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“Torpedo”: We feel the Sport Ministry is deliberately ‘stiff-arming’ national athletes

“When our minds should have been in training mode and preparing for Rio, they were directly derailing our focus with issues that should not have been.

“The Ministry has a system in place that is intended to help and facilitate athletes representing the country, but instead we feel as though they are against us and have become directly vindictive in the process of trying to stiff-arm us.”

The following press statement on deteriorating relations between the Ministry of Sport, Sport Minister Darryl Smith and Trinidad and Tobago international athletes was submitted by three-time Olympic sprinter and medalist Richard “Torpedo” Thompson:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) has a laugh with NAAA president Ephraim Serrette at the 2016 NAAA Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 25 June 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister Darryl Smith (left) has a laugh with NAAA president Ephraim Serrette at the 2016 NAAA Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 25 June 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Here we go again! It was brought to my attention that an “anonymous” source from the Ministry of Sport—quite possibly the same person who has never heard of Marc Burns—made a statement in response to mine recently [on the inability of Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic athletes to access funding from the Elite Athlete Assistance Programme].

This source was reportedly “not authorised to make a statement on the issue” [but] still proceeded to state that the athletes were not compliant with the format for receiving funding.

To begin with, the method in which we submitted our information to receive funding to prepare for 2016 was no different to the past eight years. People like Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Emanuel Callender, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, as well as members of the 4x400m London Olympics Bronze medal team have all followed the precedented procedure.

I understand that based on questionable actions—unrelated to the athletes—from previous administrations, this current administration has to avoid a recurrence of such issues. However, in order for there to be a smooth transition and fair overlap for the athletes, a certain level of discretion and common sense has to be exercised.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago's London Olympics 4x100 metre relay team of (from left) Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callender, Marc Burns and Keston Bledman pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) in a ceremony at The Anchorage, Carenage on 29 June 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s London Olympics 4×100 metre relay team of (from left) Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callender, Marc Burns and Keston Bledman pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (centre) in a ceremony at The Anchorage, Carenage on 29 June 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

In order to be reimbursed the money spent to prepare for the 2016 season, we are being asked to present receipts from two years ago (2014-15). Had this been the procedure that we followed for close to a decade, or had there been some sort of indication that physical receipts were going to be demanded, we would have kept them and gladly turned them in.

When our minds should have been in training mode and preparing for Rio, they were directly derailing our focus with issues that should not have been.

The Ministry has a system in place that is intended to help and facilitate athletes representing the country, but instead we feel as though they are against us and have become directly vindictive in the process of trying to stiff-arm us.

The sensible thing for them to do would have been to acknowledge the fact that there was a different system prior to their governance and facilitate our preparations with warning that there was going to be a different procedure being introduced moving forward—and failure to comply with that would result in ineligibility to receive funds. Simple.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Khalifa St Fort (right) grabs the baton from teammate Kelly Ann Baptiste in the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay Round 1 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 18 August 2016. (Copyright Jewel Samad/AFP 2016)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Khalifa St Fort (right) grabs the baton from teammate Kelly Ann Baptiste in the Women’s 4 x 100m Relay Round 1 at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on 18 August 2016.
(Copyright Jewel Samad/AFP 2016)

Instead, they have made this into an Administration vs Athlete issue and many athletes across many different sporting disciplines have been left stranded.

Contrary to popular belief, several Olympians/national athletes do not have contracts and depend solely on the Government’s assistance to prepare. When funding comes late, or not at all, the chances of having the success that the entire country expects are slim to none.

Several of our T&T athletes face these challenges and are placed at an automatic disadvantage. Many disciplines like hockey, rugby, swimming, judo, cycling, table tennis, women’s football and other sports are afraid to speak out about their challenges to the media because they are afraid to be blacklisted and then not receive any funding at all.

But how do we expect to see progress or greatness internationally when these people are making phone call after phone call and sending email after email with not even the courtesy of a reply?

Both Marc Burns and Ade Alleyne-Forte have not received funding since 2013. These are both London 2012 Olympic medalists. In efforts to mount the podium again in 2016 they reached out to the Government in Olympic desperation to no avail.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago 4x400 metre relay team (from left) Jarrin Solomon, Lalonde Gordon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Deon Lendore celebrate their third place finish at the London 2012 Olympic Games on 10 August 2012. (Copyright AFP 2017/Eric Feferberg)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago 4×400 metre relay team (from left) Jarrin Solomon, Lalonde Gordon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Deon Lendore celebrate their third place finish at the London 2012 Olympic Games on 10 August 2012.
(Copyright AFP 2017/Eric Feferberg)

Alleyne-Forte was forced to find a night job in order to cover some of his very basic needs and stayed by Jarrin Solomon’s dad because he couldn’t afford to pay to rent. This is an Olympic medalist people—and also someone who had recent success as a part of the 2016 World indoor Championship 4x400m Bronze medal team.

