Home / Rio 2016 / Letter to the Editor: Marisa Dick’s selection is the ‘fruit of a poisonous tree’

Letter to the Editor: Marisa Dick’s selection is the ‘fruit of a poisonous tree’

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by author “Nelson Luther Gandhi” and argues why Trinidad and Tobago should reject the decision—made initially by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) and ratified by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC)—to have gymnast Marisa Dick represent the nation at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games:

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Marisa Dick (right) wave to the crowd during the Opening Ceremony of the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games at Rogers Stadium, Toronto on July 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Marisa Dick (right) wave to the crowd during the Opening Ceremony of the Toronto 2015 Pan-American Games at Rogers Stadium, Toronto on July 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

American jurists are fond of the expression: ‘fruit of a poisonous tree’. No matter how pleasing to the eyes and/or taste buds, fruit of a poisonous tree will itself be poisonous. (The Rio 2016 Olympic selection of) Marisa Dick is clearly the fruit of a poisonous tree.

An obviously flawed process resulted in Ms Dick being nominated by the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Association (TTGF) to represent Trinidad and Tobago, in Gymnastics, at the 2016 Olympics.

This clearly was an absurd decision that violated the principles of ‘fair play’, ‘justice’ (including ‘natural justice’) and ‘integrity’—some of the most noble tenets of participation in any Olympics; far more important than winning a gold medal.

We do not participate in the Olympics to win at all costs—by fair means or foul. That is why doping (i.e. the use of performance enhancing drugs) is illegal.

We are setting a very bad precedent if we allow the TTGF to get away with this atrocity on the basis that the TTGF filed an unfair withdrawal of Thema Williams on time. If we do so, we leave ourselves open to similar action by other sporting bodies in the future.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Thema Williams. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago international gymnast Thema Williams.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

We must not accept the proposition that ‘the ends justify the means’. The image of Trinidad and Tobago is at stake.

‘Fair play’, ‘justice’ and ‘integrity’ must be valued highly by all our citizens. In this regard, therefore, the justice of this case demands that nobody should represent Trinidad and Tobago in Gymnastics, at the Olympics.

The question of ‘bad mind’ does not arise. This is a matter of confirming Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to ‘justice’, ‘fair play’ and ‘integrity’. As Ms Dick’s selection is the fruit of a poisonous tree, she cannot represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympics.

I call on trade unions, NGOs and other civic minded individuals and groups to organise and participate in a march, in support of this noble cause! I call on the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) to schedule an emergency meeting for the purpose of rescinding its perverse decision to send Ms Dick to the Olympics!

I call on the TTGF executive to resign now and remove this poison from the Board!

Where will it end?! What if a job is advertised and, following interviews, the best candidate is not chosen because of a flawed selection process? Is it fair to give the job to the ‘second best’ candidate?

Or should we just not accept anyone recommended by the interviewing panel?!

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right). (Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation officials (from right) Ricardo Lue Shue, Elicia Peters-Charles and David Marquez pose with Sport Minister Darryl Smith (second from right).
(Courtesy Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs)

Similar considerations are applicable in the award of scholarships and contracts. Has politics taught us nothing!

Do we want Trinidad and Tobago to be the subject of ridicule, internationally, as a place where ‘justice’, ‘fair play’ and ‘integrity’ are sacrificed on the altar of ‘expediency’ and ‘participation’ at all costs? Are we the corruption capital of the world?!

What are our university lecturers, university graduates and university students—our so-called intellectuals—saying and doing about such matters?!

What are we saying and doing to our sporting personalities?! What are we teaching our children?!

Shame on us, all!

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Marisa Dick (centre) and Thema Wiliams (right) pose with therapist Nicole Fuentes while sightseeing in Rio De Janeiro on 18 April 2016. (Courtesy Hannifer Dick)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnasts Marisa Dick (centre) and Thema Wiliams (right) pose with therapist Nicole Fuentes while sightseeing in Rio De Janeiro on 18 April 2016.
(Courtesy Hannifer Dick)

Editor’s Note: The above letter was emailed to editor@wired868.com by ‘Nelson Luther Gandhi’.

