The Annual General Assembly of PanAm Sports, the Olympic Body responsible for the Pan American continent, was held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, December 15 and Wednesday December 16.
Elections were held for a new Board of Directors to manage the organization for the period 2020 to 2024.
Mr. Neven Ilic of Chile was re-elected President. Barbados falls within Group 2 of the organization and the following were elected to the Board from this Group:
Keith Joseph – St. Vincent and the Grenadines – Vice President
Erskine Simmons – Barbados – Board Member
Veda Victor-Bruno – Grenada – Board Member
Alphonso Bridgewater – St. Kitts and Nevis – Board Member
Mr. Simmons, the Secretary General of The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. was elected to serve on the Board for the first time. He is one of Barbados’ leading sports administrators. He became involved in soccer as a teenager, playing for various teams and was eventually elected to the Executive Board of the Barbados Football Association as Assistant Secretary in 1984. In 1986, he was elected an Executive Director of The Barbados Olympic Association Inc.
In 1992, he was appointed Assistant Secretary General of The Barbados Olympic Association Inc. and in 1996, was elevated to Secretary General at the General Assembly of that year. He still serves in that position and thus to date, has provided over a quarter century of unbroken service to the Olympic and sports fraternity of Barbados.
In 1994, he was the first Barbadian to participate in the International Olympic Academy’s Young Participants’ Session in Olympia, Greece, paving the way for many other of our young men and women to follow.
Observing the desire of many young Barbadians to become involved in the Olympic sport of gymnastics, he founded the Barbados Gymnastics Federation in 2002 and was the Inaugural President of that body. This initiative introduced the sport of gymnastics to Barbados.
During the period 1988 – 2004, he served on the Technical Commission of the Pan American Sports Organization, the Olympic continental body responsible for the Americas. He also served as a Board Member for the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) from 1998 – 2007.
In 2012, Erskine Simmons was named as a member of the Evaluation Commission for both the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2019 Pan American Games. This necessitated his evaluating bids from the cities of Queensland in Australia, Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Bolivar in Venezuela, Lima in Peru, Santiago in Chile and La Punta in Argentina.
Erskine Simmons has also served as both a Member and Deputy Chairman of the National Sports Council of Barbados. He is currently a member of the Arts and Sports Promotion Tribunal and a member of the National Anti-Doping Commission.
As part of the 2014 Barbados Independence Anniversary Awards, he was conferred with a national honour – the Barbados Service Medal (BSM).
It has been nearly 30 years since a Barbadian served on this Board. Mr. Simmons’ uncle, Michael Simmons, who with the late Louis Lynch, founded The Barbados Olympic Association Inc., was the first black man from the English-speaking Caribbean to be elected to the Panam Sports Board as Treasurer in 1975. He encouraged Erskine to become interested in the Olympic Movement which eventually led to his election to the Executive Board and eventually Secretary General of the BOA, a post which he holds to this day. Michael Simmons resigned from the PanAm Sports Board in 1993.
Mr. Erskine Simmons also serves on the PanAm Sports Technical Commission and is a member of the Ethics Commission of Centro Caribe Sports, formerly CACSO.