One has to question where the funding allocated for elite athletes has gone seeing that the vast majority of us have not received it. Maybe the “anonymous” source should address this issue.

I will also make it very clear that I have zero political agenda and that this post is not to try to make the current Government look bad. I have represented the country long enough to see the flawed system under both the PNM and UNC and have actually expressed my disapproval under both governing bodies. But I have had enough of our athletes being taken advantage of—especially when there’s the level of criticism as there was by the nation subsequent to Rio.

In November, I messaged the Minister via What’s App with a humble request to come to the office to have a conversation about these same issues. No reply! (Of which I have proof).

Photo: (From left) Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago facility manager Anthony Blake, three-time Olympic medalist Richard "Torpedo" Thompson, Sport Minister Darryl Smith and Public Utilities Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.
Photo: (From left) Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago facility manager Anthony Blake, three-time Olympic medalist Richard “Torpedo” Thompson, Sport Minister Darryl Smith and Public Utilities Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.

Mind you, this is the day after I was asked to accompany him at the track for a media release. Pictures, hand shakes, the usual politicking… then Casper came into effect.

I do not want to hear from any more “anonymous” sources from the Ministry. This is what we have a Minister for—to address issues like these, not delegate responsibility. I have tried to cooperate with Minister Darryl Smith and his officials without having to make public statements but he has failed to deliver. So I’m left with no other choice.

This is already very lengthy, so I’ll leave it at this. Both the athletes and administration have the same goals for our country. Let us find a way to achieve these results with as little complications as possible.

This can only be accomplished through proper communication. I patiently await a hearing from the relevant individuals.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago sprinters (from left) Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callender and Rondel Sorrillo watch the electronic scoreboard after their disqualification from the 4x100 metre event during the Rio 2106 Olympic Games. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago sprinters (from left) Richard Thompson, Emmanuel Callender and Rondel Sorrillo watch the electronic scoreboard after their disqualification from the 4×100 metre event during the Rio 2106 Olympic Games.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

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109 comments

  1. Well the TTGF at the time certainly did their best and were successfull at dethroning Thema from her rightful place as the representative for Trinidad, but then again that was a personal and collaborative attack on her by the then executive members of the TTGF.

  2. Go and discuss together like grown men.

  3. These athletes behave like they are so consistent and 99% of them you don’t even know what they doing with the funding. Kelly Ann Baptiste was guilty of doping never apologized to the public and we are continuing to fund her and she can’t make a final. Neither half of them who begging for funding. Know when your time is up.

  4. Allyuh keep away from dem politicians and they promises dey blightins allyuh espcially one called smith

  5. Other top athletes in the world depend on performances to attract sponsors our athletes depend on the government but dont perform to meet world standards to match all they think the government should give them.

  6. Why these Office larks always feel is their Money

  7. N they does be quick to take credit when our athlete perform well. A set a waste a time wii

  8. There are always people making excuses for the Ministry of Sports and others. Steupppes, ah done talk, yes.

  9. The sad thing is that the Minister will not be asked to account for his lack of performance by his higher ups!!!

  10. “Agree Mr. Rochford……was trying to be disrespectful….”

    Really Jamaal K Blackburn. Quite baffling how one can assume who has little information or none. Amazing! Good save Kevin Harrison.

    • Timothy, I’ve been following the exchange. I think there was a typo there. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, what he was trying to say is “agree Mr Rochford…… wasn’t trying to be disrespectful”. It was a typo in that he left out ‘n’t’ – my take. He was blunt so what . I didn’t see him as disrespectful. I’ve seen much worst here

    • Lasana Liburd I agree and he seemed youthful so it’s a pity because it’s up to us the more mature to nurture that kind of energy not shut it off. It’s a pity that he left

    • Yh but his initial meme was kinda disrespectful n uncalled for..his later contributions should have come first.. So hopefully he learns a valuable lesson here..

    • He went from shutting us up to telling us we have to do more in a flash. Think he just confused himself in the end.

