Submission from Mr Ray Carbery, President,
Turks & Caicos Islands Olympic Committee (Steering)
RECOGNITION OF THE TCI OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
BY THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
Most of you are unaware that for approximately
six years the TCI Olympic Committee has been working assiduously
to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
This quest has been an uphill struggle . . . to say the least.
Our problem originated at the 1992 Olympic Games,
held in Barcelona, when the IOC decided that at the next Olympic
Games, in 1996 in Atlanta, the Olympic Charter would be modified
and a new rule would be introduced: Dependencies or Territories
of Sovereign States would no longer be allowed IOC recognition
unless they became independent.
When the IOC members voted in 1996 in favour
of this new rule, they did so with the knowledge that some existing
and recognized National Olympic Committees (NOCs), specifically
those of Bermuda, Cayman Islands, BVI, Hong Kong, USVI, Guam,
American Samoa and Netherlands Antilles, were permitted to continue
to be part of the Olympic movement even though they represented
countries who were not independent.
Although no specific provision as been added
to the Olympic Charter to justify their continued acceptance by
the IOC, the NOCs of these countries, which have the same or similar
political status as the TCI, enjoy all the benefits of being a
member of the IOC while we continue to be denied this opportunity.
The TCIOC was formed when the TCI Sports Commission
requested that research about IOC membership be undertaken by
the Tennis Federation and that they subsequently reported to a
special meeting of all National Sports Associations. That meeting
was held in Grand Turk on 31 July 2001 under the auspices of the
Director of Sports and the Sports Commission. At that meeting
the TCIOC was established and a Board of Directors was appointed
as a steering committee to investigate how the recognition process
by the IOC.
Since the establishment of the TCIOC all of
our attempts to be heard by the IOC, the British Olympic Association
(BOA) and the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have
been unproductive to date.
The International Olympic Committee; in their
few replies to our many enquiries, has steadily maintained that
the new rule is written in stone and we just have to resign ourselves
to be without a recognized NOC until our country chooses to become
independent. We have contended repeatedly that if the rules have
been changed once they can obviously be changed again and that
there are mechanisms for modification of the Olympic Charter exist,
clearly spelled out in the Fundamental Principles which
is the backbone of the Olympic Charter. To illustrate our case
we provided a nine page Memorandum outlining how they could revisit
our case without opening the floodgates. The major question we
have . . . why should Bermuda, Cayman and BVI have a recognized
NOC and not the TCI? The IOC has refused to accept our challenges
basically disenfranchising our youth and our Territory.
The British Olympic Association; claims to be
satisfied with the status quo and chooses so far to maintain a
stiff position of neutrality and disinterest in regards to our
quest. They have refused to endorse our request for support and
have on numerous occasions failed to respond to our letters/emails
. . . and a face to face meeting, repeating their stance "they
cannot/will not help us". We find their attitude particularly
disturbing considering that their executive Olympic Members (Princess
Royal, Craig Reedie, Dame Mary Glen Haig), knew ahead of time
of the pending change to the Olympic Charter and voted for this
change. This disgraceful position has discriminated against our
Territory and more importantly our youth. The BOA have violated
our Constitution rights along with our Human rights, that is why
they have informed us that they can no longer correspond with
us on this matter!
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office;
was contacted when we ran aground with the IOC and the BOA and
requested their assistance in this matter . . . they replied sorry
"there is nothing we can do for you" basically informing
to get lost! We asked the FCO the following questions:
Did they know about the pending change
of the Olympic Charter in 1996?
If they did . . . did they notify
the Territories of this pending change? No . . . why not?
How could they (FCO) allow a Company
Limited by Guarantee registered in England & Wales registration
#1576093 have Constitutional voting rights over the future of
Territories long term goals. They had no clue until we brought
to their attention . . . why?
Did they (FCO) review the Olympic
Charter and see how this debacle came about. No . . . they did
not have a copy of the Charter until we brought to their attention.
Did they (FCO) seek assistance to
from the BOA to help change the imbalance of the other Overseas
Territories; Cayman. Bermuda & the BVI. No . . . why not?
The list goes on and on.
