Home / Rio 2016 / SPORTT request Rio report from TTGF; Smith vows to ‘review and analyse’ info

SPORTT request Rio report from TTGF; Smith vows to ‘review and analyse’ info

The Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) has broken its silence over the controversy regarding the withdrawal of national gymnast Thema Williams from the April 17 Rio Olympic Test event by requesting “a comprehensive report” from Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president David Marquez.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick have fun sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016. (Courtesy Hannifer Dick)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick have fun sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016.
(Courtesy Hannifer Dick)

However, SPORTT pointed out that their request was actual standard policy and not unusual, despite the circumstances.

“SPORTT has a responsibility to account for state funds and therefore the company has written to the president of the TTGF, David Marquez,” stated the SPORTT press release, “reminding him that, in keeping with SPORTT’s NGB (National Governing Body) funding policy, a comprehensive report on Trinidad and Tobago’s participation at the Rio Test Event must be submitted by the Federation to the company within 15 days of the event’s conclusion.

“The Federation therefore has a 3 May 2016 deadline to present a full and detailed official account of all events that transpired in relation to this Olympic Test event that has now become matter of national interest.”

The release was unsigned and did not state whether the source was SPORTT chairman Michael Phillips or Sport Minister Darryl Smith. However, it referenced the Sport Minister.

There was also no indication as to why, if the TTGF still had another week to file its report, SPORTT opted to publicly remind them of this fact.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee in 2015. (Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) meets with TTGF president David Marquez and his executive committee in 2015.
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

Smith reiterated, in the release, that the Sport Ministry cannot influence the selection of athletes or the removal of officials. And he said that the “relevant facts and data” related to the TTGF’s operations were being “reviewed and analysed” before the ministry made “informed decisions.”

But he provided no specific information related to the gymnastics body. The release did say that the Sport Ministry was “conducting a comprehensive review of all the funding and other support policies with a view to determining where gaps and anomalies exist.”

No timeline was offered for the “comprehensive review.”

The release stressed that SPORTT did not pay for Williams’ alternate, Marisa Dick, or her stand-in coach and TTGF second vice-president, Ricardo Lue Shue, to attend the Rio Test event. SPORTT also provided figures spent on gymnastics and Thema Williams for the 2016 financial year.

SPORTT pointed out too that its procedure is not to pay money directly to local sporting bodies.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed. Lue Shue will act as Marisa Dick's coach in Brazil. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation second vice president and former president Ricardo Lue Shue (left) shakes hands with SPORTT Company official Anthony Creed.
Lue Shue will act as Marisa Dick’s coach in Brazil.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

“The procedure has been to not pay money directly to the NGB but rather to pay the supplier or service provider on behalf of the sporting body,” stated SPORTT. “The only occasions that funds are released directly to the Governing body is for per diem—per diem amount granted is based on the call circular from the Ministry of Finance outlining specified amounts for specific countries or territories—for athletes, coaches and other officials at approved overseas competitions and tournaments and for accommodation, only in the instance where a wire transfer to the hotel or guest house is not feasible.

“Even then, a pro forma invoice or quotation is used to determine the amounts released and the NGB is still required to provide an actual invoice as part of the trip report on their return to Trinidad and Tobago.”

The release did not congratulate Williams, Dick or the TTGF for their roles in getting Trinidad and Tobago gymnastics a historic spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) will ultimately decide if the TTGF will keep its Rio spot, as multiple concerns have been raised on the manner in which Williams was denied the opportunity to compete.

Photo: Thema Williams of Trinidad And Tobago competes on the uneven bars during the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on 23 October 2015. (Copyright AFP 2016/Andy Buchanan)
Photo: Thema Williams of Trinidad And Tobago competes on the uneven bars during the 2015 World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, on 23 October 2015.
(Copyright AFP 2016/Andy Buchanan)

The following is the full press release from the SPORTT Company:

The Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) is the state agency that provides funding for the activities of the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation and has noted the several media reports and public concern surrounding the Gymnastics Federation and seeks to provide the public with clarity on how funding is disbursed to this National Governing Body (NGB).

