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Tim Kee: Why I won’t talk to Sancho; TTFA president defends stance

The following is a press release from Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president and PNM treasurer, Raymond Tim Kee, which seeks to explain his recent refusal to meet Sport Minister Brent Sancho:

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the global football body's Zurich headquarters.
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who is a member of the FIFA Futsal Committee, tries out the furniture at the global football body’s Zurich headquarters.

While a casual observer will glance at the current conflict between myself and Minister of Sport, Brent Sancho and chalk it up as being a byproduct of a bitter political season, the real reasons behind the clash are far different from what has been offered by those who claim to know.

Therefore and for the sake of our football, it is important that supporters of the national football teams and our own national program players and coaches know the reasons behind the current conflict.

The governing body of football in Trinidad and Tobago is expected to show leadership and vision in establishing a plan to advance the prospects of our national team programs, especially as our senior men’s team has emerged from an encouraging Gold Cup performance and is about to embark upon the Road To Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

Now more than ever, the TTFA has to be the entity to encourage everyone to rally around to support our national team players and coaches. The Ministry of Sport is an important partner in our overall effort to have all our national teams qualify for a FIFA tournament by 2018.

However, a partnership requires mutual respect.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain Kenwyne Jones (background) hugs teammate and goalkeeper Marvin Phillip after their penalty shootout loss to Panama in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal. (Copyright Jewel Samad/AFP 2015)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago football captain Kenwyne Jones (background) hugs teammate and goalkeeper Marvin Phillip after their penalty shootout loss to Panama in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal.
(Copyright Jewel Samad/AFP 2015)

Upon Mr Sancho’s appointment, a multitude of inquiries from people aware of the history between Mr Sancho and the TTFA/TTFF began to pour in; all asking the same question: how did we feel the new minister would treat the TTFA?

I can say unequivocally, that the TTFA met Mr Sancho’s appointment with an open mind. Within the first weeks of his appointment, meetings were held with TTFA representatives and the ministry. Presentations were made describing the past, present, and future plans of the TTFA.

Pledges of information exchanges and support were made and a spirit of cooperation was established.

However, the collaborative spirit unraveled with a number of unfortunate interviews of the minister that seemed to belie the cooperative tone established in our meetings. It became clear the old conflicts between Mr Sancho and the TTFA would not be a thing of the past and instead form the basis of his approach toward the TTFA and its national team programs.

Brent Sancho is a current litigant and still has a court matter against the TTFA. Based upon his public comments, he still has not missed a step in his aggression toward the TTFA on the old matter surrounding the 2006 “Soca Warriors” bonus action.

Photo: Former 2006 World Cup player Kelvin Jack (centre) embraces TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee in May 2013. Looking on are teammates (from right) David Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray and Brent Sancho. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Former 2006 World Cup player Kelvin Jack (centre) embraces TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee in May 2013.
Looking on are teammates (from right) David Atiba Charles, Cyd Gray and Brent Sancho.
(Courtesy Wired868)

As a result of the continuing disrespectful, personal attacks, and dishonest public comments Mr Sancho has made about the TTFA and myself, it is prudent that the TTFA seek other avenues to try to advance our partnership with the Ministry of Sport in the best interests of Trinidad and Tobago football.

My direct communication with Mr Sancho is not a prerequisite for the ministry and TTFA to continue their collaboration.

It is this distinction, not politics, which is at the crux of the conflict with Mr Sancho.

It is also instructive to know that as recently as a year ago, Mr Sancho threatened to “close down football” if the remaining payments to the 2006 Soca Warriors did not commence. This, in spite of the fact that months after coming in to office, I made the decision to pay the 2006 players $10 million dollars after their case languished in the court for over 7 years with no significant benefit gained.

The decision to address the players’ issue was against a backdrop where the choice to declare the then TTFF bankrupt was a real consideration but one that I did not support because it would not be fair to people who gave their services and limited resources to assist football. They would have lost every cent with no recourse!

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team poses before kick off against England at the 2006 World Cup. (Courtesy 90soccer.com)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national football team poses before kick off against England at the 2006 World Cup.
(Courtesy 90soccer.com)

Unfortunately, Mr Sancho and his supporters did not seem to share the view that the TTFA exhibited good faith in our efforts to settle with the players. And (they) began a series of public campaigns to undermine the TTFA and essentially damage corporate sponsorship prospects that we began to establish in an attempt to reform a heavily damaged organisation that had lost the public trust and confidence during the term of the previous administrations.

