Minister of Sport Anil Roberts said yesterday national sporting organisations (NSOs) should not blame the Ministry and its workers for the incompetence of the NSOs’ administrators who submitted budgets late for overseas tournaments.
Roberts said there will be no “incompetence funding” for NSO administrators who skirt the normal protocol of submitting yearly budgets by April each year, especially after the Ministry and its public servants bend backwards to attempt facilitate extra-budgetary expenditure.
Roberts directly addressed the issue of the budget requests of the successful men’s senior hockey team who won bronze at the 2013 Pan American Cup hosted in Canada; the non-attendance of the T&T Under-15 team at a CONCACAF tournament in the Cayman Islands; and the failure of the country’s junior athletes to attend this wekend’s Pan Am Junior Championships in Colombia.
Roberts said when the country should be celebrating Jehue Gordon’s and George Bovell’s World Championships gold and bronze medals respectively, he had to deal with misleading information being disseminated about funding by some NSOs.
“We cannot make (up) for the incompetence of officials in NSOs,” the Minister said at a press conference at his Abercromby Street office yesterday.
As proof, Roberts provided correspondence between the Ministry and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board to illustrate his point about late budget submissions.
Roberts said 88 per cent of the country’s NSOs duly completed and submitted their budgets by April 2013.
Roberts said in the case of the TTFA, their initial budget did not include the Under-15 tournament in the Cayman Islands.
Then, the TTFA wrote on July 31 through their general secretary Sheldon Phillips for a tournament starting in August.
“It is a very long process to deal with public funds for money that is budgeted. So it is absolutely ludicrous, it is incompetence of the highest order and it is very easy to blame the Minister and the Ministry for your incompetence in not allowing children to go to a tournament,” he said, claiming that the TTFA had enough money to hire highly paid coaches in Leo Beenhakker and Stephen Hart without funds from the Ministry but could not afford an Under-15 tournament.
Concerning the junior track team’s woes, the Minister said the NAAA’s funding request was only received two months ago.
In the case of the TTHB, Roberts referred to correspondence signed by TTHB president Douglas Camacho on August 6, four days before the start of the Pan Am Cup, making request for financial assistance.
Camacho was quoted in a daily newspaper as saying that ‘it was no fault of the Board (TTHB) that the squad received funds in such an untimely manner.’ He said the TTHB had put forward their request several weeks ahead of the Pan Am Cup competition.
“You (NSOs) should get no funding whatsoever based on the system of budget allocation, budget request transparency and accountability,” Roberts said. “But as a competent understanding president, he (Camacho) should have presented a budget well in advance. If you cannot do so, you should resign. He told an untruth because he did not submit it several weeks before, he did it four days before the first match.”
He added: “I am deeply perturbed and disturbed that somebody like Mr Camacho who has spent so much time in sport knows so little.”