The following letter was written by Leon Williams, the father of Trinidad and Tobago national gymnast, Thema Williams:
I remember, as a young boy watching Sesame Street, (seeing) a child ask an adult: “Is silence a sound?”
The adult paused for a moment and then answered, “I don’t know.” I would like to think from that answer that he may have meant: “Sometimes it is.”
I want to draw from that answer of uncertainty (the example of the TTGF) where weeks have passed and still there has been no response from them…
Where they have been very silent on the issue since Marisa Dick’s photo appeared on social media, mere hours before the Federation was about to make a pronouncement on Thema’s fate…
Where they have recoiled and, to this day, they have remained so silent it is deafening. I want to believe that their silence in this case is a sound.
So adults and children, listen up, it is a sound of incompetence. It is a sound of unfairness, it is a sound of disbelief, embarrassment, biases, mischievousness.
That, adults and children, is the sound one makes when the spotlight has been shone on their character (or lack thereof) and modus operandi in running this organisation.
I would hope that whatever decision they make—even though legally there is only one they can make—that none of these bureaucrats will be accompanying the delegated athletes to Rio, especially Thema.
I would be very worried and concerned after seeing what played out after Thema’s photo mischievously surfaced—more than a year after it was first taken and was removed in less than twenty-four hours on the advice of her coach.
Might I remind readers, this picture fell outside of the document that was signed by Thema in January 2016.
As I was saying, my concern is for Thema’s fitness (mental/emotional) having to be in such close quarters with the same people whose initial decision may have jeopardised the representation of T&T, not Canada, in the Test Event in Rio.
Silence is also the sound of Ms Georgette Heinz, who claimed to be a concerned and outraged parent of a child (not named) and who is not known to the fraternity, who has not expressed her concern and outrage when Marisa Dick’s photo surfaced.
This photo, readers, was taken February 2015, after the aforementioned document would have been signed.
My question is, where is “Ms Georgette Heinz” now?
As far as Thema’s parents, grandparents, siblings and her family of supporters goes, our silence is the sound of being resolute in the belief that the Federation has brought shame to T&T Gymnastics.
And now it is time we hear the sound of feet shuffling out of office, giving way for knowledgeable and competent people to take the helm and take gymnastics out of the dark ages.
Leon Williams, concerned father.