It is also instructive to know I did not have problems with previous ministers. Whatever differences arose, were worked out and, actually, compliments were made publicly from members of the government expressing how I approached my dealings with the government and ministry in an apolitical manner.

The reason for my stance on Mr Sancho being stated, I would like to share the recent history to explain how and why I arrived at my current position with regard to Mr Sancho.

ORIGIN OF CURRENT PUBLIC CONFLICT

In June, I met with Mr Sancho at Parliament to discuss the status of the cabinet note that was passed in November in order to fully support the Gold Cup preparation efforts as promised by the Prime Minister.

Photo: TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women's World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee (centre) gestures to an Ecuador player while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (right) has a word to her grandson before kick off of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Play Off second leg on 2 December 2014.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Mr Sancho and his staff tried to claim the cabinet note did not clearly define which team would benefit from the funds allotted; this was a disingenuous interpretation since the only team that plays in the Gold Cup is the Men’s Senior Team and was the only team the Prime Minister addressed when the cabinet note was referred to at a press conference in November after the CFU Championship.

Also at this meeting, Mr Sancho said the ministry would pay our national players only 50% of their fees. I strongly objected and said the note accounted for full payment for the players’ fees and if the minister pursued such a course, the media would be told about the change and he would be regarded as the worst sports minister in history.

As a former player who fought for payments and fees for himself; it was rather confusing and disappointing to witness the minister try to shortchange players who were once his teammates.

Mr Sancho objected to what he viewed as a threat and said the TTFA should pay the other 50% from gate receipts. I further explained that such a proposal would actually place the players in a worse position as the TTFA usually lose money on matches played at home.

Photo: A Soca Warrior fan enjoys the action between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: A Soca Warrior fan enjoys the action between Trinidad and Tobago and Panama at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

He got the cabinet note and tried to ignore the provisions therein. Mr Sancho would later describe my approach at the Parliament meeting as aggressive and referred to me as a “Raging Bull.”

Aside from the political allusion, anyone who knows me will understand that I do not raise my voice and/or act in a manner that is associated with incivility or disrespect.

II. CONTACT WITH THE MINISTRY

Mr Sancho has stated on several occasions that we are “biting the hands that feed us.” Aside from the clearly offensive overtones, this is not a truthful statement. We feel the TTFA has a right to offer rebuttal to the spread of misinformation by the minister.

Our July 11 press release was in response to several months of public statements from the ministry that were factually incorrect regarding information submitted to the ministry and funds received by the TTFA.

Mr Sancho also continued to perpetuate another untruth by claiming that we have cut off communication with the ministry since our press release.

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

In reality, the TTFA has been in touch with the ministry almost on a daily basis since the aforementioned press release, largely with the Permanent Secretary (PS) and other ministry officials.

During the period since the release was sent on July 11, there were at least 10 messages between the TTFA and the ministry. Such communication included the coordination of efforts to provide account information of national team players to the ministry in order to distribute Gold Cup match fees.

Surely, this could not have been accomplished had the TTFA cut off our communication to the ministry as alleged by the minister.

In short, the TTFA is working directly with the PS in advancing the needs and the interest of football. In our dealings with the Permanent Secretary, the business with the ministry continues and we can still move matters forward pertaining to our national teams.

III. TTFA TRANSPARENCY

Early in Mr Sancho’s tenure, he threatened to withhold funding unless accounts were submitted. Having received such a threat, the TTFA invited our auditor, KPMG, to attend a meeting with the Minister that took place on May 11.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho. Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC. (Courtesy SPORTT)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister and Senator Brent Sancho.
Sancho is a former World Cup 2006 player and CEO of local Pro League club, Central FC.
(Courtesy SPORTT)

It was explained by KPMG the reasons for the non-submission of audited accounts from the TTFF/TTFA since 2008. Yet, Mr. Sancho continues to raise issues about “transparency and accountability” as though the TTFA has not submitted accounts.

The fact is with the continued assistance of KPMG, TTFA accounts were submitted and received by the ministry for 2008 and 2009 at the very same May 11 meeting. The accounts from 2010 and 2011 were submitted and delivered to the Minister and the former PS on May 22.

Once audited statements are completed through 2014, TTFA will publish the accounts as part of our reform efforts to establish accountability and transparency.

In an increasingly desperate attempt to manufacture an issue of contention, Mr Sancho has claimed funds the TTFA received from CONCACAF were not disclosed and claimed we were not being “forthright.”

