“They shoot riders, don’t they?” Where are the disciplinary and conduct proceedings of the Barbados Equestrian Association? Many Bajans feel top rider Natya Soodeen has been marginalised in petty in-house squabbles!
Just the other night at Lion Castle, Tourism Minister Richard Sealy was glowing and preening about Barbados as a Sports Tourism destination. He lauded not only the very 2nd Woz Segway Polo Championships he attended, where Barbados won for the second straight year, but this country hosting the ICC Twenty20 cricket Finals at Kensington Oval and the fact that the 54th Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships will be hosted at Royal Westmoreland among other activities to come…
So imagine how Barbados will appear to be nothing less than a rodeo clown for Equestrian events, as a protest for a decision which many consider oddly arrived at, this situation which developed on Facebook and spread to Barbados Free Press and even other venues has not been touched by mainstream media.
Despite the lack of Dead Tree media’s attention, as usual, Bajan Reporter will forge the way ahead and seek to make sense of an issue which is getting whipped by many factions. The online protest states as follows;-
The Barbados Equestrian Association has issued a Letter of Suspension to Natya Soodeen, the very first rider to represent Barbados internationally in 1995. Soodeen went to the Pan American games in Argentina and funded this trip herself to carry the Barbados flag.
Natya has been showjumping in Germany and other parts of Europe for the past 5 years training to hopefully compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
She was until recently trying to qualify to represent Barbados at the up-coming CAC Games. The BEA kept changing the rules on Natya, and without any explantion sent a notice to all that Soodeen had not qualified. Soodeen and her managers had thought she HAD met all BEA criteria and would qualify.
All of Natya’s results submitted to the BEA were received from the official show office of each show (German National Shows) and printed with the German Federation stamp endorsing these results.
On Tuesday 8th 2010, a newspaper writer contacted Nicole Tull, president of the BEA to confirm whether Soodeen was in fact disqualified from representing Barbados in the upcoming CAC Games. Tull did not wish to comment and that night Soodeen was sent a letter suspending Natya from competing for Barbados for the next 6 months due to discrepancies’ with her results submitted to the BEA.
Soodeen has never been questioned by the BEA about these discrepancies’ at any given time before being suspended. Nor did the BEA tell her what the disrepancies were. The BEA simply charged and convicted their own rider without trial.
Unlike most riders here in Barbados who show as a ‘serious hobby‘, this is Soodeen’s FULL TIME JOB. This is all that Natya Soodeen does on a day to day basis and this is her only source of income.
So without any explanation, Soodeen’s own national association has stopped her from competing internationally.
What seemed rather odd was when this online protest was initiated, the BEA website was not running – not even caches of previous versions of the site, there are some Web Designers we spoke with who wonder if the was having its contents altered to reflect a given position (Like what happened with certain music contests which had NO rules, until this website questioned their integrity and their sites went down for a few days then re-appeared with Criteria all of a sudden).
My contention is they should have placed a new development on their website – they should have issued a Statement on the matter as Headline urgency in order to quell the ugly attention this situation is drawing. I am not sure if they changed their site, since they do list their constitution. Here it is as a downloadable PDF file.
Do you see what I first noticed about their document? There is nothing on Conduct nor Discipline! Where is redress for answering allegations? There are some folk who would equate such stringent methods to the equivalent of what used to be referred to as a Drumhead. There are some further who even cause for suspension and learned there are procedures for such .
This Word file, as you see, was sent via e-mail and had no signature which brings its validity under scrutiny, when I send a letter officially (like Media Accreditation or Fund Raising) I usually have to insert a facsimile of my signature so as to indicate the veracity of my correspondence…
If there is a(strong word to use in and of itself) should it not be outlined so an appropriate defence can be communicated to the relevant disciplinary board? Oh wait, nothing in the BEA constitution about discipline nor conduct;-
From: nicole tull
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 02:54:36 -0700 (PDT)
To: Natya Soodeen; ********
Subject: Suspension Letter
Dear Ms. Soodeen
Please see attached document.
Dr.Nicole Tull B.Sc. D.V.M.
President, Barbados Equestrian Association
Work (246) *******
Mobile (246) *******
Another odd factor in this convoluted equation – If Natya Soodeen is suspended then how is she still allowed to be jumping in Germany and continue to be sending back results? Suspension means NO activity!
