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:
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.
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?!
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!
Editor’s Note: The above letter was emailed to email@example.com by ‘Nelson Luther Gandhi’.