The FCO have failed their fiducial responsibility
and disenfranchised the Turks & Caicos Islands people and
their youth. Their inability to bring this debacle to a conclusion
has taken us six years to get them off first base . . . only to
inform us that we have sour grapes! Lord Triesman Head of the
Overseas Territories has not once responded to our letters/emails
he fails miserably heading up this important department and has
added to the discrimination, the human rights issues and our violation
of our constitutional rights of our people and should be help
responsibly for his non actions. There are others within the FCO
who have taken the same attitude . . ." let's not rock the
boat", hence another ongoing challenge for us. Our plight
has gone "UN-NOTICED" to the following people
(Tony Blair MP, Frazier Wilson FCO, Tom Watson MP, David Cameron
MP, Kate Blacker FCO, HRH Princess Royal, HM The Queen, Dr Denis
Mac Shane MP; plus a list of countries and worldwide organizations
We have secured legal advice from our QC in
London and know exactly where we stand as does the FCO, BOA and
the ICO. This is no idle threat from us . . . it is purely a passion
for our rights . . . for what we want for the youth of the TCI
. . . to stand on the world podium of sport with the rest of the
We do hope that you all see the merits of our
challenge, feel the unfairness of our predicament and support
our efforts. Thank you for your attention
Discrimination against people has no place
in the world of sport . . . including the Olympic Games. The Crusade
Recognition by the International Olympic Committee
("IOC") Of a National Olympic Committee ("NOC")
The Case of the Turks & Caicos Islands ("TCI")
The Olympic Charter, NOCS and Recognition of NOCS
by the IOC
1. The Olympic Charter governs the organization
and operation of the Olympic movement.
2. The criterion for belonging to the Olympic
movement is recognition by the IOC.
3. The Olympic movement includes the NOCS,
when recognized by the IOC.
4. In order to promote the Olympic movement
throughout the world, the IOC may recognize as NOCS organizations
the activity of which is linked to its role. Such organizations
shall have, where possible, the status of legal persons in their
countries. They must be established in accordance with the Olympic
Charter, and the IOC must approve their statutes.
5. The mission of the NOCS is to develop
and protect the Olympic movement in their respective countries
in accordance with the Olympic Charter. The NOCS have the exclusive
powers for representation of their respective countries at the
Olympic Games and at regional (eg Central American & Caribbean
Games) Continental (eg Pan Am Games) or world multi sports competitions
patronized by the IOC.
6. The IOC helps the NOCS fulfill their
mission through its various departments and "Olympic Solidarity"
(its funding arm for sports development).
7. The Olympic Charter, Rules 31 & 32
and the by-laws thereto, set out, define and govern the conditions
for recognition of an NOC, its mission, several roles and other
relevant matters. From these, the following important points emerge
in regard to the recognition of an NOC.
(a) The Technical requirements
(1) The applicant must submit to the IOC
for approval, two copies (in English or French) of its statutes.
These statutes must comply with the relevant sections of the Olympic
Charter. Note: an attorney drafting the statutes should be carefully
briefed; a precedent of the statutes in English of an existing
NOC, which have been revised up-to-date to comply with the recent
additions to the Charter, approved by the IOC, would be very helpful
to the draftsman. Use of a special type of company "not for
profit", as no doubt permitted/allowed for the TCI companies
Laws, (as in the Cayman Islands) will be suitable.
(2) The applicant NOC must obtain from each
International Federation ("IF") to which a member national
federation (of the applicant NOC) is affiliated, an attestation
certifying to the IOC that such national federation is a member
in good standing of the IF concerned.
There must be (at least) five such national federations
(members of the applicant NOC) that govern sports on the current
Olympic program: these include: Athletics, Football (soccer),
Basketball, Sailing, Tennis, Table Tennis, Swimming, Triathlon
& Softball those sports are National Associations active within
the TCI. The seven sports underlined are already members of their
(3) Each applicant NOC, whose statutes have
Will provide a copy thereof, to the IOC with
a formal request for recognition, and a list of members of its
Executiveall documents to be certified as true copies by
its President and Secretary General.
