TTFA board appoints Camara as general secretary in secret ballot; Stern named U-17 coach

Camara David, a UWI Sports Management part-time lecturer and former Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) general secretary, will assume the post of Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) general secretary for the next 12 months, after he was appointed by the TTFA board last night.

David, who is just 28 years old and holds a FIFA Masters Degree in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, will officially replace Justin Latapy-George on 1 March 2019, although, in truth, he began making appearances as ‘general secretary’ since December 2018—to no little controversy.

Photo: Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence (far right) poses with TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right), team manager Richard Piper (second from left) and Camara David (far left) in 2018.
(Copyright Alan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

At the TTFA’s 2018 AGM, members moved a motion crediting Latapy-George for his efforts and urging football president David John-Williams not to make a change, with just eight months left in his term. Not for the first time, John-Williams proved that he is his own man.

The TTFA constitution dictates that only the president can propose the hiring or dismissal of a general secretary—which is essentially the CEO of the local football body—but the board ultimately has the power to accept or reject his suggestion.

Last Wednesday, John-Williams raised the issue of hiring David but opted not to put it to a vote with an estimated eight from 13 board members opposed to the change.

Yesterday, there were 11 members present—Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties) and Julia Baptiste (TT Pro League) were both absent—for the reconvened meeting; and the president started the gathering by immediately demanding a vote. Tellingly, John-Williams requested a secret ballot, as was used the previous week to re-appoint Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence—on the suggestion of new board member and Eastern Football Association (EFATT) president Bandele Kamau.

And the vote was allegedly tallied as five for David and five against with one abstention.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams and Men’s National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence enjoy each other’s company during the Football for a Cause charity match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 26 October 2018.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

John-Williams then used his casting vote as president to break the deadlock and install his namesake—an ambitious young man who has been virtually inseparable from his side over the past year.

Unlike Lawrence, David’s contract will be passed before the board and should include KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). John-Williams, who refused to reveal Lawrence’s salary to the board, is believed to have already shared the financial terms for the new appointee which was considered an acceptable sum.

David is John-Williams’ third general secretary in his still uncompleted term, which is an unprecedented figure. Counting a five-week stint as interim general secretary by Paula Chester-Cumberbatch in the lead-up to the 31 November 2015 election, the TTFA had three general secretaries in 18 years prior to the current president taking office.

Azaad Khan served as general secretary for John-Williams’ first year in office before he opted to hire Latapy-George in late 2016. Latapy-George was walking on borrowed time since September 2018, though, when he admitted to Wired868 that John-Williams ordered him to withhold information from the board on the resignation of former vice-president Joanne Salazar.

Soon after, John-Williams told Latapy-George to begin looking for a new job and it was an open secret that the president would jettison him as soon as the AGM was out of the way.

Photo: TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George (right) poses with Panama ambassador Luis Cigarruista Vargas.
(Copyright TTFA Media)

Last night was the end of the line for Latapy-George and the beginning of the David era, which may generate little enthusiasm for half of the board and a significant portion of the general membership.

“I am thankful for the faith the president and the Board of the TTFA has put in me and I am very optimistic about the challenges ahead with God’s guidance,” David told TTFA Media. “The association is slowly but surely finding its feet on solid ground and I’m excited to be part of the change. Bringing back the public’s trust in the association and their love for the game is key and part of the major objectives I intend to achieve.”

In no less meaningful news, the TTFA board also agreed to activate the Men’s National Under-17 Team, which will have roughly two months to prepare for their opening 2018 World Youth Cup fixture.

The Junior Soca Warriors open their campaign against Bermuda on 1 May at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida while they tackle Jamaica and Mexico on 3 and 5 May respectively. Three of the four Group E teams will advance to the knock-out stage.

National Senior Team assistant coach Stern John, who has barely a year and a half’s experience as a head coach at Pro League outfit Central FC, was named National Under-17 Team head coach. The remainder of the staff will be appointed on 7 March.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team assistant coach Stern John (foreground) leads the squad in training at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on 8 March 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

John’s willingness to work without remuneration—other than his current stipend with the senior team—is believed to have been key to his selection. Similarly, the TTFA will try to fill the Under-17 Team’s technical staff with persons who are willing to work for free.

The TTFA also promised to place advertisements for coaching staff to run the Women’s National Under-17, Under-20 and Senior Teams. All staff members will be hired for two years while the new role of Head of Women’s Football—which is essentially a women’s technical director—will come with a four year contract.

Discussions between the Pro League and Super League clubs on the proposed merged league will continue from Ash Wednesday—on 6 March—from 6pm at a venue to be determined in Couva.