    • Lasana Liburd all yuh hard boy! Cherise give the young man a bligh

    • I’m willing to inno. I’m all for debates and hearing people’s point of views but doh tell me shut up. Lol

    • Jamaal looks to have taken his exit. A pity. A little personality is no bad thing. Once he is trying to participate and not block conversation of course.

    • Timothy Rochford I saw that! However, I’m always willing to offer another chance to everyone. I viewed this young man’s post as an opportunity to help him by showing him the error of his ways. I found it brash also but I was encouraged that he continued to exchange ideas. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to all especially the younger ones, so though it might have been offensive, I never thought that he intended to shut down conversations because he continued to engage meaningfully. The youth need guidance not always strict reprimand. I’ve been called an educated ass in this link, I found it funny coming from a grown man who felt that being an uneducated ass was superior. I laughed! Guidance is all that’s needed imho

    • Hahaha as l said Brian Harry I hear you. I guess I’m accustomed to the civil, educated debates on Lasana’s site. But saying the first thing that comes to your head can be accepted as a rush of blood but taking the time to type said thought is a bit intolerant for me. I do respect your take on it though and agree that he needs some sort of help and/or encouragement.

    • Timothy Rochford he needs guidance. Have we stopped to consider that he might have learned from the elders around him? Our political leaders buff us all day long even when they have zero ideas and are useless. In this young man there’s hope

    • And Timothy I’m not disagreeing with you but just offering a different take

    • Just in case you missed this from Jamaal K Blackburn…Brian Harry.
      But its all good, I hear you.
      {Kevin Hart meme}
      *Attention: Unless you know the whole situation, keep your mouth shut!*

  11. Ok, at the risk of being shot down…I’m now just reading these posts. Mr Blackburns debut post with the meme was a little abrupt. But he appears to be an insider from MSYA. He seems to be frustrated with the system he works in, but I detected a passion for the job. Having worked in the ministry, I can tell you that information is compartmentalized. It is sometimes difficult to get the whole picture. For example, you may have a worker tasked to look after 10 elite athletes. They will have a supervisor and a manager and would be overseen by the director of sport or the CEO of sportt who then reports to the P.S. and maybe the Minister. Any one of those layers could decide that the application isn’t correctly completed. So if the athlete speaks to any one of those people, he may be told that all is ok and money will be issued, yet it’s sitting on someone’s desk! These layers of red tape are where the delays and bad decisions occur.

  12. Agree Mr. Rochford……was trying to be disrespectful….just want us to stop talking as though we know more than the situation it self….we have a right to speak but not with little information…. anyways guys I’m gonna step aside you’ll be cool…..peace

  13. And that bold post with Kevin Hart is very disrespectful. For future reference, hopefully.

  14. Just a little friendly advice Jamaal K Blackburn, your contribution will be respected if you say that YOU do not know all the facts and do not assume that others don’t.

  15. {Kevin Hart meme}
    *Attention: Unless you know the whole situation, keep your mouth shut!*

    • Keeping your mouth shut is the reason nothing functions in T&T to the benefit of the man in the street. Everything is a damn secret. This is a problem going on for decades. The damn ‘officials’, whomever the hell they might be, are like predators carrying on like glorified hifoluten nincompoops.

    • The powers that be have to answer questions. That is their job. Not for the people to shut up.
      If you think otherwise, you are in the wrong century pal.

    • Naah, Jamaal K Blackburn did not suggest that we zip it. Naaaaaaaaaahhh

    • Kenneth H. Ransome Jr. Thank you.

    • It says UNLESS you know the WHOLE SITUATION, keep your mouth SHUT all you highlighted was the “Keep your mouth shut” and you made a good example of my point…. you took piece of the picture and made your full comment and that’s where we as society fall short we have no full idea of what the situation is we hear pieces of the stories and make it in to a full story. The point is know everything and feel free to speak

    • Jamaal K Blackburn While we waiting to ‘know everything’ the athletes are suffering. That strategy defeats the purpose of assuring our athletes gets immediate relief. Listen, regardless of what we might know, the athletes are suffering financially, mentally, and physically. WE NEED TO CHALLENGE the status quo, not dilly dally to find out EVERYTHING. Please wake up These people need to be held to account for their incompetence. I guess you are waiting to know everything about LifeSpot before you protest, right?

