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Shake-up: TTFA sacks Millien and demotes Phillips; averts coaches walk-out

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has responded to the financial furore regarding its alleged $.4 million licensing fee for a June friendly against Argentina, revealed exclusively by Wired868, by sacking its commercial agent Darren Millien and restructuring the role of its general secretary Sheldon Phillips.

Millien was the TTFA’s marketing consultant while he ran the football body’s FIFA-funded income generation programme.

Photo: One 2 One Marketing director Darren Millien runs the TTFA's FIFA-funded income generation programme.
Photo: One 2 One Marketing director Darren Millien runs the TTFA’s FIFA-funded income generation programme.

On Tuesday November 25, Wired868 revealed that $400,000 of taxpayers’ money from the Ministry of Tourism went missing and Millien was accused of collecting the sum from tour agent, Nissi Tours.

And, two days later, Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed told the website that: “Millien is a person that no one should have any business association with. The fellah is an absolute f***ing crook!”

TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is also the Port of Spain mayor and PNM treasurer, initially dismissed the Wired868 articles as “a diabolic lie” but, after discussions with his enraged executive committee, he since appeared to have had a dramatic change of heart.

In a release this evening, Tim Kee stated that the football body agreed to:

1) Accept the withdrawal of Darren Millien’s services as commercial agent for the TTFA. This follows a meeting between President Tim Kee and Mr. Millien on Friday November 28;

2) The reconfiguration of General Secretary, Sheldon Phillips’, role by including William Wallace to lead government relations and team management functions;

3) Appoint former WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine as a consultant to lead efforts to assist the TTFA with its governance and management reform and to review and restructure organizational operations;

4) Reiterate the need to improve the governance structure of the TTFA in line with best practices.

Wired868 sought responses from Tim Kee and Phillips on the changes but calls went straight to voice mail.

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)

Wallace, who is a national team manager and school teacher at Carapichaima East Secondary, said his new job description still in flux. He does not have a new job title or adjusted salary while he is uncertain what his new functions mean to his current role as manager.

However, Wallace admitted that he has often, unofficially, acted as a go-between for the national teams when administrative incompetence or distrust affected the “Soca Warriors.”

He played a role in quelling a potential boycott by the Warriors during the recent 2014 Caribbean Cup tournament and, with the assistance of All Sport director Anthony Harford, helped to smooth matters with the Carlton Savannah Hotel, who initially refused to honour a booking by the senior team due to an unpaid bill. Wallace was the buffer too, two years ago, when the Ministry of Sport refused to hand any money over to then TTFA general secretary Richard Groden.

Wallace is also the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) first vice president and a former Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) executive member and youth development committee chairman as well as the former president of Secondary Schools Cricket.

“I’ve been asked to exclusively deal with the government on all relevant matters so the General Secretary will have no interaction with them on anything,” said Wallace. “Also I will be the person getting budgets from the national teams and helping assess these budgets, set timelines and follow up on budgetary requests and so on so we do not end up in problems.”

And what will Phillips, whose monthly package is in the region of $45,000 minus a company car, be doing while Wallace handles all his major responsibilities?

“You will have to ask the General Secretary about that,” said Wallace.

Wallace got his feet wet immediately. This afternoon, staff of the national men’s and women’s under-17 teams held an unprecedented meeting to consider a mass walk-out over unpaid salaries and other issues raised in Wired868’s investigative pieces.

Photo: Caledonia head coach Jamaal Shabazz (left) and assistant coach Rajesh Latchoo enjoy a good day at the office. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Caledonia head coach Jamaal Shabazz (left) and assistant coach Rajesh Latchoo enjoy a good day at the office.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)

“They always talk to us about ‘serving your country’ but even servants get paid; it is only slaves that don’t get paid,” national under-17 women’s coach Rajesh Latchoo told Wired868. “At the end of the day, it is our fault because we let it continue. But the rope has reached an end…

“When you find out about missing money and what they are paying themselves, it sounds like they were fooling us the whole time. They’re drinking milk and honey and we are drinking from the drain; and it is very demotivating.”

After assurances from Wallace, both national teams accepted the TTFA’s new deadline of December 19 with the renewed hope of an injection of sponsorship money.

“We are giving the administration the benefit of the doubt when they say they are working with different sources to pay us what is owed to us,” said national under-17 team men’s manager Christo Gouveia.

At present, Wallace is also trying to arrange for the national under-20 team to have a pre-CONCACAF tournament camp in Mexico. Apart from the senior teams, no Trinidad and Tobago squad has played a friendly match since Tim Kee took over as president in November 2012.

“All the things that are happening now, we have to stay focused on the football,” said Wallace. “I am working right now on a Mexico camp for the under-20 team and we expect to get two games with the Mexico under-20 team and probably one against a club team.”