So where does the embarrassment to Barbados factor in? Well an e-mail was sent to the FEI who is the final arbiter in cases like this, and they found the whole situation odd and they in turn have referred the matter to their lawyers as they are surprised their adjudication methods have come into question;-
From: John Roche
Sent: Friday, 11 June 2010 02:27 AM
To: Sandy Turf Stables; FEI Otto Becker
Cc: Natya Soodeen; *********
Subject: RE: Natya Soodeen
Dear Mrs Sampson,
As this is not a sport issue but more of a legal issue I am passing a copy of this e-mail to the FEI Legal Department for consideration.
From: Sandy Turf Stables
Sent: mercredi 9 juin 2010 22:58
To: FEI Otto Becker; John Roche
Cc: Natya Soodeen; *********
Subject: Natya Soodeen
Dear Mr. Roche and Mr. Becker,
Today we have received a letter from The Barbados Equestrian Association (BEA) suspending Natya Soodeen from representing Barbados for the next six (6) months (letter attached).
Never has a rider been so victimized as is here. Natya has sent in all of her results as requested and has always made herself available for discussion with the BEA.
I also attached a copy of the present BEA Constitution as I cannot see that what they are doing is correct or fair.
Natya’s email is cc’ d here as well as her sister, Neysha Soodeen and her other manager, Fiona Kinch.
We hope that we can discuss this further with you as we are in dire need of assistance.
PP Natya Soodeen
Where does this leave Barbados but in a steaming horse-pattie? At BFP particular factions have wanted to imply Natya is privileged, and has not been so outstanding – if she was as talentless as hinted at then why did Marcus Ehning, the #1 equestrian in the planet, agree to train and tutor her? Her money is drawn mostly through fees won in various contests.
What is also intriguing to note is the suspension came after a Freelance Journalist was seeking to verify if Natya was indeed in suspension, could a Committee member of the BEA be enraged at what, up to that point, was a quiet family skirmish and now bubbling into a public outcry via an unofficial Leak?
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2010 21:23:02 +0000
To: nicole tull <*********.com>
Subject: Re: Natya Soodeen/CAC Games
As my deadline looms, I was wondering if I was still looking forward to your comment for this evening…
If not, I could (although I’d prefer not to) run without and say I failed to get a comment from you in time. Should I hold on longer? No pressure, but please understand that I must tell my editor something very soon.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device from LIME.
From: nicole tull <*********>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2010 13:33:52 -0700 (PDT)
To: **** ****** <******@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Natya Soodeen/CAC Games
Hi Ms. ******
No Problem. I will get back to you shortly. Is it the Nation or the Advocate that you said you worked for?
Dr. Nicole Tull
Work (246) ***-****
Mobile (246) ***-****
From: ***** ***** <*******@gmail.com>
Sent: Tue, June 8, 2010 4:24:35 PM
Subject: Natya Soodeen/CAC Games
Thanks for speaking with me earlier. My questions are listed below:
We received information that Miss Natya Soodeen did not qualify to represent Barbados at the CAC Games. Is this correct?
Based on the criteria presented by the BEA and her results, would you please explain what criteria she did not meet?
Can you shed some light on this situation?
Thank you for your time. I need an answer shortly as I’m trying to make deadline.
If you need to, you can reach me by phone on the numbers below, and I will be checking email constantly.
What difference does it make if you come from the Advocate or Starcom or wherever? Since any media attention in this way for this crisis is not ideal under any circumstances! Needless to say, the freelancer never received any reply, much like when I sought an answer from Secretary Naomi Roachford-Holder (only after I both texted and voice-mailed) who promised a statement is forthcoming. Many organisations prefer to hold back on a reply rather than take the issue head on, they feel inactivity will lead the public to forget the crisis – WRONG!
If those posing queries as to what is wrong continue to be PROactive, unlike the entity who is refusing even to be REactive, then that company or concern will be shown for their INactivity, which is not to the advantage of most company’s desires to Build, Encourage & Advance, eh?
If the BEA’s own criteria for CAC Qualification is based on FEI rules, click here for FEI rules on Jumping, which includes ‘Code Of Conduct’, then why are they saying one thing and doing another? When you click on this link, it shows how England has a rulebook alone for Equestrian disciplinary matters.
Now did Natya have a show jump and course set forth by May 31? Let’s examine what she had to send back here as she’s based in Germany…
This is a cursory examination of initial findings as provided by a source who obviously has their own agenda, yet when taken into its own light, it shows there are massive gaps in what led to the suspension of Natya Soodeen – no disciplinary hearing; no listing of discrepancies; the BEA appearing to conflict with their own terms of CAC qualification and placing themselves at odds with the very arbiter they are supposed to adhere to…
When overseas sporting enthusiasts learn of this burr under the saddle of Barbadian equestrian history, can you blame them if they feel Barbados is just horsing around with Qualifiers and not worthy of future consideration for better events?