This despite the fact that we explained in our recent press release and via direct communication with the ministry:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Raymond Tim Kee (right) enjoys some conversation at the 2014 FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Copyright TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) Raymond Tim Kee (right) enjoys some conversation at the 2014 FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
(Copyright TTFA Media)

How much we have already received from CONCACAF;

How much we are entitled to receive from CONCACAF;

The purpose for which the already received funds from CONCACAF were used;

Permission from CONCACAF to use said funds for the stated purpose.

In closing, the TTFA should not be expected to surrender dignity and endure disrespect and defamation because of our dependence on the ministry for support.

The fact that Mr Sancho has used rhetoric to describe the TTFA and other members of the public as being; “ungrateful”, provides a glimpse of someone who does not understand the position and purpose of being a Minister of Sport; which is to provide service on behalf of our taxpayers and facilitate our athletes.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) congratulates scorer Sheldon Bateau (right) after his 2015 Gold Cup goal against Cuba. Looking on is Andre Boucaud. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago captain Kenwyne Jones (left) congratulates scorer Sheldon Bateau (right) after his 2015 Gold Cup goal against Cuba.
Looking on is Andre Boucaud.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

According to reports from players and coaches, Mr Sancho calls them directly to further spread misinformation about the TTFA and attempt to undermine the administration of the TTFA. Such behaviour threatens to destabilise teams and unfairly place our players and coaches into the conflict when they should be only expected to focus on their preparation and matches.

My determination to lead the TTFA into a new era of good governance, accountability, and accomplishment will continue. The forward movement from where the organisation was in 2012 shows that we are making significant progress and the best is yet to come.

After decades of futile efforts, a new constitution was recently passed and ratified by our members and for the first time in our history all stakeholders in the game, including clubs, will have a say in the governance of football.

Our teams have shown they are a force to be reckoned with once again, and in spite of Mr Sancho’s dismissive comments, the $6 million (USD) debt I met has been reduced to approximately $2 million (USD) through a carefully constructed approach that included our initial $1.7 million (USD) contribution to the 2006 players settlement and lobbying of the government which eventually led to the payment of the remaining $1.3 million (USD) owed to the 2006 players and $1 million (USD) in arrears owed to senior team coaches and players since 2011.

Photo: Former TTFA technical director Anton Corneal is among dozens of coaches still owed money by the local football.
Photo: Former TTFA technical director Anton Corneal is among dozens of coaches still owed money by the local football.

It is my strong belief that the remaining TTFA debt will be eliminated in the not too distant future.

It is now up to Mr Sancho and his allies to decide whether or not they want to be a constructive element in our efforts to make Trinidad and Tobago an internationally significant football nation.

Or, conversely continue on the path that is likely to deny young footballers the same opportunities that were offered and afforded to Mr Sancho when he was a young footballer in need. I remain hopeful that the better angels of his nature will guide his future decisions.

Creating further debate is certainly not the intent of this writing. Instead, the purpose for my words is to share information with the public so they can be both better informed and positioned to rally around our footballers who fight to represent Trinidad and Tobago in international competition.

Enlisting support for our national footballers is how I will be focusing my time, energy, and efforts, especially as we enter our Road To Russia Campaign.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Keron Cummings (centre) celebrates his goal against Mexico with teammates (from right) Cordell Cato, Joevin Jones, Mekeil Williams and Aubrey David in the 2015 Gold Cup. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Keron Cummings (centre) celebrates his goal against Mexico with teammates (from right) Cordell Cato, Joevin Jones, Mekeil Williams and Aubrey David in the 2015 Gold Cup.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

Now is the time to show our footballers and coaches the same level of commitment and teamwork they recently displayed on the field at the Gold Cup. Now is the time we must give our undivided and unequivocal support.

Our footballers have earned that respect.

 

Editor’s Note: Sport Minister Brent Sancho has accused TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee of using footballers as pawns and sacrificing their wellbeing to wage a political war. Click HERE to read more.

About Raymond Tim Kee

Raymond Tim Kee
Raymond Tim Kee was elected unopposed as the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) president on 11 November 2012. Tim Kee previously served as a TTFF vice-president from the mid-1990s to 2010. He is also the Port of Spain Mayor, a Guardian Life Insurance executive and runs his own insurance firm, R.A. Tim Kee Investments Limited.

