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$.4M more goes missing; and all I hear is silence

Trinidad and Tobago football supporter, Cindy Howe, shares her feelings on the latest TTFA scandal:

Earlier this week, Wired868.com broke a story about the TTFA and its hired associates being unable to be account for $.4M of taxpayers’ money.  The story has been followed up by media houses and the various characters in this latest debacle involving the TTFA have each had their say. It’s now my turn to say something.

I am disappointed.  I know I shouldn’t be. We’ve been down this road before haven’t we? We can’t forget the Jack Warner–run TTFF shenanigans wherein the “Soca Warriors” of 2006 World Cup fame had to take the TTFF to court to get monies promised and owed to them.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain and legend Dwight Yorke (bottom) salutes the "Soca Warriors" fans at the 2006 Germany World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2014/Patrik Stollarz)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain and legend Dwight Yorke (bottom) salutes the “Soca Warriors” fans at the 2006 Germany World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Patrik Stollarz)

Who ended up paying them some of the monies owed? You! Yes, you the taxpaying public.

TTFF became defunct and Jack Warner rides off into the sunset, leaving Raymond Tim Kee in charge with a newborn TTFA to manage. Maybe things will change we said. Maybe football will get the boost it deserves.  How naïve!

I am angry. How can football and its players who play with heart and soul get what they deserve when they have to play with empty pockets, empty bellies on subpar practice grounds? Yet, the management of this entity is able to enjoy their salaries and allowances each month.

Every time it comes down to the wire, the TTFA runs to the Government with hands outstretched to bail them out.  And bail them out the Gov’t certainly does.  Every… time!

Why isn’t the TTFA able to ‘handle its stories?’ Why haven’t they published their financials to date? Why do they keep depending on the Treasury of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and its taxpayers to do what they are supposed to be doing?

I am a supporter of our national teams and athletes. Although I have made my home elsewhere, I am a Trinbagonian through and through and once there is a National Team’s football game or sporting event happening, I am tuning in whether via TV or internet.

This latest revelation of the missing $.4M is the proverbial ‘last straw’ for me, at least where this dysfunctional entity responsible for my national players, TTFA, is concerned.  It is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE that they would conduct business with tax payer’s money in such a casual, backward and unethical manner.

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

I quote from the Wired868.com story: “Charles stood on the pavement when Millien drove up in a black Mercedes. He never got out. Millien instructed the Nissi rep to toss the envelope in the back seat and, remaining at the wheel, he signed for receipt and drove off.’

Who the hell conducts business in this manner? Taxpayers’ $200,000 cash, tossed into the back seat of a car at Movie Towne. Disgusting!

I’m sorry my fellow football fans, but there have simply been too many stories, too many missteps and way too much public money going into the hands of those at the TTFA, Tim Kee, Phillips et al without proper accountability. IT HAS TO STOP!

When are we going to wake up and face reality that our national teams will never succeed as they should if things continue this way? How many more worldwide, public embarrassments, hits to the public purse and boldface lies are we going to take?

Our players deserve better.  We have the talent, we have the resources. Why do they have to suffer like this? Why does the public always have to bail out the TTFA?

We must demand better. We deserve a football association that stands for integrity, which will operate with transparency and will seek only the development of the sport of football and its athletes, and not the fattening of its own status or coffers.

Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan supports the national team at the Germany 2006 World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2014/Lluis Gene)
Photo: A Trinidad and Tobago football fan supports the national team at the Germany 2006 World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Lluis Gene)

So we must use the power that we have.  We must use our voices. We must seek a change for our athletes and for ourselves.

Who’s with me?

 

Editor’s Note: An online petition was started to demand a thorough and transparent investigation into the TTFA’s actions. Click HERE to view it.

About Cindy Howe

Cindy Howe
Cindy Howe is a child of the 80’s who grew up in Diamond Vale, Diego Martin via La Brea and competed in track and field events until her late twenties. She is a former banker and event coordinator and now a virtual assistant, wife and puppy-mummy. She resides in the US but her heart remains in Trinidad and Tobago.