TTFA board members who met last night: David John-Williams (president), Ewing Davis (vice-president), Raeshawn Mars (Northern FA), Richard Quan Chan (Southern FA), Anthony Moore (Tobago FA), Joseph Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association), Sharon Warrick (Women’s League Football), Collin Partap (Central Football Association), Keith Look Loy (TTSL), Bandele Kamau (Eastern FA), Selby Browne (Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago).

Absent: Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties Football Union), Julia Baptiste (TT Pro League).

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  1. Here we go again, the recycling of the bootleg coaches continues in our sweet country eh Them really good yes

  2. Under 17 team activated for May? May next year?

  3. Oh how I wish we had someone like you doing journalism for Cricket! As I have said no one even speaks about cricket on these platforms! Great job Lasana Liburd.. awesome as usual

  4. I just hadda laugh an watch d ttfa membership take all dis crap an not say nothing…they like it so

  5. Camara’s real job description – just shut up, do what you are told, keep the bosses secrets, don’t ask questions and hope like hell you get paid. Wonder if there is a clause in there about not bringing court action against your employer?

  6. To mr latapy I’m sure you have a lot you could say of your tenure as GS and I hope you do maybe write a book and to Mr Camara with your qualifications and the young blood that you are I trust that you will not become a pupet but carry oit your duties without fear or favor. Thats all i ask thank you

  7. Lasana Liburd, What’s the big issue with secret ballot voting?
    Quite frankly I prefer this method. You know how juvenile football stakeholders tend to be, this is a good way of insulation the voter from victimisation in the future.

    • Kester, let’s say you’re my MP and we are concerned about an issue and ask you to represent us. But then we aren’t sure whether or not you voted for us.
      It is a matter of transparency.
      Notice now FIFA tells you which country voted for who in their own elections?
      When you’re less transparent than FIFA, time to take a serious look at yourself. Lol.

    • Okay, I guess from that stand point it is understandable.

    • I do understand that some people can be cowered. Or if you’re promised a bribe or something, you can at least vote according to conscious by secret ballot.
      But I’d rather have transparency.

    • Kester Lendor how do we know if the votes are legit …? Why should their be a need for a secret vote?

    • Then there are those who talk one way in public and vote differently in private.

    • Malik Johnson, how would the votes not be legit?

    • yeah. I forgot about that. Lol.

    • Chabeth Haynes a few months ago….DJW used votes of members who had resigned from the board to gain an upper hand on a previously contested vote.

    • Malik Johnson the votes are counted for all to see. At least that has been my experience. You just don’t know how anyone voted.
      We vote this way in general elections.
      People say they’ll vote for you and then they flip flop. That’s their right to so do.
      I honestly have no problem secret ballot.
      Prefer it actually.

    • Kestor’s understanding of how secret ballot is mine.

    • Adults representing stakeholders should proudly vote yay or nay or abstain and not have to hide behind a secret vote. Remember, they would (or should) have consulted with their own stakeholders before voting.. what is there to fear or to hide from?

    • Anyone afraid of victimisation should refuse the board role.

    • Kester Lendor from whom or what?

    • Kester Lendor let’s ask ourselves why wasn’t voting secret ballot done before now, as far as we know? Also, should board members be more fearful of “victimization” from the TTFA, or from the people they are representing? Let’s also ask ourselves if a board member is voting consistent with his discussions with the people they are representative of, what repercussions should they fear? This action seems directly as a result of fear of the TTFA President, and the quicker the organization gets back to a fearless, transparency organization, the faster there will be growth, prosperity and success on the field.. #justmythoughts

    • I’m not saying victimization or fear of being called out by the media isn’t the case here, but that isn’t always the reason for secret ballot voting.
      And it’s a valid way to vote.
      It’s just here people want to know who voted how because people want to know who flipped and who DJW has in his pocket, but secret ballot is an entirely acceptable way of casting a vote.

    • Has anyone ever seen secret ballot voting in parliament, or let’s say.. at the UN? Both would be representative board-like bodies. providing for public versus private considerations, would there be more pressure or less in either of those settings, as compared to the TTFA? Let’s let that marinate.. our TTFA board members may feel more pressure than our parliamentarians? Now it should make perfect sense why we are where we are on the football field and in the “boardroom”. Agreeing with Lasana. Board members are free to step down if the pressure or fear of victimization is too much to handle a vote openly and transparently..

    • Just out of curiosity… these board members, who represent various factions in football, they confer with the membership of those factions when voting at these board meetings, or are they voting their personal opinion?