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83 comments

  1. Zenny boy, go meditate lil bit. That one lil far breds.?

  2. Mr Sancho is no longer his own Man, he no longer speaks with his tongue, mr Sancho is PP in an election period, you, (we) are PNM mr Sancho to satisfy PP has to try to discredit you (PNM) prayer for him, his reign is short.

  3. Raymond Tim Kee is/will be an albatross around the PNM’s/Dr. Rowley’s neck.

    Brent Sancho was given the sports ministry ahead of the 2015 elections so he could get some exposure and be given a seat. Same as with the AG…Garvin Nicholas.
    It had nothing to do with improving sports or policy etc.

  4. It could have been worse. He could have changed it to the Raymond Tim Kee Park. Lemme doh laugh because he might yet find something to put his name on. Lol.

  5. Wait, didn’t a life sport coordinator get millions of tax payers dollars for doing nothing.

  6. He got flashing lights on top of his car too Debbie.

  7. Tim Kee’s biggest claim to fame as Mayor is changing the name of King George V Park to Nelson Mandela Park. Can’t think of much else he has done during this tenure.

  8. Take win with that one, Lasana.

  9. If anyone comes up to me and tells me Tim Kee is a deep thinker, my response would be: Please keep your hands where I can see them and please state quickly what you have come to sell me!
    Lol. Bless them yes. Can’t beat politics.

    • Hannibal Najjar

      Lasana,
      Given what we have been seeing all through the past few decades, we have people that make Tim-Kee a person that has indeed shown to be a, “deep-enough” thinker – his successes are there to be seen. The T&TFA, is no easy fix and if he is to be judged by the charades that are taking place with the ever-revolving doors of the Ministry and the PPP, then no one is ever going to be seen as good or competent. The entire nation needs to soul search, repent, be baptized, and be born anew if we are to make any ground.
      Your comments that if anyone sees him as that, should, “Please keep your hands where I can see them and please state quickly what you have come to sell me!” We should speak of people as we know them, not, assume them to be whatever we feel to say because we have the free rein and reign of the pen. And, as for keeping my hands where you can see them, they have never been secretively anywhere but exactly where they could be seen. And, for trying to sell something, this suggests that I desire something in exchange and that is never my MO. My aim is always to make better that which is given to me and have met.
      We are in a state of serious disrepair Lasana and there is no time to toy with things but deal with them absolutely for what they are – the country is failing our youth and has abandoned our elderly. Same on all of us…SHAME!

      • Lasana Liburd

        Hannibal, I respect the right of others to interpret situations and persons according to their views. So I am sorry for offending.
        Even though I used your reference, I did not mean to suggest that you hoped to get something in return for your vote of confidence.
        It was a crude way of expressing my own skepticism.
        As a writer, I try as best as possible to give all sides equal opportunity to express their views.
        I do have my own opinion and I’m not happy with the present state of the TTFA nor with what has accomplished during Tim Kee’s tenure. All the same, I respect your right to have a different view.
        So I am unconvinced by the TTFA president. But I don’t mean to cast aspersions on you simply because you see things differently.

  10. Well I can’t speak to Tim Kee as a performer like Najjar could, but its hard to deny Sancho’s ‘job/role’.

  11. Sounds like I could do this POS Mayor and PNM treasurer thing in my spare time. Lol. I take your word then Richard Zen O’Brien

  12. I honestly have no opinion of Tim Kee’s performance as Mayor of POS. Similar to when Lee Sing and Murchison Brown and others were Mayors, it was never was on my radar outside what made national news. (South people doesn’t care what happen in town. 🙂 )
    Regarding his Treasurer position, while I have absolutely no knowledge about the PNM’s finances, the fact that there are no scandals and also watching the PNM’s campaign so far is pretty indicative of his ‘performance’. And no, its not a ‘low bar’ that’s being set, its that the structure of the PNM and most other organizations don’t function like the UNC. Example,, you won’t find cheques being deposited from contractors and bring cashed out by Tim Kee. I can guarantee that. The only other yardstick would be his ability to raise funds. Guess what, we can’t know without campaign finance reform. And even with that said, fund raising is not the exclusive responsibility of the Treasurer…a lot of other personnel are involved in that. So the measurement is still primarily on the functioning of the party and unless people can show me otherwise, things seem to be pretty comfortable in the PNM’s camp right now.