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92 comments

  1. We is d only ones does go to war with our energies divided!!!! Lets focus on pushing d girls over d hump and fight that battle another day!!! If d girls qualify our fight will b much much relevant and will not turn to a nine day wonder!!

  2. Should there not be a more vociferous response for this government? They have a while lot more resources to pursue Jack and the missing public funds??? Unless I am mistaken. Added to that, the mission 400k are also from the public’s purse.

  3. They may not allow us into the stadium with signs Carol. Might be termed a weapon of mass destruction

  4. There is a petition on Change.org. “Kamla Persad Bissessar – Gov’t of Trinidad and Tobago: Investigate the missing $400,000 involved in TTFA organising of the Soca Warriors football friendly with Argentina and demand audited financial statements from TTFA and complete transparency for future funding requests and expenditure.”
    This is important. Please sign and let your voice be heard!! Here’s the link:

    https://www.change.org/p/tt-football-fans-demand-transparent-and-thorough-investigation-into-ttfa-actions-missing400k

    Thanks!

  5. Lasana, I see the PM posted a setta pics with the ladies and Phillips most present, smiling in most! Normel, like nutten going on!

  6. I understand your sentiments Gordon Pierre. But I will never tell Trinibagonians that anytime is a bad time to show their disgust for what they perceive as corruption and incompetence.
    If people want to support the girls but show their lack of support for the TTFA at the same time, I have no problem with that.
    Because the TTFA bigwigs shamelessly ride on the coattails of the performing teams.

  7. I have a request. Would anyone going to the game be willing to make and hold a sign that says “Make TTFA account for the #missing400k” and/or “Tim Kee must go! #missing400k”

  8. Hey folks we gone far enough!!!! Only positive vibes on tuesday!! Our one and only mission on tuesday is to will our girls into history everything else for a next day please!!!!

    • When is there ever a good time, is it when the lights shut off everyone goes home and TTFA bellies full again?
      I understand in principle the Footballers shouldn’t feel the negativity of the Management, but how else does the message get across?

  9. We hadda make real noise eh Kirwin

  10. That boo done reserved Simon Teixeira … first time I think I’ll be booing at a sporting event

  11. Well then start a campaign to boo Timkee et al at the game on 2/12/2014.

  12. It amazes me how things like this happen and no one is penalized…..

  13. Hannibal Najjar

    I am inclined, like the first subscriber, Pierre, to let the girls play without any “Sun in we eye” kind of distractions. Maybe I might, myself, hold up that sign, Cyndy, during the halftime layover – just maybe.

    • Cindy Howe

      Hannibal, it would be great if you’d seriously consider it Thanks.

      • Hannibal Najjar

        Cindy,
        My half-time suggestion was meant for others who’d be at the game since I, like you, am in the US.
        However, on a more general note I am so tired of the deception and self-serving agendas and nonsense that have now gone from experimental play by our leaders to be a more fully entrenched behavior of the heart. This now seems to be in every quarter of life – shameful and denigrating!
        There is no care and concern for the future and growing of our nation in the admonition of what is right and good, and specifically for me Cindy, God. Moreover, I see this failing leadership mindset is a Global epidemic – you and I are seeing it daily in this once, “land of the free and home of the brave” America.
        Can we engage change? I for one am a believer in Gandhi’s insightful encouragement that, “we need to be the change we want to see”, and yes, we should do what our hearts are now profoundly feeling, and for which, our eyes have been seeing for some time now.
        I’m prepared to assist and be a part of any leadership that 1. Challenges current leaders to lead with truth and integrity and, 2. Rally the youth via outreaches that help them understand that they are spiritual, and at the same time, human lives, and ones that can have a stake in the creation and preservation of their own futures. Aligned to this youth movement and organism, is also convincing them that through an intelligent and incisively peaceful set of strategies, we can send the “locomotive” into a smooth transitioning from 1st gear into 2nd, and so forth as we go forward and acquaint ourselves with this “new vehicle”.
        I know that what I have said here is a great deal to assemble and maybe, even trust, but unless it has this schematic, I would not want to be a part of it. I can only say that the change we seek must not only have a “changing of the guard” effect but, be representative of a spirit that can generate into more of what it was born out of – a truth and love that gives all people a fair and honest chance to smile, laugh, eat, sleep, lime, work, marry, have and raise children, and fan the flames of happiness and joy, and to just live and be appreciated. This is how I live, challenge my opposition, coach, brother my brothers and sisters, father my children, grandfather my grandchildren, husband my wife, befriend my friends, remember my parents, and love my God. C’est la vie.!
        Take care Cindy and let’s keep hoping for that first, and, one-in-a-life-time result for our daughters on the field tomorrow.