    • Paula Trini Ayoung Oh my goodness, please do not bring up LifeSport, please. But yes, they still waiting to know everything before they open their mouths

    • I just heard about Lifesport ….i was not in Lifesport what am i commenting about do I have full information in my hands do I know the members in Lifesport was I in meetings in Lifesport how do i know Lifesport……..I only know it because reporter got a hold of SOME information made a story and the country decided that Lifesport is corrupt just by like that……we speak a lot on pieces of information ………I can say that Paula is a idiot make a great story of it an the whole country can agree on it and share it around social media , call up radio station and agree with me because I just felt like saying Paula is an idiot and you might be the nicest person in the world…. and that’s my point we take pieces and create another story

    • Jamaal…no disrespect meant to you pal but Paula and Kenneth have a very good point. These officials and pseudo gov’t officials operate within the grey areas and shrouded lines knowing that we don’t know EVERYTHING (its almost impossible to get the whole truth unless someone turns whistle blower)…that is how they manipulate us and avoid detection. I say is time to ‘LOUD UP’ the situation as they say and let the chips fall where they may….if ppl are vindicated – GREAT….if not then face the consequences.

    • I’m not saying they don’t…..i’m saying we speak a lot with little information, we speak a lot with little information…….when you scroll and read everyone comment it’s like everyone knows the whole story… come on …..if you have full evidence you have all right to speak but don’t waste you breathe on something you don’t full know and don’rt understand

    • What makes you think we don’t have the information? Is it because you have a front row seat behind the scenes and hob-nob with the ‘powers that be’? Listen, assuming the slave mentality indoctrinated into the masses during colonization, especially those of us of African descent, suggests that we keep our mouths shut or else. Well, NOT HAPPENING, Not anymore! In T&T, the sporting ‘officials’ will threaten to destroy those who challenge them, as Thompson is doing on behalf of the T&T athletes. I know, I have been there! These officials love to muffle and blacklist those who hold them to account and or publicly exposes their poor modus operandi. Their draconian approach to leadership has to be put in check regardless of whether we have all the information.

    • Let me ask you 3 fair question and it’s a yes or no…..1. Do you work in the Ministry of Sport ? 2. Are you a friend of personal Richard Thompson ? 3. Do you have full information of the Behind the scenes ? i not asking theses questions to insult you…..it’s just a yes or no question

    • Jamaal K Blackburn Let me ask you these questions! Has any elite athlete struggling to make ends meet, abroad, ever called you to ask for assistance? Has any elite athlete ever called you for counsel because of illness etc and can’t afford to pay his/her medical bills? Has any elite athlete ever called you because he/she has been evicted due to non-payment of rent? Think about that. T&T ‘elite’ athletes who should be fully funded NOT struggling to survive especially when they have followed the guidelines through which they will be approved funding. That should not be happening. The big question is… WHERE THE MONEY GONE?

    • Jamaal K Blackburn Doh ask questions nah.. You carry on and keep your mouth shut until you know the ‘ALL’ the facts. I have been there and know what these athletes are going through. The elite athletes need to step it up and expose the broken promises and lies of these ‘officials’

    • And why must we keep our mouths shut?? Smh.

    • And that’s the point…… I don’t know these questions, you don’t know these question, no one here know these questions but we speak as if we do …..and that’s why Trinidad is in this condition we speak a lot of things we don’t fully know we want our voice to be heard….we want to sound so deep with our points and the world is spinning out of control be people rather debate and speak with little information than act with full information……..we need to come together with sound information sound evidence and hold people accountable for the mess they are putting our nation in than spend 45 minutes debating with each on information we don’t even have a clue with what is really going on

    • Jamaal K Blackburn, let me ask you a question: Have all the elite athletes received their money?
      If the answer is no, then there is something to talk about and the onus is on the Sport Ministry to immediately provide answers. Not so?
      Days have passed, the Sport Ministry has said nothing… And you think the problem here is that people are talking about it?
      That’s some logic there pal.

    • Let me take a piece of what i was of what i’m saying……I don’t know these questions, you don’t know these question, no one here know these questions but we speak as if we do …..and that’s why Trinidad is in this condition we speak a lot of things we don’t fully know we want our voice to be heard….we want to sound so deep with our points and the world is spinning out of control be people rather debate and speak with little information than act with full information……..we need to come together with sound information sound evidence and hold people accountable for the mess they are putting our nation in than spend 45 minutes debating with each on information we don’t even have a clue with what is really going on

    • Jamaal K Blackburn Sorry o say this but you are making no sense!

