale and use of illegal drugs.
“I think Mr Cann has reached a point that he is prepared to take a stand and he has my full support. He's one of the senior sportsman in this country and he stood up and I'm hoping that more senior athletes will feel free to do the exact same thing.
“I'm hoping that the stance Lionel has taken encourages other people in the country to honestly open the dialogue about what it is and where do we want to go with respect to drugs period in the country and drugs in sport.”
DeVent has now called on clubs to be more proactive in the fight against illegal drug use in the community particularly in their own back yard.
“If you bend the rules for anybody then you are going to have problems,” he added. “The challenge now becomes how far are the clubs and the leadership within the clubs prepared to go?”
The Government MP believes the apathy shown by many athletes towards representing their country can be directly linked to the use of so-called recreational drugs such as marijuana.
“I'm sure that because of drug testing in many cases we've probably not been able to put our best team forward in many sports because of the use of drugs or cannabis in particular,” he said.
In response to Cann's claims, St David's County Cricket Club issued a statement reaffirming their “intolerance” towards the use of illegal drugs by any of their players on the club's premises and have vowed to deal with the matter.
Past club president Col. Eddie Lamb also doesn't condone the use of illegal drugs in the sporting arena and is confident St David's' management will take the “appropriate action”.
“Smoking weed in a changing room is just not acceptable if that's what took place and I can't imagine Lionel making this up,” he said. “If what Lionel is saying is true then there are some real serious issues at stake here.
“Clearly smoking weed in a dressing room is unacceptable under any circumstances and I totally understand Lionel's frustration because that's one of the reasons I stopped playing football years ago.
“I understand his stance and as a father he's obviously setting a model of behaviour for his son. It's very unfortunate, but I have faith that the president (Aaron Lugo) and his committee will look into it and take the appropriate action.
“I have every confidence that management will work this out because they are working hard to maintain certain standards at the club.”
Dear valued Members, Sponsors and Fans.
We feel compelled to react in response to the article published in the Sports section of the September 1st Royal Gazette.
We would first like to reaffirm our intolerance to the use of illicit and illegal drugs by our players or on our property.
We had been made aware of the incident Mr. Cann spoke of in the daily, however due to the limited amount of specific information and the unavailability of key cricket officers we were unable to deal with the matter fully at the time of question.
This was not an attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet or turn a blind eye to it. We are in fact still dealing with this matter.
We do not condone the use of illegal drugs on our property.
We also do not appreciate any persons making public statements regarding ongoing club business. The sensitivity of this matter has now been destroyed and the reputation of our club, management, players and sponsors called into question.
We do not restrict any player from making personal statements to the press regarding their sporting career and Mr. Cann was well within his right to do so. We have not asked Mr. Cann to resign, however, if this is his decision we wish him all the best.
We would again like to reassure all interested parties that this matter will be dealt with as originally planned and the management team of St. David's CCC will continue to govern this club with the utmost respect.
St. David's CCC