“Songshine was a kind of miracle. I was lucky enough to be part of making it happen.” — Gillian Moor
A move is afoot to galvanise the public into contributing to a fund which is being set up to prevent former president of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) Oliver Camps from losing his house and other personal assets.
Camps, now in his 80s and seriously ill has been given until tomorrow by the High Court to come up with TT$3.8 million to pay Dutchman Wim Risjbergen after the former Soca Warriors coach took legal action against the TTFA to secure outstanding salary.
Now after Dr Sandra Camps, the daughter of the former Maritime General Insurance Company director has written to the daily newspapers making public her father’s unfortunate plight, one prominent sports official has come forward with a plan to help the long serving sports administrator.
Yesterday, president of the T&T Cricket Board Azim Bassarath said he was willing to place the resources of the national sports organisation to solicit donations and erase the debt owed.
Bassarath said he felt that it was unfair and undeserving of Camps to inherit a debt of the TTFA which has placed in great danger his property and assets, which he has worked hard to acquire throughout his life.
The cricket chief also said that he was very concerned about the toll that the long legal process and the consequences it has dealt on the health and mental faculties of Camps, who according to his daughter has rendered him bedridden.
The plan outlined by Bassarath would entail a contribution of $1,000 by at least 4,000 persons, corporate entities, business organisations and the like which would adequately cover the amount of the court judgement.
He has also suggested any extra funds derived from the campaign could be donated to Camps to take care of his health concerns.
“I am calling on everyone who love sports, not only football or cricket, to show where their hearts are. This situation appeals to our humanity for a man who has spent more than half a century in the service of sport, having been the president of the national football organisation, is regarded as our most successful national team manager and has been a long serving member of the legendary Harvard Club,” said Bassarath.
The TTCB head said as leader of a national sports organisation, regarded as the best administrated in the nation by no less than the Honourable Minister of Sport Darryl Smith, he fully understands the challenges faced by administrators who are passionate about doing their jobs to get the best results which in the end helps athletes realise their fullest potential, brings joy and pride to citizens, and promotes the country on the international stage.
Camps’ problems originated from a promissory note he signed as president of the TTFA for US$480,000 to secure the services of Risjbergen, after the historic 2006 World Cup where the former top Dutch defender was assistant to team coach and country-man Leo Beenhakker.
In 2005, the Soca Warriors defeated Bahrain in a two-leg play-off to become the smallest nation to qualify for a senior FIFA World Cup, which was staged in Germany, an accomplishment which created hysteria for months in T&T leading up to the event.
Bassarath said that the country, and sports lovers owed it to Camps to do their best to help, in whatever way they can regardless of their personal opinions, because service to country must not be taken for granted in any context.
He said that the TTCB which he heads will be guided by the response of the public to his humanitarian appeal, with the objective of creating a bank account where donations can be accepted for the Oliver Camps Fund, which will be administrated by delegated officers of the Cricket Board to ensure transparency and accountability.
“We are looking at encouraging all the other national sports organisations to play an important role, as well as the general public who support and love sports to make a tangible effort to help a fellow human being, a well-loved and trusted sports administrator who has served this country well over the years. It is the least we can do if we all come together and contribute what is a small amount in the general scheme of things,” said Bassarath.