The procedure has been to not pay money directly to the NGB but rather to pay the supplier or service provider on behalf of the sporting body.

The only occasions that funds are released directly to the Governing body is for per diem—per diem amount granted is based on the call circular from the Ministry of Finance outlining specified amounts for specific countries or territories—for athletes, coaches and other officials at approved overseas competitions and tournaments and for accommodation only in the instance where a wire transfer to the hotel or guest house is not feasible.

Even then, a pro forma invoice or quotation is used to determine the amounts released and the NGB is still required to provide an actual invoice as part of the trip report on their return to Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick pose for a photograph while sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016. (Courtesy Hannifer Dick)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Thema Williams (right) and Marisa Dick pose for a photograph while sightseeing in Rio, after the Olympic Test event on 17 April 2016.
(Courtesy Hannifer Dick)

For Financial Year 2016, TT$271,805 has been expended by the Sports Company on the activities of the TTGF all of which have been focused on preparation and tournaments of the two elite level athletes, Thema Williams and Marisa Dick, under the purview of the Federation.

This includes TT$93,195.28 for Thema Williams and Marisa Dick and their technical teams to attend the World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, where Trinidad and Tobago’s spot was secured for the recently concluded Olympic test event in Rio.

TT$58,196.76 was spent for Gymnast Thema Williams, her coach John Geddert and massage therapist Nicole Fuentes to participate the Olympic Test Event in Rio.

No funds were disbursed from the Sports Company for neither Marisa Dick nor Ricardo Lue Shue to attend the Olympic Test Event.

SPORTT has a responsibility to account for state funds and therefore the company has written to the president of the TTGF, David Marquez, reminding him that, in keeping with SPORTT’s NGB funding policy a comprehensive report on Trinidad and Tobago’s participation at the Rio Test Event must be submitted by the Federation to the company within fifteen days of the event’s conclusion.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right). (Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right).
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

The Federation therefore has a 3 May 2016 deadline to present a full and detailed official account of all events that transpired in relation to this Olympic test event that has now become matter of national interest.

It should be noted that the Honourable Darryl Smith, Minister of Sport in various radio interviews and at a press conference on Monday 18 April 2016, indicated that the Ministry and SPORTT—under whose purview the TTGF resides—must follow proper process and ensure that all the relevant facts and data are reviewed and analysed so that informed decisions can be made with respect to funding and other areas of support.

He also once again indicated that state officials and agencies cannot influence the selection of an athlete neither the appointment nor removal of the Boards of Sporting Bodies which are independent sporting entities whose autonomy is sacrosanct under the Olympic Charter and general principles of sports law.

The Sports Company is currently following its established procedures and protocols with respect to this particular issue.

The company along with the Ministry is also conducting a comprehensive review of all the funding and other support policies with a view to determining where gaps and anomalies exist within the various procedures and systems that may have hampered governance processes over the past few years.

Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left), Finance Minister Colm Imbert (centre) and former Trinidad and Tobago international hockey goalkeeper Joey Lewis at a sod turning event. (Courtesy DMRCTT)
Photo: Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left), Finance Minister Colm Imbert (centre) and former Trinidad and Tobago international hockey goalkeeper Joey Lewis at a sod turning event.
(Courtesy DMRCTT)

This is all being done to ensure more effective accountability, transparency and an overall more robust governance structure in both state entities.

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39 comments

  1. Waste of time Daryl ‘ivy archer’ Smith. You could care less about Thema and the TTGF.

  2. Ah well …More smoke screens and mirrors!

  3. This action presents an aura of seriousness but the timing considering photogate to withdrawal of Thema says to me that this is solely for the optics and nothing substantive will come out of this request. They haven’t required audits for funding so how serious do you expect the detail of this report and its analysis. Pure smoke and mirrors.

