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Community coaches want their cash

By BY Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com

Mickey Peters has what seems a legitimate grouse.

He has been working as a community boxing coach. Christmas is coming. His family needs things. He needs his money. 

Community boxing coaches were recruited two years ago to work with youngsters in depressed areas such as East Port of                                                                      Spain, Beetham Gardens and Carenage.

The plan, vocalised by boxing special adviser Boxu Potts and then Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC) chairman Annabelle Davis, was to get vulnerable children in these communities involved in boxing rather than crime.

 “We are not on a salary. We on a stipend,” said Peters, a 51-year-old Sangre Grande-based former amateur boxer, and graduate of St Michael School for Boys.

“But, I have been doing community work since last year and have not been paid. Every day I get up and going to gym to work, but when my family want something, I have nothing to show them for my work.” 

Peters mentioned unsuccessful efforts to sort out the situation through Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Boxing Board (TTABA) chairman Cecil Forde and Ashwin Creed, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport. 

Forde removed the TTABA from the issue, stating they have no role in paying stipends, and referred the issue to the governing TTBBC, and the Ministry of                   Sport. 

“When we were at the Sport Company and they sent us under the control of the Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC), all our funding was taken away from us. We (Amateur boxing) don’t pay stipend,” Forde declared. 

“All stipend was being paid by the Ministry of Sport, through the Boxing Board.

 “Some of the money due is backlog money,” Forde said. “I know they are trying to work out something for the coaches. Mr Creed has been telling                                       them that he will give them the money, but they have to wait a little bit.” 

Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control chairman Deo Persaud Ramoutar said the coaches issue was one started prior to the new TTCBC Board being appointed in July. 

But Ramoutar stressed that efforts are being made to address              it.

“That is being sorted out by the Ministry right now,” Ramoutar said. 

“What the coaches are speaking of (are) past payments for work they would have done prior to us coming into office. Recommendations were made to the Ministry of Sport. Some of the coaches                         should be paid, while there are queries about the work of others. There needs to be some                                                                       accountability, but it’s being sorted out.” 

“The Ministry have not said no. But, the boxing coaches have to hold strain a little bit,” Ramoutar added.

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