    • Jamaal, it is hilarious that you want to talk about “sounding deep” when you start your thread with a meme.
      I suppose you are aware of slander and libel. I presume you know that the Sport Ministry has an entire arm dedicated to communication. And you would surely know that the Sport Ministry has responded within minutes to much less than a three-time Olympic medalist calling them out.
      But here’s the thing fellah. Richard Thompson is one of the parties involved in this directly.
      How can you say wait for answers when one of the persons directly involved has issued a statement? This is not hearsay.
      Jamaal, you’re failing really badly here.
      Go get answers and come back. Don’t come here to stop questions. Wrong group pardner.

    • Oh, Richard Thompson is not the first either. Emmanuel Callender, Njisane Phillip, Jehue Gordon and Cleopatra Borel all pointed to issues.
      You’re the one who seems to be in an information vacuum here. Maybe you should be the one who keeps quiet and reads more.
      Bring information to the party pardner. But you’re not silencing anyone in these parts.

    • The $60,000 TT dollars they provide is less than $10,000 US a year.
      If allyu think an athlete could survive on that. Then Dr Sayers the bush doctor have some ting for allyu brain.
      The Elite funding which I believe is just over $200,000 TT or $30,000 US is not forthcoming unless you provide receipts for the past three years.
      That is how they are trying to circumvent the payments to athletes.

    • I’m not disagreeing with how you’ll feel……I’m saying that we speak alot….we comment alot…..we debate alot without comprehension…..you don’t know what’s going on…….i don’t know what’s going I put that meme up because I’m tired of the way society has become we a quick to speak on hot topics and we have no idea what’s going on……none of us here knows the full story but we here debating and for what…. about what ???

    • If you don’t know what the debate is about Jamaal, you have several options.
      Read and try to understand, ask a question and share your view or just let it wash over you and plan your Carnival season.
      Trying to silence a conversation because you don’t get it or can’t contribute isn’t civil or welcome.

    • Jamal is a Wired Newb? He clearly not used to what goes in these here parts

    • Jamaal boy u taking all this time out of your day to type and you still eh making sense? That’s tragic. Clearly you alone know what you talking about. Bottom line is this: our athletes are speaking out about injustice and the media has a duty to give them a space to tell their stories and let their voices be heard…They deserve what is owed to them. Period…i can’t waste anymore brain cells on this thread. U take care.

    • Politicians doing non sense we speaking……police doing non sense we speaking criminals doing non sense we speaking and that’s why they taking advantage of athletes and citizens cause all we are doing is speaking……forget the facebook comments and the twitter and let’s start coming together with proper details a put people behind bars you have time to get kiks off my meme or saying I not making sense but no one is saying how do we fix this nation who do we get the upper heads to stop taking advantage of us !!!

    • Jamaal…..how can you say we don’t know what’s going on when Lasana Liburdhas just provided you with anecdotal evidence of statements from the athletes involved. Granted its just one side….but in the face of a recalcitrant association your only recourse IS to agitate and ask questions….shake the tree and see what falls – why you want to wait on ALLLL the evidence b4 commenting? That could take years – like a COI – If that’s your way then great for you, but we are not bumping gums on the slightest whiff of a story….these are issues aired in the public domain for over 2/3 years….these are recurring issues with the various federations going on for years now, unprofessional conduct, vindictiveness and a lack of accountability….what evidence you need again to to make accusations and hold ppl accountable. If they are exonerated then great but until then we probe and we will comment and we will ask the questions.

    • So my questions is how do we fix this, how do we help our athletes ? How do we fix this nation ?

    • Jamaal K Blackburn there is no quick fix. If an athlete speaks out he is blacklisted…. if a Coach speaks out he is black listed. …I know ..trust me….

    • aye..trying to understand how some people think is like trying to describe the scent of the number 9 inno…Jamaal has no opinion…no coherent thought process…his total premise is we should all say nothing because he perceives we don not know the whole story…Jamaal dear…what we are debating is what we DO KNOW…we know what was posted by Mr. Thompson…we know the current MYSA is doing NADA for sports…if you have something to add to the debate please do so…if not Army tickets on sale…see if yuh could procure 1

    • Ahhhh…..welcome to group Jamaal! 😉 ….that’s what we trying to do here in our likkle chat. Breaking down systemic corruption, behaviours and fiefdom is never easy…it took 40yrs for the Berlin Wall to fall only to be replaced by the same wall in ppl’s minds and memories. Open discussion helps as a sort of catharsis to break down the barriers in the mind and soon a way fwd is found…the reality is a pressure group cannot hire and fire but we air our views and get ppl to see and understand for themselves….there is a place for opposing viewpoints, including yours…. notwithstanding however much the many may disagree.