    • Chabeth I know more than one who do and who report back to their members.
      Central FA had a board rep who refused to report back and they had him removed eventually.
      Some TTSL members pulled Look Loy up about (ostensibly) his own approach to his board duties.
      So some do. I’m pretty sure all don’t report back.
      John-Williams admitted early in his tenure that he assured Infantino of the TTFA’s support before he even had a word with his board. And in fact he didn’t even invite infantino to meet his board when he was first canvassing to be Fifa president.
      He said it was “his” vote.
      But we all know by now that DJW is a very special soul and that the football membership—by and large—love him just the way he is.

    • Lasana, I didn’t mean confer in the sense of report back on the occurrences at the TTFA board meetings.
      I meant confer in the sense of there is a meeting to discuss upcoming issues and the faction takes a position. So, there’s the DL reappointment or the Gen Sec issue, these factions meet to discuss that and come up with a faction position that the faction rep to the board is supposed to stick to? Cause that really is the only reason to not vote secret ballot. To ensure your rep is voting as the faction decided.

    • Chabeth I know for certain one zone that does it and whose representative will contact his own president (who presumably canvasses his executive) before making a decision.
      But I know that’s not universal.
      Some bodies tell their rep that they trust them to make the right call. And some reps simply take it upon themselves to decide unilaterally.

    • Ok. Well in that case, I see nothing wrong with secret ballot. And quite frankly, given the heat that anybody aligned with DJW faces from spaces such as this one, I understand why his supporters would want secret ballot.
      This isn’t the UN – where governments need to be sure that reps are voting in keeping with the government’s position – or parliament, where the party needs to know that MPs and senators are voting along party lines.
      It seems as if a significant number of board members are voting as they wish and not in keeping with any mandate from the faction they represent.

    • Chabeth Haynes they should be allowed to vote by secret ballot because they shouldn’t owe anyone accountability?

    • When the only person to whom you have to answer for your vote is yourself, there is nothing wrong with secret ballot.

    • Chabeth Haynes what about the heat anybody NOT aligned with him faces? There is a reason the women’s team is not active …. some started speaking out against him ……. HE created this melee …… and threatens anyone who disapproved ….did you know he threatened Lasana for posting fact based articles on him?

    • Malik Johnson I’m not privy to anything in Lasana’s personal life as we aren’t friends. Not even on Facebook. Lol.
      But you’re conflating multiple issues.
      A secret ballot vote is completely acceptable when you are only accountable to yourself for your vote.
      That is all I am saying.
      And that is why it is acceptable to use secret ballot voting for general elections all over the world.

    • Lasana Liburd mandated voting sounds nice at first but has its problems that as far as i can see now are more than the benefits. One simple one when we at triathlon played with that for our delegates at international congress: not all info that may come to light in a lively debate may be outlined in the cv of candidates or description of the vote in the agenda…. we reverted back to concience and a general outline of our goals…

    • Chabeth Haynes the revelation was simply to relay that the gentleman in question has made moves in the past to gain unfair advantages. As long as the secret ballot is used appropriately I don’t have a problem with that. I also wanted to reaffirm that “the heat anybody aligned with DJW faces” seems a peculiar perception of events ……

    • Malik Johnson Brian JordanBrian Chabeth Haynes when I was younger I was told the story a few men who decided to challenge the hiarchy of the FA. I was told members of the board were part of the discussions but went back to the bosses and alerted him of the desire of a few and that the regional associations were in support.
      Supposedly, on election day, an entirely new regional association was introduced ad being a member, produced financials and team names to vote in the election (that regional association Sri does not have a league and I think 2 or 3 clubs.
      I also understand that beach soccer, futsal and referees associations were creations in order to maintain the status quo.
      The gentlemen and some who sypported i understand were subsequently deemed persona non grata and removed from all football activities.
      You see why so.e people prefer secret ballot.

    • Kester Lendor no risk, no reward. Need brave people who not wedded to office man. Takes courage to bring needed change

    • Kester Lendor I feel you….point well taken…..not just about bravery need some strategy as well….I mean the devil is definitely using strategy along with his minions …….

    • Malik Johnson this only works with people of little courage and low self belief man..IMHO

    • Brian the last guy that showed kahunas was an old cigarette smoking Dutchman and he took us to the world cup ….courage it seems is not associated with Trinis …..

    • Malik Johnson SMH.. Keith seems to be trying, but ….

