Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) president Douglas Camacho said Minister of Sport Anil Roberts has gotten it totally wrong with the sequence of the TTHB’s application for funding for the recently-concluded Pan Am Cup.
The hockey men won their first medal in 46 years when they claimed bronze in the Canada-hosted tournament.
And while the hockey boss admitted that the August 6 correspondence to the Ministry was authentic, the former Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee jefe said that was not the first occasion his organisation had requested funds for the Pan Am Cup.
“We would have submitted our original budget for the 2012-2013 period before the delivery of the national budget last year, and that budget included the Pan American Cup tournament,” Camacho said, adding that the TTHB could provide documents to support his claim.
“So the Minister of Sport has gotten it completely wrong, and it’s absolutely untrue that August 6 was the first time we requested assistance,” he said.
Camacho said after the TTHB presented their 2012-2013 budget last year, they were approached by the FIH to host the World Cup qualifying tournament. The TTHB, he explained, initially had no interest in hosting the FIH tournament, but after consultation with the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Sport, the TTHB decided to host that competition in October last year to support both Ministry’s sports tourism drive.
He stated that the TTHB agreed to host that tournament on the condition that it didn’t eat into their allotment for other previously budgeted items.
According to Camacho, when the TTHB followed up about Pan American Cup funding through the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago in May this year, the local hockey organisation was advised that their funding had been exhausted.
Camacho said in June the Minister through his office had called on him to meet, but he (Camacho) was out of the country. He said he had suggested other officials meet with Roberts in his absence.
No meeting came off, he said and when he returned home, he attempted unsuccessfully to have a meeting with the Minister in early July.
Camacho explained the TTHB was about to cancel the engagement altogether and face FIH sanctions for non-attendance when a member, whose name he did not disclose, advised them to approach the Prime Minister’s office.
They did and were directed to Minister Winston Peters, who acted for Minister Roberts who was on leave at the time. Camacho said Peters advised the TTHB to write Ministry of Sport Permanent Secretary Ashwin Creed, which he did on August 6, and their request for $243,000 was approved and granted.
Arrangements were hustled through to the Canadian embassy for visas for the national players, and Pan American Cup organisers consented to their request for the tournament, which lashed off on August 10, and the schedule had to be adjusted to facilitate the T&T and Uruguay squads, after the latter’s flight had to be grounded when their plane was struck by lightning.
“ So that is the sequence, and that is why I say the Minister got it completely wrong, “ Camacho stated