    • Precisely Adam McKell. Jamaal K Blackburn you are welcoming to share ideas for sure. Before we get to seeking a solution, we must first agree that there is a problem and what the problem is.
      If you haven’t gotten there yet, then you’re speeding.
      But we often discuss solutions here too. And we are fortunate to have coaches, administrators and past and present athletes who chime in and share their knowledge as well.

    • Whoever is the person that blacklist the athletes and coaches name should call and not hidden…how do we get these men out of their chairs ?

    • Adam Lasana come together and start working on strategies to make Lasana plan coming into action ……I’m not trying to be weird here but we are the change…..we can get rid of this nonsense !!!

    • Jamaal K Blackburn when an athlete is blacklisted he/she is denied privileges and opportunities. ..it is not one person that is responsible it is an Administrative decision. ..one which is not recorded in any minutes or any official correspondence.
      Example: if they are selecting athletes to go to a competition and say that athletes will be selected according to them making a standard if four athletes make the standard and Richard Thompson is one of them they will change the selection process to say we are only selecting 3 athletes to go.
      It is done in a very crafty and vidictive way.

    • Ms. Nicole I won’t go to your level it’s not about attacks am not about that…..I’m just tired of us speaking with little information and that includes myself

    • So Richard or whomever fires back and say that the rules have been changed. They will say that due to financial restraints they cannot carry more than three.
      But …. when they presented their budget to the Ministry at the beginning if the year they include all competitions and athletes based on standards so where do that left over money go.
      Well it goes into a General Account to be used not for other competitions but for ‘other purposes’

    • “Getting them out of their chairs”…Jamaal K Blackburn…..therein lies the rub, there’s a pesky likkle issue of ‘due process’..lol….sometimes it can be a nuisance, just as going to court for calling wrong name! lol But the idea is to discuss in this space the known facts and decipher what we can from the unknown….its a process, but ppl are little more enlightened as we go along and hopefully that little spark can bring about a change in attitude that comes from the ground up. Maybe that agitation for change and accountability should groundswell into defintive action in the streets of PoS….lol …but I don’t think we’re about that here yet….maybe Lasana Liburd can fill in the gaps there? Tongue firmly in cheek here Las.

    • You got it spot on Adam. The idea is to give people relevant information and ask the right questions. We can’t get anywhere without that.
      I think we have seen changes come from forums already, which is the powers that be trying to be on the right side of a groundswell of emotion.
      Of course you are going to need shoes on the pavement eventually. But this is the incubator and I think it is an important part of the process.

    • Lasana Liburd you let that jamaal guy sidet track a whole conversation ?!?! Energies wasted there

  16. Daryl Smith has his hands ‘full’. quite preoccupied with ‘handling’ things at the Sports Ministry. Fingers too busy to reply to Whatsapp.

  17. So much money to steal and so little time..

    There needs to be a revolution in Trinidad and Tobago to rid us of these corrupt politicians

  18. We are so backward in our thinking regarding sports. …we only recognize athletes after they have achieved success. ..real mamaguy society. .
    Is there a plan for 2020 …NO..
    is there a plan for CARIFTA 2017 …NO..
    we are reactionary. … no long term planning. .. the two fellas in that picture says it all

  19. The NAAA TT and the TTOC are just pappyshows, yes. They need to stop mumbling behind the scenes, probably chastising Thompson and strategizing to blacklist him. They need to make a genuine stance in support of Thompson and the elite athletes. Serrette, Commissong, the Minister of Sports, and Brian Lewis are disappointing and MUST be replaced, now.

  20. The sports minister should get off the Roti and double up on performance.

  21. There is a prevailing idea within these gov’t agencies that ‘elite’ athletes don’t actually need the funding since they’re getting ‘big bucks’ through sponsorship deals . appearance fees etc….in fact they believe they should be ‘giving back’ – like Usain nuh…laughable. So when athletes like Richard, who have done well, speak out, they don’t feel the urgency to treat with their financial issues…..if an athlete qualifies for funding and is indeed registered for said funding under the Elite Athletes Program, why should there be skepticism and apathy?! Professionalism is lacking in all our associations….Brian Harry…we’ve had this discussion many times over and it continues to rear its jaundiced head at its own….smfh.