  8. what a f.cking joke the man has no integrity no experience not to mention being a big asshole but he coaching our next generation of footballers well I am not surprised shit everywhere from the president to the lackies

  9. “I am thankful for the faith the President and the Board of the TTFA has put in me and I am very optimistic about the challenges ahead with God’s guidance,”

  10. Well DJW is now in a position to pull the strings o. The GS who will discharged his mandate and will not necessarily what is in the best I test of football; the business of football and the players at all levels. What is Camara’s experience in leading and running and organizing and what are his successes I. So doing? Present me with the evidence please

  11. Camara David is actually 28 and not 38.

  12. how everything with the TTFA does sound like is always some underhand or bachannal thing so. . Wat happening with the woman program the go wait 2 months b4 a tournament to call the woman to start training…..

    • Joel Maloney yup, we’ll have a tournament and they’ll call us in two weeks before and then expect a miracle out of the women…and if we fail who cares. No proper development

    • SB Jacqueline they mad yes. Other countries in the Caribbean who we suppose to b better than coming n passing us n like we not seeing that….

    • Joel Maloney oh we are definitely getting passed up and passed quickly. There are open FIFA dates where you can call your national team to play friendlies of course the TTFA went back to no giving a damn about the women. Jamaica has eclipsed us, and Panama hasn’t stopped training even after not qualifying for the World Cup. It’s so sad to see, I won’t stop saying bring Coach Randy Waldrum back. He cared about the women and had a plan for development from the youth to the seniors!!

    • SB Jacqueline so true. i does always say it only have 2 National team the U14 n Men Senior team cus of who on d coaching staff…. if a certain person was on the woman technical staff they wuda b in training

    • Joel Maloney it takes a strong willed individual to stand up to abuse the women national players face. Sadly I see no solutions in sight to create an equal playing field for the women and that’s so disheartening with so many of my national teammates including myself now playing professional women’s football.

    • SB Jacqueline it very sad to see what they keep doing to what has been the most constant National team over the past years. every time the woman’s program looking better than the men some thing does always come up to disrupt the program… they just don’t care… i was involved in a training program to get players ready for national selection and just so the program stop. it have so much little things the TTFA could do to get more woman playing football but they don’t care

    • It is unfair the treatment so far however it does seem as though there is hope. The fact that they’re seeking a technical director for the program is a great start.

    • Trey Hart let’s hope they bring some thing to help develop the talented young ladies that this country have…..

    • Joel Maloney yes and I hope you continue your great work with your girls.

    • Trey Hart I will keep trying my best….

  13. Nigel Myers Men flipped. Simple. I and others argued against the secret ballot nonsense that was introduced last week for the first time in the history of the Board – to no avail. It was an act of betrayal under cover of the secret ballot by people who said they were on our and Latapy’s side minutes prior to the vote, all the while knowing full well they had flipped. As I said to the meeting after the vote, it was disgraceful. I have no respect for that. Stand up like a man or woman for what you believe. Disgraceful.

  14. I just find for a board member not to know the financial package of anybody employed by the ttfa is 100% wrong hopefully the books are kept in order so that whenever DJW is not in the seat again all will be revealed

  15. What percentage of times are all of the board members actually present for a meeting? Other than extenuating circumstances, I don’t understand why members will be absent for such important meetings. Those absences last night basically created the situation for Camara to be hired. Last week the majority were against his hiring, now he is hired. Dem cyar be taken seriously nah. Plenty grandcharging and political maneuvering.

    • Nigel Myers Men flipped. Simple. I and others argued against the secret ballot nonsense that was introduced last week for the first time in the history of the Board – to no avail. It was an act of betrayal by people who said they were on our and Latapy’s side minutes prior to the vote, all the while knowing full well they had flipped. As I said to the meeting after the vote, it was disgraceful.

  16. DJW is positioning himself to be reelected …all the signs point to it… makes my stomach feel queasy…. and he is bringing in all his rats…I mean “aligned associates” to confirm it …… concerned

  17. Sigh … I have hope that Camara will do a good job but am disappointed in the manner of his appointment.

    As for the U-17 coaches, I am willing to work for free. I have no coaching qualifications other than my extensive viewing time of many professional leagues, but if volunteering is the only criteria for selection, then why not?

  18. This is not the same camara he had no idea was general secretary when it first came out on concacaf site?

  19. DJW is poised to be re-elected if he runs again.
    Weren’t there two empty board positions that needed to be filled? Nothing happened with that?

  20. Secret ballot again.. So, in the era of secret votes, secret salaries, and secret financials, we are now only hiring people who will work for free to coach national teams? How is this considered progress?

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