Last update: 07-Dec-2013 1:52 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Anil blasts TTFA, T&THB
Minister of Sports Anil Roberts yesterday hit back at officials of the T&T Football Association and T&T Hockey Board following criticism of his Ministry regarding funding for their teams’ participation at recent foreign competitions.
Allegations were made that late payments by the Ministry forced T&T’s Under 15 football team to withdraw from a Concacaf tournament in the Cayman Islands and the T&T senior hockey team’s trip to the Pan American Field Hockey Championships in Canada was jeopardised because of a lack of support from the Ministry.
Speaking at the Ministry’s office in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Roberts claimed that the organisations had failed to follow proper procedure for requesting funds by submitting late proposals and later laid the blame on the Ministry for their own “incompetence.”
“Lately I have seen a trend where when you are under pressure, when you are incompetent, you blame the Ministry,” he said. “I would like these NGBs to understand that there are rules for accessing taxpayers money... There is no incompetence fund for people who cannot budget properly, so don’t blame us. The responsibility falls on the same people who are talking but it is my turn to talk now.”
The Minister explained that the complicated and time-consuming procedure did not allow for requests to be made just ahead of a team’s departure.
“Every sporting organisation, early in the year, by March or April, must present their wishlist, their budget for the upcoming fiscal period. After this we sit down here at the Ministry and go through what is possible and what is not... It’s a very long process to deal with public funds so when people like the TTFA send a request on such short notice, it is absolutely ludicrous. Let me say that the TTFA never, on their initial budget, put anything about the Under 15 tournament in the Cayman Islands or Mars or anywhere on this planet or the universe. They then made a very late request on July 31 for a tournament that was due to begin in August. That is incompetence of the highest order.”
Despite the late request by the TTFA, Roberts said the Ministry tried its best, in the interest of the athletes, to put things in place though trouble booking flights had blocked them in the end. He also noted that the TTFA, without informing the Ministry, had hired elite coaches Leo Beenhakker and Stephen Hart for its senior national team at a price tag in the range of $75,000 US per month.
“When you allocated all that money to go towards the big boys, you did not care about children and then you came and made a late request and came and blamed the Ministry. Get your house in order and stop blaming the Ministry.”
Roberts also had harsh words for President of the T&T Hockey Board Douglas Camacho, who told the media the board had struggled to receive funding for the national team’s trip to Canada after putting in a request weeks in advance of the tournament. The Minister refutted his statements, claiming the Board’s request had been submitted just four days ahead of T&T’s first match on August 10.
“Mr Camacho, who has been president of the T&T Olympic Committee and TTHB, who has been involved in sport for so long, does not even understand the system up to now. You can spend many years in a job and learn absolutely nothing and talk absolute rubbish when you are ready,” he said, presenting the Board’s letter dated August 6. “First and foremost, his statement about several weeks is not true... Mr Camacho has the audacity to attack the Ministry for his total abject incompetence, his misinformation, his being a stranger to the truth. As a competent president of a board you must understand the system and budget in advance and if you cannot so do you should resign. Further more, he told an untruth to the national media... I am deeply disturbed that somebody who has spent so much time in sport knows so little. Mr Camacho when you are speaking please speak the truth. Our children are listening.”
Roberts added that the Ministry managed to scrape together approximately $243,000 for the trip, during which T&T eventually won a bronze medal.
“We don’t have any money sitting down here waiting to swipe a card to give Mr Douglas Camacho four days before a tournament because he cannot do his job properly so I call on the associations to get more professional and if people like Mr Camacho cannot handle it, come out and let somebody who can handle it do the job.”
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