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139 comments

  1. They were all involved!! She wasn’t an innocent bystander totally unaware of what was happening. She was a willing crooked participant with the other crooks. Fire bun dem all!!

  2. Wish you all will ease off the young lady and put the pressure / critique on the administration. She did not pick herself. I feel bad for Telma but I don’t like the idea of destroying another young person

  3. a waste of dicking time stupissss

  4. I support you in that noble gesture Kenneth H. Ransome Jr. I don’t support her though. Lol.
    Of course I hope that she doesn’t drag the flag because she is representing us. But my following of this case and knowledge of what went on and her inability to do the right thing–and I’m giving her the scarcely deserved benefit of the doubt that she didn’t do the wrong thing–means I have a knot in her stomach when I see her at this event.
    For me, it would be like cheering someone at the finishing line knowing that they tripped a competitor in mid-race.

  5. ..Her chances of “medalling” (that ‘Murican verb) are nil..

  6. Marissa Dick’s selection was a tough pill to swallow because of the scandalous selection process the TTGF employed and the inept leadership of the TTOC (from my perspective). Thema Williams must seek relief via the legal process and I support that approach. Regardless, Marissa Dick is representing Trinidad and Tobago and I intend to support her despite how I feel. She is due to perform in about 5 hours and we, T&T, need to stand behind her. Her chances of medaling are super slim being that her ranking is 77th in the world but at least we, T&T, have a beam mount she invented and recognized by the world gymnastics body.

  7. “The validating elites will not relinquish power, rescind poor decisions or admit to error, voluntarily. Throughout history change has come about when people refuse to continue to accept injustice. We must nip injustice in the bud or we will drift aimlessly from streams into rivers and from rivers into the sea . Do we recall how and when our children became so undisciplined?” #truth

  8. Whatever! Fact is… she is credited with it because she did it at an official event. Get over it.

  9. .LOL. Ok. If it makes you happy – She has a chance. LOL..

  10. Nelson Luther Ghandi

    (Part II) Response to comments on ” LETTER TO THE EDITOR — ‘MARISA DICK’S SELECTION IS THE FRUIT OF A POISONOUS TREE’ ”

    A march can be an effective tool for delivering change. Although, we must guard against it becoming simply a forum to vent frustrations. An effective march requires charismatic leadership, proper planning and good organizational support. The issue(s) must be clearly defined and well articulated. However, a march brings people together and stimulates them to take further action while demonstrating a different way of doing things. The free publicity provides a golden opportunity to further enlighten the public, put pressure on the other side to respond and to change their position, as the issues are further ventilated and more public support is attained.

    There appears to be some skepticism about the effectiveness of marches as a tool of protest action in Trinidad and Tobago. That concern has some validity as in the recent past, with the notable exception of the ‘SECTION 34’ march, few marches have been supported by large numbers of persons, even though the issues might have widespread support in the society. Ignoring the power of collective action, in Trinidad and Tobago there is a culture of ‘helplessness’ — a feeling that no matter what we do, it will not make a difference. The position is taken that, ‘I will look after my family and vote once every 5 years’. However, in a democratic society matters requiring our action arise all of the time and many of those matters have little to do directly with the Government and/or the Opposition. There are those who thrive on the notion that Trinidad and Tobago is a 9-day wonder country. People will talk, but take no action. All you have to do is ride it out. Some other issue will soon emerge and all will be forgotten. The real question is, how do we keep issues alive and get the desired change?

    Perhaps, Mr. Akins Vidale, based on his vast experience as a trade union/political activist can comment on what ought to be the next steps in moving this issue forward and, generally, effecting societal change on such issues. Also, please help us to understand why marches,generally, have not been successful in Trinidad and Tobago. Those of you who have ideas/suggestions, please provide us with your comments.

    NELSON LUTHER GHANDI

  11. I saw her in an interview on a video talking about d move she stole. But she didn’t say she stole it. She said d person who invented d move never made it to Olympics and once she made it to Olympics wit d move it will b named after her. I swear I am not lying!

