Former Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) vice-president Raymond Tim Kee, who runs his own self-titled insurance company, today officially announced his candidacy for the post of TTFF president, which will be contested on 11 November 2012.
Tim Kee is one of two candidates who applied for the top administrative post in local football. And, in a press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium VIP room today, he stressed his intention to bring empowered, independent auditors to the TTFF and to transform the sporting body into a transparent, people-oriented organisation.
The other nominee, Wired868 understands, is Colin Murray, who is Carib Brewery’s sponsorship and events manager and the Queen’s Park CC marketing and promotions chairman.
Tim Kee, who is in his 60s, was nominated by the Eastern Counties association and seconded by Central, while the 56-year-old Colin Murray was nominated by the North zone. Wired868 was unable to ascertain Murray’s seconder by publication time.
The TTFF constitution permits only zones to nominate and second candidates although “properly constituted bodies” can vote at the elections.
The six zones are: North, South, East, Central, Eastern Counties and Tobago. The properly constituted bodies are: the Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees’ Association, the Pro League, the Secondary Schools Football League, the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Football Association and the National Primary Schools Football League.
The constitution also recognises the Trinidad and Tobago Football Coaches Association and the National Association for Youth Football although both bodies are believed to be defunct now and are not expected to vote.
Each zonal body has five votes while the properly constituted bodies have two votes each.
Tim Kee and Murray’s successful applications leave present interim president Lennox Watson struggling for a backer before nominations close tomorrow on Friday 26 October 2012.
Watson was elevated to post of interim president in October 2011 due to being the most senior TTFF vice-president after the abrupt resignation of ex-president Oliver Camps. Camps was under investigation by FIFA at the time for his role in an international bribery scandal involving former special advisor and National Security Minister Jack Warner.
A former high-ranking Prisons officer, Watson was believed to be interested in contesting the TTFF presidential elections. But only two zones from South, Tobago and East are potentially free to support a candidate and he would need to convince them both.
Eastern Football Association (EFA) chairman Wayne Cunningham confirmed that his zone would decide tonight whether it would nominate Watson or stand behind Tim Kee or Murray.
Two EFA members were present today when Central FA president Brian Layne introduced Tim Kee as: “the person who will bring transparency, accountability and success to Trinidad and Tobago’s football.”
Layne suggested that Tim Kee had the support of four from the six zones although, with the EFA undecided and Murray already selected by two other regional bodies, his boast seemed optimistic.
Tim Kee was elegantly attired as always, with a dark suit and red pocket square, and as friendly and approachable as one might expect from someone with a sales background.
He suggested that his business acumen, leadership skills and integrity made him the best man to take the “Soca Warriors” team back to its former heights as the Caribbean’s top football nation and a CONCACAF force.
“My first major objective will be to restore the confidence and credibility the Federation has lost in the eyes of most of our supporters, corporate citizens and indeed the Ministry of Sport,” said Tim Kee. “… A new image is a strategic imperative and will reside on a foundation of respect, transparency, public scrutiny, financial integrity, accountability and due diligence…
“The office of president, to my mind, is an opportunity to serve the owners of football; the public of Trinidad and Tobago. I do not see the title and power but responsibility.”
Tim Kee became a TTFF vice-president in the mid-1990s before resigning in 2009 after feeling alienated due to his political affiliations. He explained that he was an open supporter of the Opposition party, People’s National Movement (PNM).
Did he have any evidence of the success of his “business approach” during his tenure as vice-president?
Tim Kee said he chaired various TTFF marketing and finance committees over the years but suggested that his strategic plans did not always meet with the approval of those in charge. He did not go into more detail regarding over a decade spent in local football administration.
Why did he not stand up or leave the TTFF, on a point of principle, during the 2006 World Cup bonus dispute saga or any of the other previous scandals?
The presidential candidate said that he had been focused on his committees and was not well briefed on other matters apart from what he read in the newspapers.
Would he address a constitution that had moved away from one club one vote to an awkward voting process in which the entire Pro League had two votes—the same as the Primary School League—while each zonal association had five votes?
Despite nearly a decade as a TTFF vice-president, Tim Kee did not have a position on the voting system yet. He promised to convene a committee to discuss the matter and give it “serious consideration.”
Tim Kee’s vision statement promised: “to take and support football in every community throughout Trinidad and Tobago…”
However, he admitted that he was “not a guru on that” and would again summon more knowledgeable people on the subject for “serious brainstorming.”
Tim Kee revealed plans for a coaching academy and development programmes too. There was no budget yet though. He said that would be done after he was elected and once he had assessed the TTFF’s financial state.
And how could he guarantee “an effective and collaborative relationship with the Ministry of Sport” when he said he had no present relationship with National Security Minister and former TTFF special advisor Jack Warner who, he hinted, had squeezed him out in the first place?
“I am in the selling business,” said Tim Kee, with a smile. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
He claimed to have spoken to Sport Minister Anil Roberts and urged him to support the national senior team during the recent stand-off that preceded the Caribbean Cup preliminary round in St Kitts and Nevis and continues today.
Tim Kee claimed to be pleasantly surprised by his chat with Roberts while he insisted that he would respect Warner’s position and function if they needed to meet in an official capacity.
“I have no closed doors for anything but corruption and indecent behaviour,” he said.
A supposedly skeleton-free closet is arguably Tim Kee’s best asset as he breezily welcomed independent auditors to rummage through the TTFF’s accounts once he is elected. It might be good news for 13 aggrieved 2006 World Cup players.
“The High Court has made a decision (with regards to the 2006 World Cup players),” he said, “and I will try to guide our executive to honour the Court’s order.”
There were overtures to football fans too although, again, no concrete plans.
“I have been in contact with Nigel Myers (a key member of the Soca Warriors Online website),” said Tim Kee. “These supporter groups are constituencies we need because we want to full the stadia and ignite the passion for football in the country again.”
Tim Kee promised to be warm and open to the media as well. And football reporters accustomed to glares, pouts and terse responses were treated to smiles, cheese sandwiches and beverages.
Details were scarce though.
Editor’s Note: The TTFF will officially inform the public of its presidential candidates by 4 November 2012. Do you have a favourite between Raymond Tim Kee and Colin Murray? Tell us why in our Comments section.