Millien has been booted out of the picture. It is left to be seen if Phillips’ demotion is a prelude to the same fate and whether Tim Kee’s belated actions will help his own political ambitions in and outside of football.

 

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to view an online petition started by a 868-er, which calls for a thorough and transparent investigation into the actions of the TTFA.

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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92 comments

  1. So what about the money???? He doh care bout a job, he have the money already

  2. They need to get rid of the entire group of people. starting with Tim Kee. I am always asked, how come I don’t vote. When I lived in T&T I did not vote and it’s the same thing in the US. I don’t vote because I refuse to vote based on the lesser of the evils. Who will thief less and will do less damage /wrong.
    I just cannot believe how greedy people are. Those people belong in jail.
    If Tim Kee did not know what was going on, he should be fired. As you should be aware what is going on within your organization, especially given the history. If you knew what was going on, then you should be put in jail. Knowing all the corruption that has plagued T&T and football, I would demand that every cheque over a reasonable $ amount had to be signed by me, so if money was distributed with my signature then I will ne accountable, but in true trini politics, no one wants to be held accountable..

    • One thing that was not mentioned and the answer should be obvious, but knowing this bunch, I am sure the answer is not . As Mr. Phillips has been demoted in portfolio, does his salary and perks also get reduced?

  3. Has he, Tim Kee, provided a copy of the report from the Fraud Squad?

  4. So the focus of the TTFA is to structure themselves to be begging the government for every cent they need ? Is that the role of a Sporting Federation ? What have they ever done to be self sustaining ? If they need to book a hotel , buy food , pay a bus , they waiting for government disbursement …. And they are planning for the future by strengthening their capabilities to BEG …………

  5. Adrian Clarke, Dinanath clearly did a competent job with WIPA. But I don’t know exactly what his job is with football yet.
    And I don’t have any of those details yet.
    But, again, these decisions seemed to have passed through the executive committee rather than shaped by it.

  6. Yes, thank God for the ‘diabolical lie’ that exposed them. Well M is gone! Thank you Lord, but the main man, P just continues to get reshuffled, and Tim Kee well. I say no more. At least Mr. Liburd, your hard work has paid off , and congrats for having the belly, the cajones, the stamina and the perseverance to bring to light much of what has been in the dark for so long. At least SOMETHING has been done, It is a beginning. These white collar criminals continue to abuse power, make decisions to suffocate the innocent while they line their pockets, but we , the public need to continue the fight to speak out against them and fight for justice . We still do have that responsibility.

  7. Reshuffling the pack to save face, and keep coaches. Let’s not forget the police investigation that he promised.

  8. Once again everyone getting remuneration except the coaches and the player’s who are the reason these big boys line there pockets. When will this stop. I’m sorry for the player’s and coaches who put up with this and just being fed on promises while they are skint trying to do there best.

  9. So many lies that he can’t even remember that he was on the payroll. How convenient!! So much for managing the affairs of TTFA. What a poor excuse for a President. Time for him to go and it cannot be soon enough. Steups!!

  10. Sheldon Phillips kept Darren Millien, who he described as a “go to guy”, for almost two years although Millien couldn’t point to a single concrete thing he did for football. And Millien got a cut of the TTFA’s scarce resources to boot.
    I think Phillips should pay for his judgment. And I think Raymond Tim Kee should answer for his response to this crisis as well.
    (And that is not looking too closely at his claim that Wired868 stories were a “diabolical lie” one minute and then making drastic changes as a result of the same scandal a few days later)

  11. Why is Sheldon Phillips being retained with a salary of $45,000 a month? What is TTFA getting in return?

  12. The old saying a liar always forget his lies. So now his own words are coming back to haunt Tim Kee. So who’s going to fire Tim Kee for his blatant lies?? And how can this man be trusted and HE’s the PNM treasurer?? Look Rowley et all better start looking for a new Treasurer if they want some votes in 2015 oui!!

  13. Why is Raymond still heading the TTFA?? Moving like he ain’t know what going on….

  14. Lasana Liburd whats your initial take on the appointment of Ramnarine ? Also nothing in this announcement speaks about the investigation.

  15. Just another smoke screen. No mention of pursuing lost funds and Tim Kee and his crew still there.

  16. Full and thorough investigation by fraud squad is still warranted.

  17. Tim Kee previously told the TTFA executive that Millien had no role in football at all and Gerald Hadeed said Tim Kee assured him that Millien would be fired since June.
    However, Tim Kee admitted that Millien had a paid position when I confronted him last week with my info.

  18. I just love when money goes missing how big boys simply get to resign yes smh

  19. But didn’t Tim Kee say in one of his interviews that Millien wasn’t contracted by TTFA or am i wrong?

  20. FIFA is rotten to the core. Talk about coal pot calling kettle black!!

  21. “We are giving the administration the benefit of the doubt when they say they are working with different sources to pay us what is owed to us,” said national under-17 team men’s manager Christo Gouveia.

