Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) interim president Jameson Rigues will attempt to sack company secretary Peter Thomas, re-introduce seven suspended member clubs, and formally put off his own election date at an emergency meeting on Saturday evening—less than 24 hours before he is due to face UTT FC head coach and Trinidad and Tobago Hall of Fame footballer Clayton ‘JB’ Morris in the polls.
And if his board of directors do not like it, he suggested that they take him to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Rigues issued his position to the TTSL’s member clubs via email this evening, in what could be interpreted as a last ditch effort to avoid Sunday’s scheduled election—unanimously agreed by all four board members present at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
Second vice-president Eddison Dean and ordinary members Colin Murray, Terry Joseph and Anderson Veronique said the TTSL’s AGM last Sunday was improperly ended by Rigues, since he did not get the membership’s consent to do so.
Article 27 of the TTSL By-laws states: ‘the chairman of any meeting may, with the consent of the meeting, adjourn the same from time to time to a fixed time and place…’
The next agenda item, when Rigues clicked ‘end meeting’ on the Zoom online platform, was the ‘election of president’ followed by: appointment of independent external auditors as proposed by the board of directors (if applicable), election of TTSL representatives to TTFA general meetings, and decision on suspension of [member clubs] by the board.
Rigues, though, said the AGM was not adjourned but closed. He did not point to anything in the constitution that permitted him to end the meeting—and Wired868 found nothing within the TTSL’s By-laws. But the Guaya United manager suggested it was up to his opponents to stop him if they could.
“For the records, I wish to confirm I was forced to bring the TTSL AGM 2020 to a close at 1.42pm on 29 November 2020, while discussion was in progress on agenda item (h) presentation and approval of the budget,” stated Rigues. “This was done in my capacity as chairman of the AGM, first vice-president, now interim president, according [to] the constitution and bye laws (sic) of the Trinidad and Tobago Super League.
“[…] For the sake of good order, I wish to reiterate the fact that as chairman of the TTSL AGM 2020 held on 29 November 2020, I called the meeting to a close. In short the TTSL AGM 2020 is over, closed, not adjourned.
“[…] Those who so desire, may wish to proceed to the Court of Arbitration to have an AGM that was closed, reconvened.”
Article 23.2 of the TTSL By-laws states that a special general meeting of members ‘may be convened by order of the president, the first vice–president or by the directors at any date and time and at any place within Trinidad and Tobago’.
So Rigues is allowed to convene a meeting. However, article 15 states that it is the responsibility of the board to ‘prepare and convene the annual and extraordinary general meeting, and ‘ensure that these by-laws are applied and adopt the executive arrangements required for its application’.
And article 18 states that the company secretary shall ‘act as secretary of all meetings’ and is responsible for ‘organising the general meeting and meetings of the board of directors’.
Rigues appeared to ignore his board and secretariat and instead told club members that: ‘the zoom link to the meeting will be forwarded […] from the office of the interim president’.
Article 15.a empowers the TTSL’s board to ‘pass decisions on all cases that do not come within the sphere of responsibility of the general meeting or are not reserved for other bodies by law or under these by laws’. And article 16. 6 states: ‘the decisions taken by the board of directors shall come into effect immediately, unless the board of directors decides otherwise’.
The TTSL By-laws state that its president, according to article 17.2, is ‘primarily responsible for implementing the decisions passed by the general meeting and the board of directors through the company secretariat…’
Earlier today, the TTSL Board stated it was ‘alarmed’ by Rigues’ claim that ‘he has received permission from an unnamed person for the League to continue its annual general meeting, including the by-election for the position of league president, at Cascadia Hotel’ on 12 December.
The board noted too that:
- The 2020 Annual General Meeting is already underway;
- The Board has already decided to resume the meeting virtually on Sunday 6 December 2020, after it was illegally aborted by Mr Rigues on Sunday 29 November;
- Cascadia hotel is being used by the Ministry of Health as a Covid-19 facility and it would be the height of irresponsibility to expose members to the attendant health risk by hosting a meeting there;
- Mr Rigues continues to operate unilaterally and refuses to accept the collective authority and decision making of the TT Super League Board.
(The Cascadia Hotel serves as a quarantine facility for travellers who are not Covid-19 positive.)
Rigues responded by doubling-down on his position and attempting to outmanoeuvre his board members, with the scheduling of his own meeting.
The interim president listed his agenda items as: the membership status of all TTSL clubs, the removal and replacement of the secretary, and a discussion on hosting the election of president as per the dictates of the TTSL statutes.
The ‘status’ of the TTSL clubs could be key. At present, there are 14 active clubs within the second tier organisation and one board member suggested that as many as 10 are expected to support Morris.
If Rigues can include the suspended teams and presumably win their favour in the process, he might tip the scales in his favour.
The TTSL’s active member clubs with full voting rights at present are: Prison Service FC, Bethel United FC, San Fernando Giants, Police FC, UTT, Matura Re-United FC, Club Sando, QPCC FC, RSSR FC, Metal X Erin FC, FC Santa Rosa, Petit Valley/Diego Martin United, Guaya United FC, and Cunupia FC.
The seven suspended clubs, who have not competed in any TTSL competitions since 2017, are: Central 500, Defence Force FC, Harlem Strikers FC, Marabella FCC, 1976 Phoenix FC, WASA FC and Youth Stars FC.
Another four original TTSL member clubs are believed to be defunct at senior level. They are: Saddle Hill FC, Petrotrin Palo Seco SC, Barrackpore United, and Real Maracas.
Article 9.4 of the TTSL By-laws states: ‘members that do not participate in the activities of TTSL (eg sporting activities) for two consecutive years shall automatically be suspended from voting at the general meeting’.
However, Rigues claimed that the exclusion of the suspended teams was ‘a sad attempt to manipulate the decision making process’.
“I am uncertain as to why the board is adamant that a decision such [as] the presidency of the TTSL should be made by a few members and not allow the good order of democracy to prevail,” he stated. “This for me is a sad attempt to manipulate the decision making process. The TTSL was inaugurated with 24 members strong, who are shareholders of the organisation.
“At this turbulent time in Trinidad and Tobago football, we should embrace all and encourage inclusiveness. The TTSL must never turn our backs on our own.”
Is Rigues’ Saturday meeting a legally valid one, since it was not organised through the TTSL Board? Will he fairly allow all 14 clubs to decide on the fate of the elections and the suspended teams?
Will Saturday’s meeting nullify the board’s resumption of its AGM on Sunday?
Rigues appears set to use any means necessary to retain his post, which was not gained from the ballot but by the resignation of former president Keith Look Loy—less than two months ago.