    I am astonished that our government and sports administrators remain ignorant of the power of technology that informs us 24/7 on issues/processes world wide while they continue to make statements & take actions as though we wait for information from the daily Guardian or Express. Are they that stupid or just so arrogant that we can’t do anything ?

  4. It will be interesting for MARQUEZ, the President of TTGF to explain the following….TT$58,196.76 was spent for Gymnast Thema Williams, her coach John Geddert and massage therapist Nicole Fuentes to participate the Olympic Test Event in Rio……..No funds were disbursed from the Sports Company for neither Marisa Dick nor Ricardo Lue Shue to attend the Olympic Test Event.

  5. Nothing about the lack of audited accounts? Guess one thing at a time?

  6. is FIFA is PANAMA PAPERS is NEPOTISM and now this … dare I say FIGA …… A country really gets the government it deserves boi?

  7. Let’s be clear those funds do not belong to SPORTT. As a tax payer that’s MY recession challenged money; as such I don’t have to await any Report .I am demanding that my money be repaid immediately.
    I am sure that the Good Samaritan or Georgette Heinz ( me thinks it’s one and the same individual) who financed Ms Dick ‘ s trip will be willing to accede to my request….nay demand!!

  8. I’ll just quote Martin Luther King here: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice EVERYWHERE”. When will it all end so that honesty and justice can prevail?

  9. what do these pics suggest. all I could see is a big set up

  10. Maybe Burd the Minister’s caution is understandable

  11. Im heating the name David Marquez and didn’t realise it was the Minister and my old class prefect at Saints and believe his brother in the same class with Lasana and Stuart…but that is an irrelevant observation… Did any one pay attention to Andre Baptiste program last evening…before he seemed to urging the Minister to take action last night his program seemed to chastise listeners and fans for blaming the association and not open to both sides of the story…interesting

    • I thought it very interesting too Paul. I heard the Minister and the Marquez were very chummy but I don’t know if it was true.
      Like you said, the fact that we all went to the same school doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Wendell Marquez was cool though. That was his brother? I wondered about that.

    • Yeah but I just recognize that eh…lol…doh make nothing out of my observation… His brother use to lead the intercol drumming…

  12. Bite on my neck? You take me for Tino Best? Lol.

  13. he has been converted!!! its like the walking dead, sad to say Lasana has been bitten!! check to see if he ha bite marks on his neck!!

  14. I love this photo…why can’t everyone else follow the example of these two young ladies? By all means let us get to the bottom of the entire issue and take corrective action where justified, but please cease and desist from the malicious personal attacks and address the issues.

    • in my book a piture never tells a true story..only a perception of what we want to see…is only when the soul is open there the truth can be revealed!! that pictures says a lets take a picture but Dick is gonna cut throat

    • I like to wait for evidence. So far, I haven’t seen Marisa do anything but accept an invitation to represent Trinidad and Tobago.
      SO I’d also say people shouldn’t blame her for decisions taken above her head.

  15. A note of caution. I don’t usually fasten my seatbelt when a politician promises a “comprehensive review”… We will see. 😉

    • Indeed. It’s less about the actual review and more about the fact that we forced them to appear to act. They know we are watching and we smell blood in the water. The board MUST RESIGN.

    • Okay. It is an acknowledgment that there is public interest. Quite true.

    • I think it may be a bit premature to expect a just outcome from this. Do we know if the report is going to be investigated? do we know if fact checking will take place? suppose it is just rubber stamped and that’s the end of that?

      we will just have to wait and see. i suspect though that pressure/fact checking on the part of other persons who may then wish to expose with contradicting evidence, of the facts as presented by the TTGF, and the Dicks, may be the only salient thing to do at this point in time.

      Not sure if i have faith in SPORTT or this is just formality on their part to seem fair.

  16. hmm …… one lie leads to another …

  17. The noose tightening. I hope he also goes after the unaudited accounts