Today I would like to say a very big thank you,
to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to contact me through this site. The amount of communication and your support has been overwhelming! I will, over the next few days, answer each e-mail separately but until then I just wanted to respond as quickly as possible by using this site.
Whilst we were in Qatar, over the past two years as I have struggled to get back on my feet and during the construction of this site I have heard of so many other people who have not been paid by various Qatari Federations and Companies. It is not a huge surprise but that does not make it any less harrowing to hear these stories first hand and if you would like your story to be published on this site please do let me know.
The following comments have appeared repeatedly in your e-mails;
“What are you hoping to achieve from this site? Is it worth annoying them?”
“Please watch your back.”
“Don’t antagonise the Qatari Royal Family. They can be very nasty.”
In answer to these questions and comments;
When I was made bankrupt and my company went under, it was due, in part, to not being paid by QSI but also, less obviously, to the illegal actions of the Foreign Minister. I will get to that at a later date. My immediate concern at the time was of course to protect my daughter and my family but it was also the potential remuneration of my team and the suppliers of the event. I decided not to answer the people choosing to use the public arena to present their various misguided and self serving theories on what had gone wrong. Why? Because any potential legal action may have been compromised by a public slanging match. Having won the first stage of this legal action on January 31st 2006, I believe it was the right decision for the ongoing battle to get everyone paid their final invoice and the prize money.
However, as a consequence of my silence, my reputation suffered a severe battering during that time.
Then, during my year of bankruptcy all I could think about was survival, getting back on my feet and taking care of my daughter. As she started a new school on the day the press announced my bankruptcy I couldn’t protect her completely but I hope I have managed to cushion her from most of the nightmare. I was discharged from my bankruptcy on September 5th 2006 and a year later I am well and truly standing up straight!
The work that is coming in is varied and truly compelling, speaking to companies not only about team dynamics, leadership and motivating teams but also how NOT to do business in the Middle East and risk taking. I have consulted for companies thinking about opening offices in Qatar and companies already established there. Of the companies who were thinking of Qatar, one is now in Abu Dhabi and two have chosen Dubai. Both countries know how to do business in the global market place and pay their bills!
As my chances of survival have increased over the past 24 months so have my thoughts of how to redress the injustices that Qatar have handed out to us and how to restore my good name which I spent 20 years of my life working very hard for in the sport that I love. My sense of outrage over what happened has changed from abject terror to despair to anger to humiliation to self doubt to frustration to calm to introspection to determination.
So, what else do I want to achieve by setting the record straight?
I want people to know what happened to us. will I want Qatar to pay its debt to us. I want to prevent anyone from having to go through what we went through. To that end, I have tried to keep the stress and emotional turmoil out of the everyday facts and the circumstances in which we found ourselves. They only cloud the issue and are actually still very difficult to deal with. However, I write here, and on subsequent pages, the very personal side of the situation.
Am I afraid of incurring the wrath of the Qatari Royal Family?
No, I am not afraid anymore. I have been scared for too long dealing with these people. Life in this case imitates sport. I remember racing through the Southern Ocean and being that afraid. Days and days on end of enduring the wrath of the wind and the waves, of being terrified that today was the day we would die. After a while your brain goes into protection mode and you become immune to the danger. You close down, go inside your self, put your head down and you just get on with it. A numbness takes over. And so it has been during this nightmare. But, I can’t be scared any more. I don’t have the energy. I have looked into the abyss and it has looked back. Nothing they can do to me now could ever be as bad as what we have all been through.
I have been told, by someone who knows what they are talking about, to watch my back.
I don’t think they would be that vindictive to what they probably see as an annoying little flea. Also, if anything happened to me it would be obvious where to look. When I was threatened whilst actually in Qatar I employed the services of a bodyguard who taught me how to take care of myself and my daughter. Things to watch for, how to check under my car, how to know if I am being followed, how to take evasive action. I know that as you are reading this you are thinking, ’blimey that’s a bit over the top……this woman is sooooo paranoid and just a tad melodramtic!’ If I had not felt the fear that I have felt by being held in Qatar, being followed and the various threats, then I would be thinking the same thing believe me!!
There is another potential goal of this website.
I have always had the utmost respect for the HH The Emir and for his wife HH Sheikh Mozha. I do not believe they know the full story. I have had two personal messages of support from the Emir that indicate this to be so. I think that if he knew the full extent of the misery that his son Sheikh Tamim (unwittingly) and his cousin the Foreign Minister (knowingly) had caused us he would make sure that Qatar’s debts to us would be paid. I will put my faith in him and I believe that if I can make him aware of what has happened, that he will stand tall and make sure that justice prevails.
Everything he has said he wants Qatar to be in the future, tells me that he would not stand for this injustice if he knew the details.