  14. I’m a little late on this new TTFA fiasco. I’ve read both Wired868 articles and every comment from both. I applaud and support you folks on your petition, but I’m going to be succinct and very blunt. In my humble opinion, no one is going to be arrested, charged, or imprisoned for this $400K theft, the LifeSport’s $30M, or any other complex financial crimes in T&T for years to come. I’m not being negative, I’m just being practical and realistic in helping everyone manage their expectations for the outcome of this matter.

    One reason why no one is going to be prosecuted is the law enforcement agencies responsible for white collar investigations in T&T (fraud and money laundering) just don’t have the intellectual and technical capacity to investigate and prosecute complex financial crimes. Any donkey can investigate a cheque forgery, or petty theft, but it’s a different animal when one has to investigate financial crimes where there is a complicated money trail that has to be tracked, documented, and presented in court; that possibly spans different countries, time zones and banks.

    For starters, in a developed country the activities in the bank accounts (local and foreign) of Tim Kee, Millien, Phillips, and Charles as well as close family members and business associates would have already been scrutinize to see and cash movement that occurred around the time Charles allegedly delivered the money to Mullien. Whereas in a backward country (sorry, a country lacking financial sophistication) it’s all talk talk and more talk until the next theft is discovered.

    The other reason is T&T doesn’t have the structure in place to accommodate persons convicted of white color crimes. Other than Basdeo Panday who spent a couple days in the prison infirmary while awaiting bail for corruption charges, Patrick Jagessar who spent 3 years in the prison infirmary for bribery, and Dennis Davidson who had a prison cell for himself over a weekend while waiting to appear in court on Monday morning for falsifying EC-O currency documents, I don’t know of any high-profile (connected) person involved in a financial crime who has served, or is serving a sentence for any of the thefts of taxpayers money that have occurred over the last 30+ years.

    My theory is simple. White color criminals have the resources to pay to make a one-month investigation take 10 years, make a law enforcement file disappear, or have contradictory evidence presented in court to cause a case to get thrown out. Other than that, given that empirical studies have shown that white color crimes are committing by persons having a both a particular (1) knowledge and the (2) opportunity to commit it; a combination you don’t find in Laventille and the Beetham, there would be no urgent enthusiasm to pursue white collar crime in T&T vigorously.

  15. There is much about this story that stinks to high heavens!!!

    200k in through a window and unto the back seat of a car?

    Why would anyone think this was appropriate?

    More than just the money is missing.

  16. When did they open discussions about a refund Lasana? Christophe, I’ll add my name to the calling list too

  17. Trinbagonians full ah talk n litte action and those in power have mastered this art to rob we blind

  18. By the way, the travel agent, Nissi Tours, is pushing for a refund from the initial chartered airline. It would either be a refund with penalty or a travel voucher. The Govt would decide which it prefers. Over $700k was paid down on the charter before they defaulted.

  19. I’m liking this….Teamwork!

  20. Thanks Christophe Brathwaite. But what exactly was the Fraud Squad asked to investigate if the request came from Darren Millien?
    You follow up there and I will see if Hadeed or the TTFA executive launches a proper investigation.

