Winston Ireland Insists He’s Still Chess Federation President

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Mr. Ireland vows to ensure that what is done illegally is not done at all

 Informs Youth & Sports Minister about ‘illegal but failed attempt by group to remove’ him; announces the suspension of 10 members

It is now clear that the future development of chess under the Liberia Chess Federation is not going to go smoothly because Mr. Winston Ireland who was elected to lead the federation on January 6 and was recently removed by some members, has declared the decision against him as ‘unconstitutional and illegal.’

“I am still president of the Liberia Chess Federation,” Ireland told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday in Monrovia. “Because the twelve persons involved violated Articles 8, 10 (a, and b) and articles 11 and 13 willfully and knowingly without regard for the Liberia Chess Federation’s Constitution we have taken action against them.”

Ireland displayed an announcement on a Liberia Chess Federation letterhead that he was the only signatory and with copies to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Press Union of Liberia and the Ministry of Justice announcing the expulsion of ten members of the LCF.

According to the release, those he announced “suspended for time indefinite” are Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., Kemo Sambola, Jr., John Jallah Jr., Thomas Karyah and William Thompson, Christian Brownell, Richmond Yakpa, Clarence Buigo, Ivan Cholopray and Jacob Jallah.

Also in a letter dated March 22, and signed by Winston K. Ireland as president of the LCF, Omar Issa, vice president and Lewellyn E. Brent as treasure, and addressed to Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson, Ireland told the minister how unfortunate that “while we the legitimately elected officials have been engaged in lifting the Liberia Chess Federation up from the state it was in when we were elected, some members have refused to accept the fact that an election was held and new officials have been given the mandate to lead the institution.”

Ireland said, “Since we were elected on January 6, 2017, nothing has been turned over (to my administration by the previous leadership) except a USD account and an LD account both of which were in the negative.”

He explained the previous administration received USD20, 000 from the Liberian government and US$22,000 from sponsors (he did not name them), that is yet to be accounted for. He said the entire General Assembly members of the Liberia Chess Federation rejected the previous administration’s financial report without explanation on the amounts mentioned above.

“Since Kemo Sambola, the financial secretary of the previous administration was taking forever to present a proper and detailed financial report to the body, thereby further delaying the federation’s general elections, we decided to go ahead with the elections and give Mr. Sambola time to live up to his promise to deliver the report,” he said.

Then, he said about two weeks’ ago, media houses have been broadcasting and publishing false and misleading information to the general public damaging the image of the Liberia Chess Federation and the characters of its officials.

“On March 15,” he told Minister Wilson that Kemo Sambola, Thomas Karyah, John Jallah and William Thompson illegally obtained and used the federation’s letterhead to circulate false and misleading information about the federation and the leadership.

He quoted LCF’s article 8 concerning its general assembly that states that “The General Assembly of the LCF shall comprise of (i) all officials of the LCF,” in which in the recent case to remove him did not include the elected president, vice president, and treasurer.

Ireland said, quoting Article 1 3 on the powers and duties of officers that it is the president that has the power and responsibility to preside over the LCF’s Executive Council and the General Assembly.

“In the second instance, it is the vice president who presides over meetings in the absence of the president and the vice president is the second in line of succession in the event the president is incapacitated or removed from office by the General Assembly.

He told Minister Wilson that what transpired on March 15 with the gathering of some members to have a vote of no confidence in him is “unconstitutional and illegal.” Hence, he said “in our most recent LCF official meeting on Sunday, March 18, it was decided that those that organized that illegal program to unlawfully oust the legitimately elected official will be suspended for time indefinite pending a proper investigation of a board of inquiry that will be formed and constituted during the next General Assembly.

“We can assure you, Minister (Wilson) that no stone will be left unturned to get to the bottom of this evil move to stop the decentralization of chess in Liberia. We are taking chess throughout the country,” he said.

Though chess, according to a preamble to the LCF’s Constitution, “can be used to develop the human mind, enhance literacy and cognitive skills and promote community and national peace,” what is happening in the leadership does not portray the ideals in the preamble.

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