Dow row: London Olympics Games ethics commissioner quits

Vidya Ram London | Updated on March 12, 2018

A member of the ethics committee set up to monitor London's handling of the Olympic Games has resigned from her post, over the organising body's decision to maintain a controversial contract with Dow Chemicals.

Ms Meredith Alexander, who is a member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 (CSL), said she was taking the ‘challenging' step because she could not have her name attached to an organisation that publicly legitimised Dow's stance that it bore no further responsibility towards Bhopal.

“It wasn't just that Dow is associated with the games… the games organiser London Organising Committee (LOCOG) and CSL have just repeated Dow's line that it has no responsibility,” she told Business Line. “I feel that since the deal, LOCOG and CSL have ended up falsely legitimising Dow's position.”

As part of the British Government's austerity drive, plans for a multi-million pound plastic wrap for the £500-million main stadium were abandoned last year, but in February LOCOG announced it was looking for investment from the private sector. A tender followed, and Dow was picked to make the 336 panel, 25-m-high wrap for the 80,000-seat stadium.

“Having the wrap is the icing on the cake,” the Chairman of LOCOG, Mr Sebastian Coe, said at the time.

The deal attracted strong criticism both from the public, and from within Parliament, but LOCOG has stuck firmly to the position that “Dow never owned or operated the facility in Bhopal and remediation is under the control of the courts in India.”

Campaigners against the Dow-deal hope Ms Alexander's resignation will give their movement fresh impetus.

“Lord Sebastian Coe must publicly state that human rights concerns were never considered when awarding a contract to Dow and that LOCOG made a mistake,” said Ms Seema Joshi of Amnesty International.

Published on January 26, 2012

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