March 30, 2004

To: Mr. Evan Gumbs (President AACA), Ms. Patricia Hodge (Secretary AACA), Letter to the Editor: The Anguillian and The Daily Herald, Mr. Victor Bank (Minister of Sports), the Anguilla Tourist Board, and Mimi Gratton (Executive Director Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association)
Re: March 28th 2004 John T Memorial Cycling Race

To Whom It May Concern:
We recently had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful island over the past weekend to participate in the John T. Memorial Race. We very much enjoyed the hospitality of the Anguillians in welcoming the competitive cyclists. Unfortunately, the end of our journey was marred by significant and unjust treatment. I am enclosing the following detailed summary of events to lodge an official complaint for the way in which the female participants were treated during the John T. Memorial Road Race held on March 28th 2004.
The race was initially advertised as an 85 mile road race with a men’s and women’s division. Our team captain from St. Kitts (Ms. Shannon Fitzgerald) had subsequent direct conversations with Mr. Evan Gumbs (President AACA) who amended the race distance to 75 miles but clearly confirmed the presence of a men’s as well as women’s division for the race. The stated prize money for the race winners was: “1st prize US$675.00, 2nd prize US$525.00, 3rd prize US$425.00, 4th prize US$325.00, 5th prize US$225.00, 6th to 10th US$85.00, and 11th to 20th US$50.00”. It was on the basis of the potential to win prize money to offset traveling costs that the female team from St. Kitts decided to enter the John T Memorial Road Race.
On Saturday evening March 27th, 2004 the race organizer giving the preliminary orientation to cyclists stated that the “women’s course” had been changed to encompass “two laps” instead of “three” laps. The Vice-President of the AACA added that if the women elected to complete 3 laps (as the race distance had been previously advertised at) then their “placement” for the purposes of determining the female winner would be dependent upon their position in the race at the completion of two laps. After additional questioning, the Vice President again confirmed that the results (and prizes) for the women’s race would be determined on the basis of the position at the end of the second lap. At the time of the race start there were 3 official entries in the women’s division, of these 3 entries, only two females finished.
At the completion of the race on Sunday March 28th, Shannon Fitzgerald took first place and Wendy Yaphe took second place. The trophy awarded to Ms. Fitzgerald stated “first place female” and the prize money accorded to Ms. Fitzgerald was the sum of 60.00 US dollars. The trophy awarded to Ms. Yaphe read “second place female” and the prize money awarded to Ms. Yaphe was a sum of 40.00 US dollars. When questioned about the discrepancy between the advertised prize money (675.00 US first place and 525.00 second place) and the awarded prize money (60.00 US first place, 40.00 US second place) both Mr. Evan Gumbs (President) and Ms. Hodge (race secretary) expressed confusion, agitation, and dismay and could not even agree amongst themselves as to why there was not the advertised prize money available for the women's winners.
Ms. Hodge (the race secretary) claimed that there NEVER was a men’s and a women’s division and the stated prize money was to be awarded only to the “overall” winner of the race (male or female). Clearly, this argument did not make sense as: 1. Mr. Gumbs had specifically stated that there was a men’s division as well as a women’s division to the St. Kitts team captain on multiple occasions. 2. There were both men’s AND women’s trophies handed out during the awards ceremonies and 3. The prize money accorded was not at all consistent with the “overall placement” (men and women) of either Ms. Fitzgerald or Ms. Yaphe in the race, and 4. The Vice president of the cycle association had stated the evening before the race that there was a men’s as well as a women’s division and overall standings/prizes would be determined by the placement of the females at the end of two laps. At NO time, in all the communication, did either the race director, race secretary, or Vice President inform the female participants that the advertised prize money had been changed for the female division.
For Mr. Gumbs part, the only explanation he had to offer was “last year we had prizes available for the women and we did not have any entries”, so this year, when he clearly had women entries, he had available trophies but could come up with no rationale explanation as to why the prize money was 60.00 US/40.00 US versus the advertised prize money. Finally, towards the end of the conversation, Mr. Gumbs made several rather telling remarks leaving one with the very clear impression that he did not consider the female athlete worthy of the same accord (or obviously prize money) as the male athlete. The Vice president apparently had similar beliefs as he informed the departing female cyclists that “it was a men’s race and they really did not want and did not care if the female cyclists came back”.
In closing, the team from St. Kitts very much appreciated the hospitality and beauty of your island in Anguilla but came away feeling insulted with the treatment so obviously accorded to the male cyclist but so readily lacking from that accorded to the female cyclist. In his discourse, Mr. Gumbs also mentioned on several occasions that there were not very many female entries in past races - with this type of attitude and treatment it is no wonder this is the case.
We are saddened and dismayed by the unfair way in which we were treated by the hosts of this bicycle race and the representatives of your country. We expended significant training and effort, and competed to the best of our ability and in good faith on race day. We request that you likewise prevail upon the organizers of this race to honor their commitment and accord us the prize money that was so clearly stated.

Wendy Yaphe, Shannon Fitzgerald, Royston Stevens, and support members of the St. Kitts cycling team
St. Kitts, West Indies
Ph: (869) 466 - 6437