  12. I agree! She is the fruit of a poisonous tree!

  13. If she wins a medal what will we do

  14. We are all commenting but you know what’s its like to dedicate yourself since age 3 family sacrifice, financial investment, personal sacrifice, mother up and down the place, and then some impostor comes and take your place, and we must just say OK we will support dick Never!!! Wrong is wrong and she could win whatever. It will not make it right Impostor! That who Marisa Dick is selfish and shameless Canadian

  15. Same on anybody who supports that dick girl, that’s why we are so high on the corruption Lord! have mercy on the children, no proper example from most adults

  16. Is Nelson Luther Ghandi this person’s real name? Cause that’s a different spelling of Gandhi…

    • Yes Chabeth I agree with you. I await his response. Thanks for being viligent it’s wise and necessary in these times. Blessings always.

    • Lol. Idk. I’m actually hoping it’s his real name.
      Would hate to think that someone is calling on the rest of us to rise up while bravely standing behind a pseudonym. And I’d hate even more if we took advice from a nameless, faceless person.
      (Regardless of individual opinion about the matter at hand.)

    • Having worked with newspapers even if you use a fake name for printing you must submit your real name before the article is published. I totally agree with what he wrote. What’s the big deal about the validity of his name? Why not focus on his message. Is it that the truth offends?

    • His message is redundant. He isn’t adding anything new to this particular debate or to responses to injustices in general. I have no issue with ppl saying whatever they want. But if you’re going to attempt to incite ppl to action then at least let ppl know who you are.
      That’s all.

    • Poor feller. By now he should realize we are a nine day wonder society and he’s only spinning top in mud.

  17. Response to comments on ” LETTER TO THE EDITOR — ‘MARISA DICK’S SELECTION IS THE FRUIT OF A POISONOUS TREE’ ”

    I am happy that my letter to the editor has provoked so much discussion. Special thanks to the editor of WIRED 868 for his bold and courageous decision to publish it. The letter was submitted to some other news media houses in Trinidad and Tobago, but has not seen the light of day there. I am not sure why, but limited space/time, other competing issues and a generally busy news cycle might have been contributing factors. In the final analysis, the decision as to which letters are published is a judgement call of the editor based on his own ideas as to what is newsworthy. Apart from being far less constrained by considerations such as time and space, social media is highly interactive and clearly has certain advantages over traditional forms of media. I will say no more on the matter at this time.

    The view has been expressed that although the TTOC’s decision was perverse, there was no need to march as there are other more important issues. I strongly disagree with that view. We cannot effect change without effort/action. The validating elites will not relinquish power, rescind poor decisions or admit to error, voluntarily. Throughout history change has come about when people refuse to continue to accept injustice. We must nip injustice in the bud or we will drift aimlessly from streams into rivers and from rivers into the sea . Do we recall how and when our children became so undisciplined?

    How did slavery, indentureship and segregation/apartheid end? What about our social revolution in the 1970s (e.g. the change in ‘complexion’ at the banks)? Those who do not learn from history are condemned to relive it. We must overcome our feeling of helplessness and use our far superior ‘numbers’ and ‘intelligence’ to effect change. Let us not forget Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat on the bus! Her action had a tremendous impact on the success of the civil rights movement in the USA.

    We must also recognize that human nature is such that if there is a lack of consequence, some people or perhaps most people might adopt the attitude that they could do what they want and get away with it. We must ensure that such persons understand that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We must use our ‘speed guns’ (i.e. marches and other forms of lawful, peaceful protest action ).

    The TTOC is akin to a Board of Directors( BOD ) of a company. If the BOD becomes aware that the interviewing panel had adopted a flawed procedure for the hiring of an individual or the award of a contract then, in such circumstances, the BOD is duty bound to ensure that no recommendation of that interviewing panel finds acceptance.
    Similarly, nobody recommended by the TTGF ought to be accepted/ratified by the TTOC.

    No sanctions will be imposed by any international sporting organization on the TTOC for declining to participate in gymnastics at the Rio Olympics. Subject to having met certain qualifying standards, it is the inherent right of each country’s Olympic body to determine whether or not it wishes to participate in particular events. However, it seems that the TTOC felt that since Thema Williams ( the best candidate ) was not allowed by the TTGF to participate in the test event in Brazil and, therefore, was not eligible for the Rio Olympics ( as confirmed by FIG ), then Marisa Dick was the obvious choice. In this regard, the other option did not find favour with the TTOC ( i.e. decline to participate, in gymnastics, in the Rio Olympics ). Accordingly, the TTOC threw itself under the bus, without any assistance from FIG. The TTOC ought not to blame FIG for this fiasco.

