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Bermuda rolls with changes in anti-doping sport rules

Bermuda’s anti-doping in sport regime has been updated under a new Bill passed by the House of Assembly.

However, it prompted an argument about whether the island could have responded more quickly to revise its compliance.

The island has been deemed “a clean jurisdiction since becoming signatory” to anti-doping conventions, government backbencher Kim Swan told the House of Assembly, standing in for Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Sweeping changes to the global regulations required a repeal and replacement of the 2011 legislation.

The Bermuda Sport Anti-Doping Authority has had its operational activity and independence reviewed.

On Friday, Mr Swan told the House: “The anti-doping industry has experienced significant challenges to the integrity of its work in the last few years.

“The World Anti-Doping Authority is taking very strong and substantial steps to ensure all stakeholders operate in a compliant manner.”

Bermuda was put on notice at the end of 2022.

Mr Swan said work on the legislation had continued through the interruption of government services by the cyberattack in September.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has approved Bermuda’s new code.

Ben Smith, an Opposition MP and a national swimming coach, said the island’s athletes were often tested “at a higher level than other countries”.

He signalled “100 per cent” support from the One Bermuda Alliance.

Mr Smith noted that the island had to request an extension from WADA because it was unable to meet the initial deadline of three months.

That delay put Bermuda among only four countries on WADA’s list.

He asked what had led to the delay, saying “a major stumbling block with changing the legislation was the independence part”.

The parties sparred in the debate, with Progressive Labour Parties defending the work on the fresh legislation.

Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors, pointed out the difference between Bermuda being on a non-compliance list rather than a watch list.

She said the Bermuda Government had “delivered on time”.

Jarion Richardson, the Interim Leader of the Opposition, asked if anything could have been done differently — while Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, said international conventions were “not built for small countries but for big players”.

Mr Roban said there had been a “Herculean” effort.

Mr Swan responded saying that the three-month deadline “could not happen” with wholesale changes to legislation.

“Bermuda, we are rule makers and rule followers — end of story.”

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Published November 26, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated November 26, 2023 at 7:21 pm)

Bermuda rolls with changes in anti-doping sport rules

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