The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) formally declined an offer of financial assistance from Haiti today as TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee wrote his Haitian counterpart Dr Yves Jean-Bart to say thanks but no thanks.
Haiti national women’s coach Shek Borkowski, a Polish native, said his players heard the Trinidad and Tobago team’s plea for financial aid last Wednesday and offered to give the “Soca Princesses” their entire pot of US$1,300, which they raised from tee-shirt sales and donation.
“My players saw on social media the difficulties faced by T&T players and approached me about what can we do to help,” Borkowski told FoxSports on October 9. “I was stunned. They were very animated about helping so I will do as they asked.”
The Haitians were among well-wishers who responded promptly and Trinidad and Tobago coach Randy Waldrum raised just under US$10,000 within 24 hours.
The tale has changed dramatically since then, though.
In a Thursday press conference, Tim Kee accused Waldrum of an “emotional disturbance” and asked the US-born coach to apologise, which he did. And the TTFA subsequently collected funds from the Ministry of Sport and Petrotrin as well.
And, today, the TTFA released a letter from Tim Kee to Jean-Bart which thanked him for his generosity but suggested he use it for his own nation’s programmes.
“Knowing the struggles your players and the Haitian nation have endured, your gesture was moving to say the least,” stated Tim Kee. “However, the planned financial support we expected for the tournament from our stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago has reached our team.
“Therefore, we could not in good conscience accept your donated funds knowing of your program’s own needs and our nation’s ability to support its national programs.”
Incidentally, Jean-Bart was involved in an aid dispute with Trinidad and Tobago, three years ago, that was significantly different in nature.
In 2011, the Haitian football president accused then Minister of Works and ex-TTFF special advisor Jack Warner of failing to pass on US$690,000 (TT$4.4 million) in aid money after the devastation 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake. Warner, who was the CONCACAF and Caribbean Football Union (CFU) president at the time, collected funds from FIFA and the South Korea FA to be relayed to Haiti but, according to Jean-Bart, only relayed a tiny sum to the impoverished island.
Warner failed to prove his innocence and the TTFF was forced to repay the missing FIFA money.
The Trinidad and Tobago women will meet Haiti on October 17 in what can be a decisive CONCACAF fixture at Toyota Park in Bridgeview with both teams hoping to grab the runner-up spot behind the United States.
(The TTFA letter in full)
Dear President Jean-Bart,
I want to sincerely thank you for the way your team responded to the perceived need of our women’s national team.
Knowing the struggles your players and the Haitian nation have endured, your gesture was moving to say the least.
However, the planned financial support we expected for the tournament from our stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago has reached our team.
Therefore, we could not in good conscience accept your donated funds knowing of your program’s own needs and our nation’s ability to support its national programs.
All the best to you and your players.
Raymond Tim Kee