    Fellow citizens, unjust decisions are being made while we sleep. Let us arise from our slumber and do what is right.
    What is the legacy that we are leaving for future generations? What will be their reaction to our failure to act when all this injustice was taking place? I sincerely hope that they do not spit on our graves!

    NELSON LUTHER GHANDI

  18. Nelson Luther Ghandi

    Response to comments on ” LETTER TO THE EDITOR — ‘MARISA DICK’S SELECTION IS THE FRUIT OF A POISONOUS TREE’ ”

    I am happy that my letter to the editor has provoked so much discussion. Special thanks to the editor of WIRED 868 for his bold and courageous decision to publish it. The letter was submitted to some other news media houses in Trinidad and Tobago, but has not seen the light of day there. I am not sure why, but limited space/time, other competing issues and a generally busy news cycle might have been contributing factors. In the final analysis, the decision as to which letters are published is a judgement call of the editor based on his own ideas as to what is newsworthy. Apart from being far less constrained by considerations such as time and space, social media is highly interactive and clearly has certain advantages over traditional forms of media. I will say no more on the matter at this time.

    The view has been expressed that although the TTOC’s decision was perverse, there was no need to march as there are other more important issues. I strongly disagree with that view. We cannot effect change without effort/action. The validating elites will not relinquish power, rescind poor decisions or admit to error, voluntarily. Throughout history change has come about when people refuse to continue to accept injustice. We must nip injustice in the bud or we will drift aimlessly from streams into rivers and from rivers into the sea . Do we recall how and when our children became so undisciplined?

    How did slavery, indentureship and segregation/apartheid end? What about our social revolution in the 1970s (e.g. the change in ‘complexion’ at the banks)? Those who do not learn from history are condemned to relive it. We must overcome our feeling of helplessness and use our far superior ‘numbers’ and ‘intelligence’ to effect change. Let us not forget Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat on the bus! Her action had a tremendous impact on the success of the civil rights movement in the USA.

    We must also recognize that human nature is such that if there is a lack of consequence, some people or perhaps most people might adopt the attitude that they could do what they want and get away with it. We must ensure that such persons understand that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We must use our ‘speed guns’ (i.e. marches and other forms of lawful, peaceful protest action ).

    The TTOC is akin to a Board of Directors( BOD ) of a company. If the BOD becomes aware that the interviewing panel had adopted a flawed procedure for the hiring of an individual or the award of a contract then, in such circumstances, the BOD is duty bound to ensure that no recommendation of that interviewing panel finds acceptance.
    Similarly, nobody recommended by the TTGF ought to be accepted/ratified by the TTOC.

    No sanctions will be imposed by any international sporting organization on the TTOC for declining to participate in gymnastics at the Rio Olympics. Subject to having met certain qualifying standards, it is the inherent right of each country’s Olympic body to determine whether or not it wishes to participate in particular events. However, it seems that the TTOC felt that since Thema Williams ( the best candidate ) was not allowed by the TTGF to participate in the test event in Brazil and, therefore, was not eligible for the Rio Olympics ( as confirmed by FIG ), then Marisa Dick was the obvious choice. In this regard, the other option did not find favour with the TTOC ( i.e. decline to participate, in gymnastics, in the Rio Olympics ). Accordingly, the TTOC threw itself under the bus, without any assistance from FIG. The TTOC ought not to blame FIG for this fiasco.

    Fellow citizens, unjust decisions are being made while we sleep. Let us arise from our slumber and do what is right.
    What is the legacy that we are leaving for future generations? What will be their reaction to our failure to act when all this injustice was taking place? I sincerely hope that they do not spit on our graves!

    NELSON LUTHER GHANDI

  19. Wonder how many on this page find “its only plums” on the other page?? WRONG IS WRONG! Thief is thief!