“Ricardo’s greatest work is likely to be in the future,” stated Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) vice-president and International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) men’s technical committee president, Steve Butcher, in a letter on 19 August 2012. “(…) Ricardo (Lue Shue) has surrounded himself with an excellent team.”
The following letter, excerpts of which were used on TV6 last night by senior investigative journalist Mark Bassant, was written by Butcher on behalf of then Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) president Ricardo Lue, who wanted a term extension.
Butcher, who suggested that Trinidad and Tobago had a gymnastics president with expertise in areas like “fiscal matters and conflict resolution”, was a FIG floor member at the time but has since climbed higher up the ladder at the world governing body.
Ironically, Lue Shue told I95.5 FM last week that he never submitted an audited statement in eight years as TTGF president while he has not distinguished himself in conflict resolution of late.
Still, Lue Shue did manage to get the two-thirds majority necessary to change the constitution and secure him a second term as president—albeit after two special general meetings called for the purpose. He has already served both terms and, at present, has swapped portfolios and operates as the TTGF’s second vice-president.
Lue Shue, a former SPORTT board member, is eligible for another eight years at the helm of the local gymnastics body in 2019, if he can convince the local electorate.
The administrator is squarely in the sights of Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams’ attorneys, due to his perceived role in her controversial replacement by alternate, Marisa Dick, on the eve of the Rio 2016 Olympic Test event.
FIG might also have questions to answer, as the international body appear to have accredited Dick after the deadline and without a medical form to prove Williams’ injury.
Here was Butcher’s letter for Lue Shue on 19 August 2012:
To Whom It May Concern:
The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation has been very successful over the past four years. The accomplishments have not gone unnoticed by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) or Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) officials.
Trinidad and Tobago has become the smallest nation, by population, participating in the majority of the world’s highest level gymnastics competitions. Trinidadian gymnasts have participated in the recent Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships. This demonstrates tremendous progress for a country without a tradition in the sport.
An important factor in this progress is the leadership of the federation. The president of any gymnastics federation has a tremendous responsibility and requires knowledge gathered over a span of time.
The TTGF currently has a policy not permitting the federation president to remain in office for an extended period, even if the general body wants them to remain in office. No successful gymnastics federation in the world has term limits for the federation president or officers; examples from the Americas include the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
These successful federations also have elections every four years, or not at all.
The ones without elections for the presidency have their elected board of directors hire a president only removable by a special no confidence vote. USA Gymnastics had their longest standing president, Mike Jacki, from 1983 to 1994. He left to be the president of USA Skiing afterward.
The Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation will produce an Olympic gymnast in the future. I am sure of this, after coaching or judging at four Olympic Games. An important factor in this development for Trinidad will be the consistency and competency of the federation president.
A four year presidency better guarantees the completion of the goals and strategic planning of an Olympic cycle. More importantly, most federation presidents will freely admit they gain enough experience to do their job correctly after completing a four year Olympic cycle in office.
After four years these presidents achieve their most important quality, vision.
The job of federation president also requires competence in leadership, fiscal matters, technical expertise, conflict resolution, international relationship building, and a multitude of other assets. TTGF has now evolved to a stature where rotating presidents every few years will not be advantageous to the development of the federation’s primary component, the athletes.
Ricardo Lue Shue is one of the most respected federation presidents in the Pan American Union. He was recently elected vice president (Caribbean area) for the Pan American Gymnastics Union through 2015, illustrating the level of respect he maintains.
The Pan American Gymnastics Union and International Gymnastics Federation recognize Ricardo’s passion for education and have helped to send many experts to Port of Spain to train gymnasts, coaches, and judges. Several of Trinidad’s coaches and athletes have also received training outside of the country.
Ricardo has not shown preference to just one or two disciplines, but has attempted to bring every form of gymnastics to the country: artistic, rhythmic, acro, and gymnastics for all. The concept of growing the base seems to be working, especially in artistic gymnastics.
I attended and judged the 2011 National Championships and was very impressed with the progress of the gymnasts.
Ricardo’s greatest work is likely to be in the future. He is one of the catalysts for the Caribbean Commonwealth Gymnastics League. This league will provide a base of competition for all the English speaking countries in the Caribbean, helping to propel all of them forward in world stature.
He is also likely to be the first president of this group. Ricardo also has the goal of finding a permanent home for high level gymnastics on the island. This is no easy task, but I have pledged to assist in any way possible.
I have been fortunate to know Ricardo for several years through my role as Pan American Gymnastics Union vice president and former Men’s Technical President in charge of the entire men’s gymnastics competition at 2007 and 2011 Pan American Games.
I am also a member of the International Gymnastics Federation’s Men’s Technical Committee and candidate to be their next president in October.
Ricardo has surrounded himself with an excellent team. His secretary general, Frances Dow, is also very popular and influential within international circles. Her foreign language skills have been a tremendous asset abroad.
The relationships and reputation they have developed with FIG and PAGU officials has already lead to a multitude of training sessions for athletes and coaches and coaching academies supported by these organizations.
I congratulate you on the stable and professional leadership you have in your president Ricardo Lue Shue. The coordination and development of your gymnasts rests in the hands of someone also possessing an extensive technical background, from years as a university athlete in the USA.
Many other gymnastics federations do not have this luxury. Ricardo is the primary reason why I have been so generous in giving my time to assist. Plus I have a vested interest in the TTGF’s success since I also have a Trinidad passport and extensive roots within islands’ sports.
Thank you for your time and attention. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions, comments, or need any assistance.
Vice President / Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU)
Member- Men’s Technical Committee / International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)