CIBA Ltd - Press Release

April 27th, 2021

It is not standard operating procedure for the Cayman Islands Boxing Association Ltd (CIBA) to discuss its matters in the public domain. However, due to misinformation circulating regarding recent incidents, CIBA takes this opportunity to clarify a few matters.

CIBA Ltd, the current entity charged with governance of amateur boxing within the Cayman Islands was established in July 2017. It was one of the first registered non-profit associations within the Islands. As a non-profit entity, our constitutional documentation dictates that CIBA’s membership (i.e. those persons with any interest in the governance of amateur boxing within these Islands who become a registered member by following the process in place) are the equivalent to its shareholders. CIBA’s constitution further states that no dividends or other financial payments can be made to the membership. In other words, that as a registered charity, all of CIBA’s proceeds should be channelled to its charitable purpose, which is the promotion of amateur youth boxing and the development of young Caymanians.

Like any properly governed sports association, CIBA’s membership elects a Board of Directors, who make decisions on behalf of the association. CIBA’s current Board of Directors comprise a diverse background of people who bring different expertise to the oversight of CIBA’s operations. For clarity, this includes five Caymanians and three ex-pats. Each director is a volunteer and none of these directors receive any remuneration from CIBA for the services that they provide in attending meetings, making decisions, hosting events, officiating, coaching or performing administrative tasks etc.

CIBA receives funding in the form of a grant from the Cayman Islands Government, private sponsorships and gym memberships. The vast majority of this funding is applied to CIBA’s employee liabilities. CIBA currently has five members of staff, who are all Caymanian. These include one Operations Manager and four coaches. The majority of CIBA’s funding received subsidises salaries and training for coaches in addition to equipment and upkeep of the training facility. For example, in the last two years, CIBA has certified five young Caymanians as national level coaches and paid for two to earn international personal training qualifications. CIBA has invested in updating the boxing gymnasium premises, refurbishing equipment and purchasing new equipment. In non-covid times CIBA also pays for training camps, travel and transport for boxers to attend international competitions or to host competitions and events locally. In order to evidence and validate the legitimate use of CIBA’s funds, CIBA’s financial statements are audited on an annual basis and submitted to our key stakeholders which include our members, the Cayman Islands Government and the non-profit organisations registry.

The D. Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gymnasium is a wholly owned Government facility overseen by the Cayman Islands Department of Sports. CIBA utilises the facility in order to achieve its objectives.

CIBA’s objectives are clear. They include the positive promotion of the sport of amateur boxing within our communities, providing development opportunities for young athletes and coaches, providing behavioural intervention programmes for at-risk youth and afterschool programmes. In addition to our youth services, we also offer adult fitness classes – a fee-based service from which any profits generated feed directly back into CIBA’s charitable objectives listed above. CIBA does not charge boxers, former boxers, behavioural intervention youths or YMCA youth programmes. It only charges for adult fitness membership, personal training sessions and certain afterschool services (CIBA also has in place a scheme to waive memberships for those persons who might not be able to afford services upon satisfaction of specified criteria). Currently, CIBA has almost 500 registered gym members which include:

  • 18 persons regularly participating in high level boxing training at youth and elite levels (3 are female and 14 are Caymanian). Only Caymanians are entitled to represent Cayman at high level international competition).
  • 136 school and youth participants
  • 48 members from other sports organisations who all collaborate with CIBA
  • 287 fitness members

We are currently offering bespoke behavioural intervention programmes for at risk children in Theoline L. McCoy Primary School, and provided holiday camps for the charity Acts of Random Kindness, Frances Bodden Children’s Home, and Cornerstone.

We are also working to expand our operations to Cayman Brac. Following outreach sessions late in 2020, we are planning to hold another event in Cayman Brac in July 2021.

CIBA’s governance and objectives are clear and its operations are transparent and fully accountable. As a national sports organisation operating from Government premises, CIBA is bound by the National Framework for Sports and its related child protection policies. As such, the welfare of any young person within our programmes or on the premises, is paramount. CIBA’s values include treating everyone with respect, instilling discipline and accountability for behaviour. CIBA endeavours at all times to provide a safe and positive environment for all young people. CIBA has a disciplinary policy in place and any person who violates said policy will be treated accordingly.

In his capacity as an esteemed sports person for the Island, Charles Whittaker, in addition to any former boxer who has competed at a high level, is permitted free access to the premises as a mark of respect for their achievements. However, such persons are expected to abide by the same rules of respect and behaviour as anybody else. Being a person of status does not exempt any person from the expected standards of behaviour. In fact, it demands a higher level of accountability because one should act as a role model for future generations of Caymanians and impressionable young people utilising the facilities. Mr Whittaker has been warned about his behaviour in the boxing gym on several occasions in the past few years.

In July 2019, Mr Whittaker initiated an aggressive verbal altercation with a visiting official who was conducting a training course for Caymanian officials. In June 2020, when government premises were closed for lock-down, Mr Whittaker threatened to break the door down as he demanded access to the facility. In March 2021, there was another incident involving Mr Whittaker using foul language, racial slurs and inappropriate behaviour in the gymnasium during after-school hours.

CIBA’s membership and waiver form notes that: CIBA prides itself on its inclusivity and non-intimidating atmosphere, therefore any member using language or behaviour offensive to other members or staff could be asked to leave the premises and ultimately have their membership terminated. CIBA’s objection is to persons using CIBA’s facilities in a manner not within the established code of conduct making other gym users feel disrespected, intimidated, victimised or unsafe and/or generating a negative atmosphere.

CIBA was aware that Mr Whittaker had recently made inaccurate negative comments and racial slurs on social media concerning CIBA. CIBA respects Mr Whittaker’s right to express his opinions and has a procedure in place whereby any concerns can be addressed via legitimate channels.

On Monday 26 April 2021,  Mr Whittaker engaged in similar derogatory behaviour within earshot of young boxers. Therefore staff members approached Mr Whittaker and requested that he behave in a respectful manner when using the facilities and if he had a complaint then he could utilise the appropriate channels. Mr Whittaker responded in an extremely aggressive and threatening manner against a female member of staff using highly inappropriate language and behaviour in front of young boxers.

Following this incident, CIBA acted within the established protocols and reported this incident immediately to the Department and Ministry of Sports. It was agreed between CIBA and the Department of Sports that Mr Whittaker would be excluded from use of the premises and held accountable for his actions. The Department of Sports advised CIBA to report the matter to the RCIPS and a report was filed at lunchtime on Tuesday 27 April 2021.

At 3:50pm, 27 April 2021 during our afterschool training time, when children were using the premises, Mr Whittaker returned to the gym. In an abundance of caution the children in our care were moved to train outside. Mr Whittaker began behaving inappropriately. As was documented he verbally abused staff members , damaged government property and acted in a menacing fashion, The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service arrived at the scene within 25 minutes. In the interval Mr Whittaker managed to gain access to the premises and he pushed a 19-year-old female member of staff.

At that point in the series of events which had been ongoing for a significant period of time, the videos on social media demonstrate a member of CIBA staff also responding to the altercation in a verbally aggressive and derogatory manner. The CIBA staff member has apologised for losing her temper and responding in an aggressive manner and CIBA has taken the appropriate steps with regard her conduct.

CIBA cannot and will not, tolerate behaviour like this from any national athlete, former national athlete, staff member of gym member. It can and it has used its disciplinary policy to hold persons accountable for their actions and set an example for the young people of this country to follow.

CIBA provides a safe and nurturing environment for the benefit of all users of the gym and will continue to do so under the arrangement with the Department of Sports. To this end we have arranged for counselling for any children who witnessed this unfortunate incident.

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