(b) The "Political" aspect
(1) In or about 1996, the IOC decided that
it would not recognize the NOC of any country or territory that
was not a sovereign independent state. However, existing NOCS
already recognized by the IOC (eg Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Hong
Kong the BVI, Guam, American Samoa, Netherlands Antilles, U S
Virgin Islands) whose territories are not sovereign independent
states, were permitted by the IOC to continue as NOCS "recognized"
and belonging to the Olympic Movement (a so-called "grand
(2) The Olympic Charter does not appear to
provide a direct and distinct prohibition against the recognition
of the NOC of an "non independent state" In Rule 4the
principal rule dealing with recognition by the IOC, and Rules
31 & 32 (+ bylaws) there is no prohibition against or distinction
of a non-independent state, for purposes of recognition. There
is merely an (added) short Rule 34(1) that states: "In the
Olympic Charter, the expression `country' means an independent
state recognized by the international community".
(3) The effect of Rule 34 (1) is its relationship
to Rule 4 (Recognition) and to Rule 31 & 32 (+ bylaws)(governing
NOCS). These latter rules and bylaws make mention several times
of the words "country" or "countries" in describing
the recognition, the role, duties and functions of NOCS. Thus,
the probable interpretation that the Olympic Charter does not
now empower the IOC to recognize the NOC of a state that is not
an "independent state".
(4) A question could well be asked here as
to the authority in the Olympic Charter for continued recognition
of non-independent territories (listed above) or authority as
to their roles, duties and functions. There does not appear to
be an actual ("grandfather") provision in the Charter
to authorize this continued recognition and function.
8. NOC OF TCIEFFECTS
In the event that the NOC of the TCI shall be
unable in the near future to obtain the essential "recognition"
by the IOC, the youth and sport of the TCI will undoubtedly suffer
significant and really unnecessary hardship, for reasons as follows:
(a) TCI will be prevented from joining the
Olympic Movement and thus taking its rightful place amongst the
family of sporting nations. This will have occurred principally
because TCI, along with other smaller countries in its region
(eg Bermuda, etc), is linked to the UK as a British Overseas Territory,
but one that is effectively self-governing.
(b) Virtually all the smaller islands, territories
and countries of the PAN AM or Caribbean Basin region benefit
from IOC recognition of their NOCS. Since many have the same exact
political status as the TCI, the absence of TCI is a truly significant
(c) The present, and growing population of
TCI is of size approximate to the BVI, San Marino, the Cook Islands
and Nauru (smaller) and perhaps others, with Liechtenstein, Monaco,
Cayman Islands and others, only slightly larger. Those territories
or countries all have recognized NOCS.
(d) TCI is in need of development aid, advice
and funds. However, non-recognition by the IOC will prevent its
NOC from receiving the now-significant funding from Olympic Solidarity.
This has been increased recently by the IOC and is perhaps worth
near to USD $100,000 per annum for coaching, development projects,
administration expenses, and scholarships (etc)-all really needed
(e) Non-recognition by the IOC, will also
exclude TCI from all the excellent educational and cultural aspects
of the Olympic Movement. TCI will also be unable to benefit from
a much-needed IOC course for sports administration.
(f) Non-recognition will have the effect
that the NOC of TCI will not have the right to attend meetings
of PASO, CACSO, ANOC and of NOCS meeting with the Executive of
the IOC. It will be cut off from the information, advice and fellowship
to be gained at all such assemblies of sports nations.
(g) TCI will suffer from the unfortunate
inconsistency (however unintentional) of the IOC recognizing the
NOCS of some non-independent states but not the NOC of TCI.
(h) There is no dispute over sovereignty
or ownership of TCI, as between any other countries, as was apparently
the case with certain other smaller countries or territoriessuch
disputes the Olympic Movement may have wished to avoid.
(i) The athletes of TCI and other British
Overseas Territories compete for their own country and not for
Britain. The case of some French Islands such as Martinique and
Guadeloupe is quite different, as they are apparently part of
France itself, and can compete for it.