  21. Christophe Brathwaite post the info and I shall put my name on the list of ppl following up

  22. Oh and some info: The word is that the report has been submitted to the Fraud Squad and a Sargent Cudjoe is spearheading the investigation. Monday i will place a call to the FS to confirm. knowing the speedy (sic) pace the TTPS operates with these matters maybe we can take turns once a month asking where has the investigation reached and keeping it out of the Trini 9 Day Wonder Box.

  23. Debbie Espinal, we have to keep cool heads or they will just write us off as an angry mob with whom no one can reason and/or to whom no one should listen. Thanks, Christophe Brathwaite

  24. Thanks for everyone’s input. The exchange of ideas to help define a clear way forward is what this is all about. Thanks!

  25. most of them were there during jack’s reign did nothing said nothing and still may be answering to him. we don’t know ent?

  26. Christophe Brathwaite, perhaps I will reword it to show that the fans believe the current regime at the TTFA needs to be overhauled because they have not proven themselves worthy of all the money they obtain for the poor job they do.

    • I believe that we also have to keep calling out Tim Kee on this matter ……. as well as the other members of the executive who have allowed these guys to have their way, no accountability. It seems to me that they wait for the next TTFA elections to speak out! They all must be made to account now or else we the fans should take this a step further. It is past time to stop the bold-faced selfishness. $.4m!! Seems from one Jefe to another!!

  27. %$%% them and their rights! What about ours! Look is time i get my arse off this page before i lose it oui!!

  28. Cindy, I’m fully with you on this one ! Quite apart from lack of financial accountability, the TTFA has caused extreme embarrassment to our country and every citizen of T&T when they sent the national women’s soccer team to a major tournament without any money. To compound it further, a few weeks later the national men’s team were threatening to withdraw from the final game of the biggest regional tournament due to non payment of monies owed.

    How can these ‘administrators’ continue in office with a clear conscience as if nothing has happened ? All accountability has been thrown out the door yet they want to continue with their respective posts. Let’s all speak up, teach them a lesson and fire them all !

  29. I applaud your petition but point 4 i disagree with because it does not follow the laws of natural justice; the right to be heard, the right to a fair hearing, innocent until proven guilty etc. I agree with your main call for a proper investigation.

  30. I’ll wait and see. Heard that before but for the Women’s sake i really hope so.

  31. I’m also in. Already sent to most of my FB peeps and some have already signed.

  32. Tickets are selling like hot bread actually

  33. Jail too full? – or -friends in high places? – Mafiaoso or Illuminati?

  34. Heard they said they sold 14,000 tickets. Anyone believe that? Sure they’re counting in all the free bees they give to their family and Friends and the Children’s free tickets. Any bets they open the gates on Tues just to try and half fill the Stadium? Steups!!

  35. lets hope the AG don’t investigate this to nah. if he does well is nothing wrong, no law was broken, is the system, the protocol, was the perpetrator…

  36. Keep fighting the fight Kelvin. “Little axe does cut down big tree” Don’t give up!

  37. wow thats a throw back from stanford t20 in antigua

  38. Cindy.. You are so very correct.. it’s tiring but necessary..

  39. Yes Kelvin. Those of us who have info and are in a position to help keep turning a blind eye and shrugging our shoulders. Those who are afraid to lose their so-called friendships, status and perks with people in society and those at the heads of these types of organisations keep their lips sealed and allow the madness to continue. It has to stop. A new beginning is necessary and I hope you haven’t lost faith to keep fighting for better.

  40. I and 12 others spent over 8 years trying to find 200million missing dollars.. We are still looking..No one in a position to help helped.. Disgusting..

  41. Boi!! Do i know my weaknesses. They always said i have Irish blood in me and you know how the Irish famous for their temper especially with two drink in dey head. Lol!

  42. lol Debbie Espinal at least you know your weakness! Cindy Howe glad to hear it!

  43. Debbie your stance is not wrong. Not at all. Your conviction is strong and until the TTFA does better by these athletes you must do your part. There others who feel as you do and I support that. In the same way I support Trin Bagonian attending the game AND protesting while there. I am thrilled!

  44. The thing is Trin Bagonian i am easily riled and i’m not sure how i’ll react when i see them mudders and dem so is bess i stay away. mY Husband not strong enough these days to cart me out the stadium.