    The only source TTFA have now is GORTT. Not even FIFA wanna have anything to do with them

  22. Only step one. Barely. All persons found to have behaved inappropriately should go.

  23. Why is Sheldon Phillips still an employee of the TTFA? Millien and Phillips should have been fired a long time ago.

  24. So like the 2007 Movie – Shooter, Lasana Liburd in this particular story is like this badass shooter (Mark Walhberg) going after the corrupt politicans/executives Danny Glover (Tim Kee) & Ned Beatty (Phillips).

    Who saw that movie, knows how it ended..

  25. HELLO!! It’s not only about 400K it’s also about the 700K that was paid for a plane and they’re still in default. And what about the rest of the 1.6M that was given to them in the first place and having to pay a CAL plane at the last minute which i’m sure cost us taxpayers a pretty penny. There’s lots more in the mortar than in the pestle. SMH!!

  26. Where exactly does the buck stop in Trinidad, somewhere wayyyyyy over there?

  27. None of the new faces have the skillet to manage the financial affairs of the TTFA. It will be same ole same ole

  28. While I am happy that the TTFA executive committee seems to have spoken up and demanded these changes (which I hope are truly implemented and not just a ruse), the fact is that $400K is still unaccounted for. Someone must answer for this. If Mr. Wallace is capable and is allowed to do his job then we should see improvements in how things are run at the TTFA….this remains to be seen and I look on in interest.

  29. Incompetence at the highest level. How does the president escape blame here? $400k is no paltry sum. I am patiently awaiting to see someone get arrested. But cynically speaking that’s not happening

  30. Mr. Timkee as Head of TTFA still needs to account for the missing $$$$ . Respect to Dinnas, but not sure his appointment will make any difference.

  31. I guess he did not leave behind the 400,000; looks like he took his severance package in front.

  32. Denisha I asking the same question.

  33. Ramnarine was also never sucessful in getting financials from even the WICBC, much less the TTFA

  34. The TTFA General Council should have called for Tim Kee’s head along with Phillips as Tim Kee knew of this blatant fraud since May and said nothing until Lasana’s expose. Firing Millien is not good enough. Wonder if he’ll sing or if he’ll keep the 400K as hush money. This still stinks and the rot is still at the top so nothing has changed just shifted around to try and fool the public. Sick of people trying to take me for a fool.

  35. The new constitution is still in the toilet.

  36. He was part of the team who drafted the new TTFA Constitution.

  37. I don’t know that former WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine has any expertise or training in governance and management so his ability to reform, review and restructure organizational operations of TTFA is questionable.

  38. Still no figures? So are you still a liar, and is Tim kee now a UNC also?

  39. is timkee getting advice from kamla? she made public a message to her ministers, now timkee up now trying to fool we after the money done gone? are we getting it back?

  40. So Darren gone with the monies??

  41. @Beerns…Would love to take credit for that one eh..but I bit it from Kala Ramnath… I had a good laugh reading it for the first time as well.. And yes I agree..definitely need to clean up this organisation! As one person put it in a previous comment..Jack gone …Jack here..so definitely need to rid ourselves of this bunch..

  42. Scotty Ranking

    Well, this is a welcome, if unexpected, turn of events! Half-Millien has been shown the straight red card and the ref is conferring with his assistant on Fill-ups case ! I hope that this truly leads to more transparency and better governance of the TTFA. I would think that after the experiences that Hadeed and Boodram had with Fill-ups, all government functionaries would be wary of dealing directly with him. Puts a lot of undue pressure on Wallace, though. Hope that he is compensated adequately for this super-liaison position.

    • Scotty Ranking

      One more thing though, I notice the TTFA’s release on the issue is bereft of any information about recovering the unaccounted-for monies that Half-Millien allegedly received. I think that matter is one that needs to be rigourously and exhaustively pursued!

  43. This Wallace fella sounding like a male Olivia Pope!! But on the real though, ‘Half ah Millien’ got the boot, but is anyone going to recoup our tax payers’ money?? And if Sheldon Phillips got ‘demoted’ , does his salary remain the same while clearly doing considerably less?? How bout we wana see ‘Halfers’ in jail doh!! And yes bring on the boycotts..enough is enough..treat our athletes with more respect than that!! Pay them their due! People have now realised that NOTHING will change until they take very drastic stands!

    • Haha! Male Olivia Pope… so funny.

    • Ah love it yendor – “Half Ah Millien” lol!. Seriously though we need to clamour for the cash to be returned and for Phillips and Tim Kee to go as well. Phillips gets a huge salary and what do the coaches get? Demotion is not enough. Time to clean up this organization ……..