(j) Non-recognition of the TCINOC will in
effect, "disenfranchise" the youth of TCI from most
benefits of, and participation in world sport. It will be very
difficult to explain to them why this is so. Choosing just one
of our good neighbors for comparison purposes: In what are we
different from British Virgin Islands?
(k) With respect, it is not the place or
purpose of the IOC or the Olympic Movement to formulate or influence
the political system of a country or territory. Certainly the
IOC should not wish or endeavor to tell a country "when you
become fully independent we will accept you into the Olympic Family"
Such would be completely extraneous to the fundamental principles
(l) It is understood that a significant reason
behind the IOC's decision that, in future, it will only recognize
the NOC of an "Independent State", is its desire to
avoid any involvement in any political or other conflict that
might arise when a province or a section of a larger country,
seeks to "breakaway" and/or to establish its own borders
and/or identity (and hence might also seek to have its own NOC
recognized by the IOC.)
This reasoning should not be applied against
the recognition of the TCI NOC. The case of the TCI is quiet different,
fundamentally so! There is no conflict or dispute, political or
otherwise, with any country; there is no "breaking away"
from a larger country.
Similar to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the
BVI, all within the same Pan American region, TCI have been a
separate territory by identity, world known, with its own self-government,
its own passport issued to its citizens, its own flag, its own
postage stamps, and moreover, it does not share any boundaries
with any country, nor does it lie within any larger Country-its
chain of islands are separated by sea from all the nearest other
Being a small territory, like the other three
islands named above, TCI peacefully and properly elects to remain
within the "British Family", and hence it is termed
as a "British Overseas Territory".
TCI is a member of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
TCI athletes have competed under its own flag and in their own
colors and uniforms in the CARIFTA Games (since 1978) and in the
Commonwealth Games (since 1978). TCI has its own national Football
team and is a member of CONCACAF and FIFA since 1998.
In addition to the NOCS of Bermuda, the Cayman
Islands and the BVI, the NOCS of the (American) Virgin Islands,
Guam, American Samoa, Hong Kong and the Netherlands Antilles-none
of which are known to be "Independent States", are nevertheless
"recognized" by the IOC. Surely the case in favor of
the "recognition" of the TCINOC would be just as fair
and sensible, as for those eight NOCS!
Since the Second World War almost all of the
former colonial countries have now become independent and the
IOC has already recognized their respective NOCS. The few existing
British Overseas Territories, including TCI, are a small exception;
of these three of the main ones are already recognized. Recognizing
the NOC of TCI will hardly open a "floodgate" of applications
for recognition. The few other very small dependent territories
would find it difficult or impossible to meet the requirements
of entry to international sport.
It is highly recommend that the IOC, as part
of its new and revised approach to world sport, in this new millennium,
should seriously consider an appropriate amendment (probably slight)
to the provision in the Olympic Charter relating to the recognition
of NOCS, especially those of non-independent territories or countries.
Such amendment should enable the IOC, in its discretion, to recognize
an NOC in a case such as that of TCI provided of course, that
all the technical requirements have been complied with.
It would appear to be necessary, (or, be good
sense) to make a slight amendment to the Olympic Charter. This
amendment could be made in order to duly authorize the continued
recognition by the IOC of several territories that are non Independent
States, but whose NOCS were recognized prior to 1996. If, making
this amendment, it would be timely, and it is suggested, appropriate,
to give also to IOC discretion, in future, in the matter of the
recognition of a NOC of a non-independent state.
It is respectfully suggested that the IOC should
consider an added provision-perhaps to Rule 4(1) of the Olympic
Charter, stating (in effect) that "In the case of the NOC
of a territory or country that is not a country as defined by
Rule 34, the IOC may nevertheless, in its sole discretion based
upon the circumstances of each case, recognize the NOC of such
territory or country that is not an independent state-and the
IOC may continue the recognition already granted to the NOC of
such a territory or country".
If this recommendation shall be accepted (as
a small amendment to the Olympic Charter) and then appropriately
approved by an annual Session of the IOC, then the Olympic Movement
will indeed have continued to fulfill one of its fundamental principals:
"The goal of Olympism is to place EVERWHERE
sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with
a view to encouraging the establishment of a peaceful society
concerned with the preservation of human dignity . . ."