  45. Debbie Espinal I understand your position. I had toyed with the idea of a boycott too, but my nieces are going to their first football match (right Lou-Ann Sankar?) and I feel I have to be there for them, and also because I have decided I can use my presence there to get more exposure for the petition. We must all do what we think is best. I respect your decision. I had considered just showing up outside the gate too…we all have a passion for justice and we can still be united in purpose even if some choose not to be at the match on Tuesday.

  46. Trin Bagonian i’m sorry to say as a mark of protest i’ve decided NOT to go to the game because i’m not putting one black cent in their hands as NONE of the Footballers or football itself will see one cent of that money because they will find a way to pocket it. I really wanted to attend and support our Women and many will think i’m wrong for taking this stance but i just cannot stomach watching those thieving bastards walk out on the field with their hypocritical selves shaking the players hands and pumping their chests like if they did something beside fix themselves. My prayers and my heart will be there in quiet support and i know they will take their place in History. Sadly without me.

  47. That’s what we talking about! Roar!

  48. I will be at the match Tuesday with a poster that has the petition link… hoping to drum up more signatures….

  49. I have added the following demands (and also changed the “share link” text. Feel free to comment and I will edit:
    Our demands:
    1. A full, thorough and transparent investigation into the missing $400K
    2. All future payments from TTFA using funds donated by the T&T govt should be transmitted with a proper paper trail via bank drafts.
    3. Independently audited financial statements of all past and future monies given to TTFA by the Government of T&T
    4. The resignation of Tim Kee, Phillips and Millien for their role in the loss of 0.7 million TTD due to defaulting on the payment of the charter plane for the Soca Warriors pre-World Cup friendly match in Argentina

    The share link text has now been changed to:
    TT football fans demand transparent and thorough investigation into TTFA actions #missing400k

  50. Time for the grassroots to show our strength!

  51. Yes, yes and yes Trin Bagonian! We’ll put our heads together and outline what’s needed.

  52. Thanks for sharing it. Many people sign but not enough of us share it. It’s really up to us, what we do when we think we have gathered enough signatures. Everyone should share the link and encourage their FB friends to sign. It starts with showing that the number of people who want change is great enough that the PM and govt must not ignore it. Also, if there is anything I should add to the text of the petition, please let me know. Should we list the demands in a numbered list? Should we add that we want the resignation of Tim Kee, Phillips and Millien from TTFA? Should we demand that payments made using T&T funds be transmitted with a paper trail via bank drafts?

  53. Trin Bagonian i’ve sent out petititions to most of my FB Peeps. Many have signed already. What happen’s after that?

  54. Simon Teixeira what you say is ideal, so some advice from someone who actually live with such high morals and values, that when or if you choose that path, you will be choosing to stand alone, you will be choosing to be left behind irregardless of talents you may possess, you will be choosing to be singled out and termed ‘special’. That people will declare admiration of your courage but label it stupidity because it bears too much personal sacrifice. I encourage you in such beliefs but you must know the consequences, it will be cruel to watch you hang your feet in the water when it have crocodiles in the pond, and i don’t warn you.

  55. Fingers need to be pointed at Charles, millien and Phillips they are all in collusion. What businessman throws money in a car backseat and who accepts and signs for money they did not count. All of them in it, you’ll realize Charles say what he did Millien deny and the talk end there.

  56. I’m with you Cindy Howe. It’s time for our voices to be heard and demand the change. I thought i was the lone voice in the wilderness calling for this but it was heartening to read your post. it’s time for the buck to stop. We the footballing Fans must demand the resignation of the entire TTFA Board from Tim Kee go down. Every time this excuse we call a Government bail them out it’s our money going into their pockets. And i blasted fed up. Sick to my stomach watching Tim Kee, Phillips, Millien et all taking us all for fools driving their BMW’s,strutting around in their finely tailored suits while we ketching our arses to to feed their lavish lifestyles. NO MORE I SAY!!! NO MORE!! So who else is with Cindy and myself? ANYBODY??? NOBODY?? Time to WAKE UP my fellow TRINBAGONIANS and BE the CHANGE!!

