Five persons have declared their candidacy for the post of Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president, although it might not be until November 19 that the football fraternity and the hopefuls know who they are for sure.
W Connection president David John-Williams, Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (VFFOTT) vice-president Selby Browne, ex-2002 World Cup referee Ramesh Ramdhan and vice-president of the Trinidad and Tobago Referees Association Clynt Taylor all told Wired868 that they will contest the TTFA presidency on November 29. While incumbent president and Port of Spain mayor Raymond Tim Kee declared his own candidacy via a press release, through the TTFA media office.
However, there has been no official word yet from the TTFA Electoral Committee, which is chaired by ex-West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine and includes Elton Prescott SC and Mervyn Campbell.
According to Article 34.2 of the new TTFA constitution, which was adopted and ratified on 12 July 2015: “Candidatures for the office of President and Vice-President of the Board of Directors must be sent to the General Secretariat in writing at least 40 days before the General Meeting where the election of the members of the Board of Directors shall be held.”
This coincided with the TTFA Electoral Committee’s deadline of October 20 for deadline for nominations for the post of president and first and second vice-president.
However, thus far, the Electoral Committee has said that it would not officially reveal its accepted candidates until it is mandated to do so under the constitution.
Article 40.3 states: “The General Secretariat shall notify the Members of the names of the proposed candidates at least 10 days before the date of the General Meeting.”
The phrase “at least” has caused some consternation from more than one of the self-declared candidates for the position, who suggested that the incumbent might have an advantage due to a presumed access to information.
Ramnarine said the Electoral Committee would consider releasing the information earlier than the November 19 deadline, by which time a public announcement must be made.
“It is constitutionally due to officially announce candidates at least 10 days before the elections,” Ramnarine told Wired868. “I will be discussing with the Electoral Committee next week.”
Two of the five self-declared candidates, Taylor and Browne, said they had not selected any potential vice-presidents for the November 29 AGM.
However, John-Williams named Phoenix Park Gas Processors vice-president Joanne Salazar, former SSFL president Ewing Davis and Tobago businessman and contractor Allan Warner, who is said to be unrelated to disgraced ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
And Ramdhan chose businessman John Sabga, part owner of Trotters Restaurant and Bar, as his vice-president.
Tim Kee could not be reached for comment on his own picks. However, he is believed to have named Carib Brewery sponsorship and events manager Colin Murray, Guardian Holdings vice-president of human resources Keston Nancoo, Eastern Football Association (EFA) official Kamau Bandele as his vice-presidents.
Wired868 cannot confirm Tim Kee’s “slate.”
All three current vice-presidents, Lennox Watson, Krishna Kuairsingh and Rudy Thomas, are believed to be stepping down from their posts and will not seek re-election.
According to Article 34.6: “Any candidate that wishes to become a member of the Board of Directors (whether president or vice-president) shall fulfil the following eligibility criteria:
“Candidates shall have been active in football for at least three years during the five years preceding the election. This activity must have been performed in a managerial or a similar position in the territory of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Candidates may not have previously been found guilty of an indictable offence.
“Candidates shall be nationals of and shall have permanent residence in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
“Candidatures for the office of President and Vice-President of the Board of Directors shall be supported by at least one Member. Candidatures for the other positions of the Board of Directors shall be proposed by the Member they represent.”
(Meet the TTFA presidential candidates)
“(My) election to the post of TTFA President would be focused on placing high priority to footballers, the major asset of the National Association. It’s about Football for the next generation, it’s about ensuring national footballers are not distracted by off the field administrative blunders, it’s about providing better conditions for the footballers.
“It’s about ensuring accountability and transparency throughout the administration at the club, league and association level, it’s about embracing the development of primary school and community football to ensure the best football product on the field, and about inviting all footballers, clubs, leagues, associations and stakeholders to join with me, to restore Trinidad and Tobago football to its glorious past on the field, when five Trinidad and Tobago footballers can once again be selected to a CONCACAF (all-star) team.”
“I want to bring transparency, credibility and my experience of the business of football to create an environment that will encourage young people to make a career of it.
“Grassroots football is very important in my book… Our players are not properly schooled, managed or put in the right environment to develop.
“Most of all, I want to bring corporate Trinidad back to football and I hope my experience at W Connection will serve me well.”
“My focus in vying for the position as president is not limited only to the field of football but expands beyond the field into the arena of national development.
My approach would be an all-inclusive approach where I would seek the input from all the relevant stakeholders. I would partner with the players, officials, supporters, associations, clubs, the media, the business community and government…
“So much people have lost faith in the administration of football. It is time to regain that trust and faith. Let’s leave the playing of games to on the field. As president of the TTFA, I would ensure that Trinidad and Tobago football achieves the heights that is evident in our potential. Unlike most of the other candidates, I don’t have a vested interest in football. This is for the love of the sport and country.”
“The primary role for me as the president will be to be an advocate for the people of Trinidad and Tobago in restoring decency, and integrity in the Association by removing the alleged stain of corruption, greed and selfish gains that pervades our ‘footballing’ community…
“The issues before us continue to be who can bring fiscal responsibility, accountability, transparency with sound judgment, to the TTFA, I am a candidate who (has) a passion and heart for the game and without selfish gain will bring together all stakeholders to begin healing our game, and restore fiscal responsibility, ensure transparency by positive leadership in the Association.”
Raymond Tim Kee:
“I am ready and motivated to go for another term… As president I have a duty to serve all members of the association and like I have done during my first term, I will do my best to fulfil that responsibility without fear or favour, without discrimination. And with the sole objective of upholding the statutes and regulations of the TTFA, once given that opportunity for a second term.
“A new term in office gives the FA the chance to build on our successes to fix our shortcomings and to set new milestones to put the game on a stronger footing in Trinidad and Tobago.”