Development of Sport in the Turks & Caicos
Islands Becoming a Member of the Olympic Family
Recognition by the IOC
The Turks & Caicos Islands ("TCI")
are certainly developing, so is their sport. More facilities are
planned, with a Football Stadium being built.
Seven National Associations of Olympic sports,
Athletics, Football, Basketball, Softball, Swimming, Tennis and
Triathlon are constituted, active and members of their International
Federations. Other active Olympic sports associations are proceeding
towards membership of their IF's: Sailing and Table Tennis. TCI
has competed at the Carifta and the Commonwealth Games for years.
Our National Football team has competed internationally in the
region for the past few years.
TCI now has a National Olympic Committee ("NOC")The
first step is to apply for and obtain RECOGNITION by the International
Olympic Committee ("IOC")this recognition being
the criterion for belonging to the Olympic Movement, from which
many benefits will ensue.
The "Technical" requirements for recognition
by the IOC can be satisfied by TCI. The Charter of its NOC is
being prepared carefully to comply with the Olympic Charter. BUT
there stands in the way a (most unfortunate) "political"
requirement: Circa 1996, the allimportant Olympic Charter
was amended affecting the matter of "recognition" of
NOC'sA "Country" is now defined as: " An
Independent State recognized by the International Community".
By choice, TCI remains a "British Overseas
Territory". Though self-administrating it is not an "independent
Prior to 1996, the IOC recognizedand
indeed continues to recognizethe NOCS of some territories
that are not "independent states"eg: Bermuda,
BVI, Cayman Islands (similar territories to TCI), also American
Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Guamand, Hong Kong and the Netherlands
The principal reason, (we are reliably informed)
for the ban on non-independent countries seeking "recognition"
by the IOC, was the IOC's wish to avoid involvement in political
disputes between an existing country and an aspiring "breakaway"
province (eg Quebec, Basques, etc)The case and circumstances
of TCI, surely are in no way related thereto:A separate
territory, with its own identity and administration it does not
seek to "breakaway".
Belonging to the Olympic Movement secures many
essential benefits, especially to a developing territory:
(i) Financial assistancealmost US
$75,000 or more per annum from Olympic Solidarity/IOC and other
games sources for coaching and development purposes;
(ii) Games"Recognized" NOCS
only can enter teams to the Pan American, Central American &
Caribbean and Olympic Games, each held every four years;
(iii) Meeting attendanceImportant
international organizations: ANOC, PASO, CACSO are restricted
usually to representatives of "recognized" NOCSsignificant
information, advice and fellowship to be gained at these regular
(iv) Educational & culturalvaluable
aspects of the Olympic Movement;
(v) National pridein taking ones place
within the Family of Sports Nations; and
(vi) Most important, the resulting aspiration
of the youth to improve their standards towards the Olympic games
To prevent the "recognition" by the
IOC of the NOC of TCI would be harsh and unnecessary, and, indeed
TCI's growing population is the same or larger
than the BVI, San Marino, Cook Islands, Nauru, and Monaco, and
is almost the size of othersall with NOCS presently recognized
by the IOC.
Desired solutionTo persuade the IOC to
consider, and hopefully to grant recognition of the NOC of TCI.
If the IOC's response is favorable, it would
appear that it might be necessary for the IOC to make a small
amendment to the relevant section of the Olympic Charter, whereby
the IOC would be given a discretion in the matter of "recognition"
of the NOC of a non- "independent state", depending
on the circumstances of each case.
This amendment would have the further advantages
of giving the IOC the constitutional authority to:
(i) Continue to recognize the NOCS of the
non Sovereign States that were previously recognized.
(ii) Use its discretion to guard against
excessive or insignificant attempts to seek recognition by the
NOCS of non Sovereign States.
The Olympic Charter tells us, "The goal
of Olympism is to place EVERYWHERE sport at the service of the
harmonious development of man . . ." It is our respectful
hope and prayer that the IOC will assist us, to enable us to effectively
place sport at the service of the development of the youth of
the Turks & Caicos Islands.
4 September 2007