The Ministry of Sport arguably continued its provocation of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) today as Wired868 understands a cheque meant to cover the senior men team’s Caribbean Cup trip to St Kitts and Nevis, was made out to the team’s manager, William Wallace.
TTFF press officer Shaun Fuentes confirmed that the local football body was told to collect the outstanding money today to cover expenses incurred in St Kitts, only to allegedly discover that the name on the cheque belonged to its employee, Wallace.
“There is nothing that can be done with the cheque,” Fuentes told Wired868.com. “The TTFF will meet tomorrow to decide what its next step will be.”
Wallace’s first reaction to the cheque in his name was to burst out laughing. However, he is anxious for both parties to put their differences aside and get on with the serious job of looking after the game.
[pullquote_left]Roberts has spent the past month trading insults with TTFF marketing manager Anthony Harford, general secretary Richard Groden and interim president Lennox Watson.[/pullquote_left]
“We have to find a way to go to forward but we can’t go forward like this,” said Wallace, in reference to his cheque. “All the stakeholders at all levels have to sit down, put the past behind us and find a way to go forward that will eventually benefit Trinidad and Tobago.
“I haven’t performed a service for the government of Trinidad and Tobago so I cannot receive a cheque from the government of Trinidad and Tobago in that way.”
Wired868 sent emailed questions to Sport Minister Anil Roberts and Permanent Secretary Ashwin Creed, through communications officer Betty-Ann Moses, which asked: whether the Sport Ministry was trying to influence or determine who handled the finances of the TTFF (an autonomous body) or whether the Ministry was intentionally seeking to provoke the local football body.
Neither Roberts nor Creed responded up until the time of publication.
Certainly, the Sport Ministry’s most senior employees have chosen to carry out their duties in a manner that is, at the least, unprecedented or, at worse, circumvents the faith given to them as holders of public office.
Roberts has spent the past month trading insults with TTFF marketing manager Anthony Harford, general secretary Richard Groden and interim president Lennox Watson.
Creed, through emails to the TTFF and in an interview with Wired868, referred to several national teams using terms like failures and abysmal. He suggested that the team’s performances were being considered before making decisions on funding but failed to give a clear criteria for the proposed evaluation.
TTFF insiders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, complained that Roberts and Creed were treating the Sport Ministry and its budget as their own fiedom and operating with a worrying level of vindictiveness.
At a press conference last week, Roberts, when asked about the problems faced by the stranded national players in St Kitts, retorted that Watson had promised to find money for the “Soca Warriors” regardless of the Sport Ministry’s final decision.
“So let him find the money,” said Roberts.
The Sport Minister said then that the TTFF would receive the promised funding after the team returned.
Instead, according to the TTFF, the Sport Ministry sought to encourage one of its employees, Wallace, to act outside his job specifications as a de facto treasurer.
It is anyone’s guess how Roberts would react if the Sport Ministry’s annual budget was handed over on a personal cheque—and the name on it was Betty-Ann Moses.
Editor’s Note: The cheque written to William Wallace was not for over $300,000 as initially reported but for much less than the amount expected by the TTFF.