  57. Thanks Lasana. Fellow 868-ers I obviously strongly believe that we have the power to effect change. So let’s do it…whether it’s in some small way or in a larger capacity…go for it! Already Trin Bagonian has stepped up!

  58. I love trinidad football….but iam so disappointed just as so many football fans ,I thought things would have gotten better …but I just cant believe this latest fiasco. …..my goodness, football can’t go on like this….already businesses are not willing to put in financial help needed.Do we really think that people are going to come forward to put their monies into the hands of the ttfa…..i’am sorry but until we get people who are honest and passionate about sports then we will continue down that road…the people involved now just need to let it go…..so happy we have people like david john williams putting every penny he has in this game to give youngsters an opportunity. …because to be honest with all the monies that have gone missing and with players not getting paid on time and not getting bonuses, especially the women’s travelling with 500 US dollars ….I have yet to see any of these officials dipping into their own pockets and taking care of any of our players…never once… thanks david…we should have more loyal , passionate and brave persons like u involved. ..

  59. We must always expose incompetent management and leadership, demand accountability and transparency, and do not tolerate financial inappropriateness.
    The days for simply complaining about corruption, slapping those culpable on the hand and rewarding them with new positions, lucrative retirement packages while keeping their spoils have ended.
    LifeSport was the last straw for me! $400 million TTD plus, for which no one can account, have just disappeared into the wind. Many of us complained, investigation started, no followup and everybody calm down. The thieves responsible for this financial fiasco have gone silent, living in their mansions, enjoying 2 year accumulated vacations and don’t care about nobody but themselves.
    We need to demand a followup status report of the LifeSport scandal and next steps.

  60. Let’s hear T&T roar! If the reckoning has to begin with $400k then let it begin. http://bit.ly/investigate400k

  61. It should start with each of us deciding to say no every time we find ourselves doing wrong. From littering to breaking a red light to driving on the phone. Change your own behaviour first then everything else naturally falls into place. In nature nothing wants to shit where it sleeps.

  62. The question on our minds should be Change.org or thepetitionsite.com – which to choose and then what our demands will be for the change we want to see.

  63. Cindy says she’s disappointed, but knows she “shouldn’t be”. We all must be disappointed in perpetual mediocrity, thievery, and general unwillingness to give of our best for the best possible outcomes for our citizens. Speaking out is the first step. Now each of us who believes that T&T can rise to the top ranks of sport and any other discipline (and be consistent achievers) must act, to help create the changes that are clearly, desperately needed. Thank you both Cindy and Lasana for sharing this post.

  64. Nobody ent call for Tim kee to the bottom to resign yet

  65. Let’s use this seemingly small issue in the greater scheme of things to finally begin the process of fixing this tiny twin island state of ours

  66. There are plenty fires burning. Some people just don’t like the spotlight.

  67. if more people thought this way and acted out this way…..there might be more shame for these ‘chosen’ few to do what they do so well.

  68. So money walk out with the past admin and still money walking out with the present admins .. Time for a tune jail ehm and jail all of ehm

  69. Empty suits running this sport well into the ground.

  70. I am with you Cindy! Let’s be the change that we want to see. Our money has been misused too many times. We all work too hard for it to be squandered like that. TTFA needs to publish its financials, and the GORTT needs to seize financial records of all involved to properly investigate all of the “players” in this $0.4K debacle. Time for the games with our money to stop!

  71. why does nobody go to Jack to reclaim the money? Is he so untouchable?

  72. I liked the comment about conducting business in the car park. You already know my thoughts on that Lasana.

  73. We can’t fool ourselves anymore. The problem is huge and it won’t disappear on its own. Thanks Cindy Howe

  74. It must be destroyed and rebuilt from scratch with a completely new team. There is NOTHING there worth saving.

  75. We need transparency. Tim Kee replaced Jack and I say six in one and half ah dozen in de other. Nothing has change.