Tuesday, February 20, 2018

TTCB wants audit of SPORTT

THE Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) is calling for the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago to be fully audited.

The SPORTT board was relieved of its responsibilities by Cabinet last week following the presentation of an audit into the Ministry of Sport’s Life Sport Programme.

Via press release yesterday, TTCB president Azim Bassarath said: “We applaud the Government for initiating an investigation into the Life Sport Programme and the subsequent actions taken in the light of what has been revealed. However we feel that the work is half-complete until a similar scrutiny is made of the way SPORTT disbursed its funds,” said Bassarath.

The local cricket chief made particular reference to financial allocations promised to the TTCB since 2011, totalling more than $14 million.

Bassarath said the funds, earmarked for local cricket development excludes over $8 million spent on preparing the national senior team for their appearances in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

In the release, Bassarath claimed approximately $5 million was spent by the TTCB to assist local clubs participating in their respective competitions and that an appeal for help to the then Minister of Sport, Anil Roberts, was not even acknowledged.

Roberts, under whose ministry the Life Sport Programme was administered, resigned from his portfolio and also as Member of Parliament for D’Abadie/O’Meara last month.

In focusing on SPORTT, Bassarath claimed since 2011, the TTCB’s proposals and appeals for financial help for local cricket had been ignored. The executing arm of the ministry was then under chairman Sebastian Paddington and Chief Executive Officer John Mollenthiel.

Bassarath said after a newspaper report in August 2013 stated that SPORTT had given $3,239,916.72 to his board out of a total $27 million disbursed in the last fiscal year, he sought clarification from Mollenthiel because his organisation did not receive that amount.

The release said this was confirmed by Mollenthiel in a reply to Bassarath on September 25, 2013 which stated that, “SPORTT had disbursed $1,785,819.62 to the various cricket bodies that have affiliation to the T&TCB. Of that sum, $36,581.34 had been disbursed directly to the T&TCB.”

The letter also stated that the grant was specifically to cover the expenses incurred on the training of the CEO of the TTCB (Suruj Ragoonath) at the International Sport Management Conference (ISEM) 2012 in London, England.

“So it is passing strange that the claim that the TTCB has been receiving funding from the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company of T&T when it is clearly not so,” Bassarth stated. 

“We have been starved and deprived of funds for the development of local cricket for the past four years.”

He added:  “We are not aware who received the 1.7 million dollars that they indicated was allocated to the various cricket bodies affiliated to the TTCB. I want SPORTT to identify these bodies and indicate how they are affiliated to us.”