General secretary of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) Ramesh Ramdhan is championing the cause for staff members to be paid salaries for March.
Members of staff did not get paid last month because of a court order that allowed former technical director Kendall Walkes the opportunity to liquidate the accounts of the embattled football association for monies owed to him for wrongful dismissal back in 2016.
Walkes who was recruited under the Raymond Tim Kee-led TTFA for $93,000 a month, won a judgement for $5.2 million by the local court last December. Walkes' action also led to the TTFA accounts being garnishee on February 13.
However, on Thursday, Ramdhan who was asked to stay on to help the recently FIFA-appointed normalisation committee of businessmen Robert Hadad (chairman), retired banker Nigel Romano and Attorney Judy Daniel (deputy chairman) as well as two others who will be appointed soon, said he has been in constant communication with Hadad, a director of the HADCO Group of Companies, for salaries to be paid to the workers, among other things which will kick-off the work of the committee with its mandate of governing the sport locally.
Ramdhan, head of the secretariat at the football association, said after wages were paid for December and January, he had to borrow money to pay workers for February, because monies expected from the world governing body for football, FIFA, did not come in time.
“And I was prepared to borrow money again to ensure that workers can pay their bills and live like everyone else, but the offices were shut down on March 15 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. But not because the office is closed means workers don’t deserve to be paid,” Ramdhan said.
Meanwhile, Hadad told Guardian Media Sports on Friday that his first assignment will be to pay salaries for March when monies become available by FIFA. He stayed clear of the battles taking place inside and outside the Football association, saying his committee has taken a job to bring back the confidence and trust by corporate T&T, government etc into T&T football.
“I need to hear from all stakeholders to chart a way forward. I am not into pointing fingers and playing the blame game, I just want to get the job done,” said Hadad, a director of the HADCO Group of Companies, who added that he believes with the coronavirus pandemic taking place, the payment of salaries could take a few months as he is unsure of whether work will begin for him and his committee members.
The bill for monthly wages at TTFA is $100,000 which excludes the salary for the general secretary, who in addition to his willingness to go out and search for the same amount to pay staff, will also have to find money to repay the lender.
The hard-working general secretary has been making sacrifices of his own, having not received a single cent in wages since assuming the role of general secretary on December 16.
“I realised that there was hardly any money in the TTFA’s account so I chose to have the monies owed to me, used to pay staff,” Ramdhan told Guardian Media Sports when contacted.
Meanwhile, there has been a slow trickle of funds coming into the TTFA’s ‘go fund me’ initiative from the general public to the former TTFA executive of William Wallace (former president), and he also ousted vice presidents Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip, to challenge FIFA for the implementation of the normalisation committee, through the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Less than a week since the launch of the initiative, there is an amount of $1,905 to date.
Wallace said the outbreak of COVID-19 has been a major setback as individuals are trying to hold on to every penny they have because of the unpredictable nature of the virus. He noted that because of the coronavirus, people have also lost their jobs and are unable to donate.