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Veteran driver John Flood: Manders should resign

The harness racing saga at Vesey Street took another twist yesterday with veteran driver John Flood calling for Driving Horse and Pony Club (DHPC) President Arnold Manders to resign.

Mr Manders has come under scrutiny for his part in a heated exchange earlier this month with a former stablemate that was dissolved before police arrived at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre racetrack.

Mr Flood, one of the most senior drivers in the sport, has accused the beleaguered DHPC boss of instigating the row with former colleague Vayne Waldron.

Mr Manders, he claimed, “crossed the line” and should resign and be punished for conduct he described as “inappropriate” for the leader of an organisation.

“I think he should step down and take some punishment for the way he acted in front of the spectators,” Mr Flood said. “It was totally uncalled for and unprofessional and he should not get away with it.

“He acted very terrible with all the cursing and everything and all the spectators heard it. I think disciplinary action should be taken against Arnold because he broke the rules.”

Mr Manders, who denies starting the row and has apologised to his members for his conduct, has declined to comment any further on the matter.

But in a recent interview he revealed that he contemplated resigning but was urged not to by his colleagues at a recent driver's meeting.

“I wanted to resign but the committee and members wouldn't let me,” he said. “It was voted unanimously that I stay on and the club is one hundred percent behind me.”

Mr Flood, meanwhile, has also accused DHPC officials of trying to “cover up” Mr Manders' conduct during the row and further accuses the association of having double standards when it comes to taking disciplinary action against its members.

“It's definitely a double standard and most of the members and drivers all know it's a click down there and it's always been there, it just didn't start,” he said. “I feel that the rules are the rules and should be adhered to. There shouldn't be rules for one person and different rules for others.

“The committee are the ones that cause the problems at the track because they don't stick to nothing they put in place and as far as I'm concerned and a lot of others are concerned they break their own rules.”

DHPC were unable to impose sanctions upon Mr Waldron because he is not a member of the club. The association has refered the matter to Bermuda Equestrian Federation who will determine what action to take.

A claim that Mr Waldron was taken into police custody and later released without being charged has yet to be confirmed by police.

The September 15 row involving Mr Manders and Mr Waldron is believed to have stemmed from tensions that had “built up over a period of time” between both parties who previously shared stables owned by Daniel Greenslade who is the brother of Mr Manders' wife, Robin.

Mr Waldron was employed at the Southampton based stables until he was allegedly fired by Mr Greenslade following the row with Mr Manders. He was also reportedly evicted from an apartment owned by his former employer.

Meanwhile, Police inquiries are ongoing into a separate incident that marred last Friday night's harness racing at Vesey Street.

Police were summoned to the Devonshire facility after an altercation broke out among rival drivers over a dispute.

Mr Flood, who has been involved in harness racing for decades, reckons the sport is heading in the wrong direction under the current regime.

“I have never seen in any other sport the nonsense that goes on there, and I've been involved for many years,” he said. “The sport is going downhill fast and we don't even have many ponies racing.

“Deep down inside people are getting tired of seeing what's going on and it isn't just me — it's everybody else.”

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Published September 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 25, 2013 at 12:41 am)

Veteran driver John Flood: Manders should resign

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