  22. it is so much you can take….before you exploded….

  23. What are the performance expectations for these ministers and other officials? How do we know when they are or are not performing? Unless these parameters are set, we are shooting into the wind. Why am I not surprised by Richards comments? I expected nothing ….. period

    • In this case, there is precedent for the things that the Sport Ministry assists athletes and sporting bodies with and even the things they get involved in.
      From the Thema Williams incident go forward, it was clear that he was as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.
      We are not even talking financial issues here, just things that he could try to hold court on if he cared about sport.

    • Sadly I don’t think we have ever had standards for Ministers. That’s why the murder rate spirals and the ministers, police officers etc are still there, year after year.

      So disappointed with Darryl Smith. He seemed like he was one of the few chosen to make a difference. All he seems set on doing is having his photo taken for press purposes.

    • Freal. I too had some hope in the beginning that he would be different…but here we are..

    • Cherisse I’m just asking a question here…. “on what did you base such hope?”

    • Well he was a former athlete and one of his first speeches as sport minister he bragged about that fact and stated that he ‘knows how it is’ .. and so I had hope that at last we have a sport minister who will put sport and athletes before greed power and politics..

    • Cherisse Moe ah yes he did. But even in that speech I felt he was useless because he never showed leadership. You don’t have to be an athlete to be a good sports administrator or leader. I do understand your view though

    • I didnt know him before that speech so that was what I held onto.

  24. As someone who was involved in an NSO in the past, the funding structure is abysmal. There have been scenarios that persons with ‘contacts’ get through with no issue or serious checks, while others are given the run around.
    After touting the 10 Golds concept, and parading these guys in front of the cameras, it is disgusting the way athletes are treated. No wonder there was such a poor showing at Rio.

  25. Someone told me recently that my proposal for a Middle Distance program that I submitted would have no problem getting Government approval because the Sport Minister seems to be a nice fella…he is always smiling and seems approachable. … that is how they judge the Ministers.

  26. Third World is as Third World does…smfh.

    I loved how he covered all his bases in his letter…I would love to hear how they will/could try and blame it on the athletes now.

  27. Adding to that, Torpedo is correct in his belief that criteria for funding should not be retrospective. Asking to prove something from two yeas ago is not a problem – once you knew two years ago that it had to be proved! Football had the same issue when SPORTT cut funding from $83,000 to $50,000 per club retrospectively. No warning! So clubs contracted players based on one figure only to receive 40% less. No one is complaining about funding cuts during a recession. But they have to be thought through. So many countries have more respect for sport than T&T. Yet it’s we who shout loudest when our athletes fail.

    • Kevin Harrison if the issue was simply the finance minister delaying the release of funds then this same problem would not have occurred in the recent past under the previous govt. The issue is the mismanagement of funds across the board in this country and the people who have been appointed to serve conveniently forgetting their obligations and promises to the people as soon as they win elections. For an athlete like Marc to not have elite funding since 2013 we can see that the problem is indeed deeper than that. We do not hold our govt accountable because we are a wine n jam country and we don’t really bother to speak out or demand change unless it directly affects us.

  28. to much VINDICTIVENESS with this minister…

  29. To be absolutely fair and non biased, I do not think that the Minister of Sport is deliberately delaying the release of funds. I simply believe that Colm Imbert is not releasing funds to the Ministry. You could argue that Minister Smith should be fighting hard for his funds (perhaps he is) but ultimately the pressure to release finances to Ministries falls to Dr Rowley and his cabinet. Clearly, there is little respect for athletes. Yet we see millions spent on Tarouba and new facilities in Santa Cruz and Diego Martin. But why do we build these facilities when stadiums like Manny Ramjohn, Larry Gomes and Dwight Yorke can;’t be used for lack of lights etc? We light the community fields for kids to aspire to what? Our sporting role models are being starved and disrespected.

  30. I tired yes lisanna …when would we progress ,somebody telll us the solution …

  31. Sport Minister Darryl Smith should have been removed in the first reshuffle. He doesn’t care about sport and, once he is there, I’d have to assume that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley does not care about sport either.

  32. He will wait until Jesus Christ returns. All I’ve ever seen that Minister do is take pictures.

  33. This minister is only interested in posing for a Photo’s with the athlete…period…