  13. Richard Zen O’Brien, maybe he was selected for that reason. Why is any PP Minister selected?
    I try not to get too far into Kamla’s head because I don’t think that will end well for me.
    But Sancho has been quite low keyed to me. A speech here and there. But they never brought him out from the start as though he were a secret weapon. So I’m not sure if they are just trying to get some use from him on the platform as opposed to him having some special purpose.
    He is a former footballer, young and has dreadlocks. For all we know, they want him mainly for cosmetic purposes.
    Is Sancho more influential in the PP than Tim Kee is in the PNM?
    And I’m not talking about “if Tim Kee doesn’t perform”. He has been mayor and treasurer for almost a year now. Much longer than Sancho has been sport minister.
    Since you have an opinion on Sancho, I would love to hear one on Tim Kee too.
    Has he been effective and efficient at his jobs as mayor and treasurer as far as PNM insiders are concerned?

  14. If you want taxpayer dollars you should be able to detail how it’s being spent. We need this type of scrutiny.

  15. Hannibal Najjar

    I believe that Raymond Tim Kee is a proven achiever and deep-enough thinker. I am sorry that he holds 4 positions at one time for no man can keep house with 4 wives, especially if those houses are not in one complex or belong to the same culture. As for the Minister BS, he faces the same predicament with his near-new PP appointment and other holdings with SIS, Central and so forth. Maybe he thinks he is the PP’s man for the job but like some of the writers here, I can clearly see that he is being brought in as an attack dog for both TK as a PNMite, and JAW. The only thing is, this attack dog either has baby teeth or hasn’t yet learn how to bite or bark LOUD – he has only shown to be a nibbler of the bite and poof of the bark that is needed especially this close to the GE. Further, both of these men have had training from the Master of many trades, JAW, but neither have the skill and the will, not even the elbow room, and so, instead of focusing on the Master’s longstanding tenure (and seemingly still going) as if that might suggest the same for them, they are advised to take heed of what befell and is befalling him!

  16. Calling for a good mediator because from all accounts both of them are feeding the public bits if misinformation to suit their agendas, political and otherwise. What we need are the facts, plain and simple then we can come to our own conclusions and by the way, this group is very good at that especially those who are fortunate to have insider information.

  17. Lasana, I have no clue what the word is related to Tim Kee’s performance. Again, that was never my issue, that would sort itself out, the PNM has the structure in place to deal with Tim Kee if he is ineffective in matters related to the PNM and the City. (That’s why Jack chose the UNC and not the PNM, there was no room for his corrupt practices to exist.)
    I was focusing on Sancho and HIS lack of credibility in this matter. I’m yet to hear what other possible reason was there for making him the minister of sport. I’m saying his SOLE purpose was to be an attack dog against Jack Warner AND attack the PNM by proxy through Tim Kee’s role in the TTFA. He has already started, I mentioned him talking about Jack on the platform last week. He also called Tim Kee ‘the new Jack Warner.’ You think that’s just football related? You think it’s unrelated to politics that he’s calling the PNM’s treasurer ‘the new Jack Warner’? Remember he’s from the same party that’s saying Jack and the PNM working together!
    Sancho is a hack. He fought Jack for years and while Jack was in gov’t, Kamla didnt care about Sancho. As soon as Jack and dem buss, Sancho became their best friend. Is it because she suddenly saw Sancho’s skill or saw his potential as a foil for Jack? (If people believe the former I’m going to sell them the bridge by the Mosquito Creek tomorrow.) And is it so far fetched that its unreasonable to think the UNC would pick a battle with the PNM’s treasurer who coincedentally happens to head the organization Sancho has been fighting? Am I the crazy one for thinking that?

  18. Both Tim Kee and Sanko are assholes!
    Fire bun both of them!

  19. Hmmmmm well according to Tim Kee, Sancho can’t separate the man from the minister. Seems that the two will be in conflict with each other and hamper the way in which his ministerial duties are performed. I have worked in situations where those in charge let their personal feelings get in the way of work and they make it a very difficult and unhealthy environment for their juniors. On the end it only creates more strife

  20. Take care they aint make me the Mayor!

  21. Isn’t Tim’s term in office almost up? It’s almost 2 years already

  22. Remain on the ground Lasana Liburd. Where else it have for him to go without causing embarassment?

  23. Like i said Lasana time will dictate what plans if any PNM has for TIM Kee. In the equation of things he’s not a priority at this time and i don’t know why you would think you would get black listed by the PNM for posing a question to which most people, including myself, want an answer. Feel free to pose the question next time Dr Rowley is in your area or any other “Conversations with Dr Rowley” meetings which are usually held on a Monday night.