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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  1. Do you believe I was reading a post where Abeo received an abusive phone call and it was pulled off Facebook

  2. She was selected to represent T & T and I will support her , I see nothing wrong she went to Brazil and compete in order to qualify it was no favor from anyone. Which means she is good , I wonder if she wins a medal what would you say then .

    • They would all jump on the bandwagon

    • No we won’t. She is an “outside child”

    • If she were good enough to win a medal this wouldn’t be an issue at all, because she wouldn’t be representing Trinidad but the country in “her heart”……Canada

      • Earl Best

        Or, alternatively, she would have been representing T&T LEGITIMATELY since she probably would not have finished 77th in Glasgow.

        Frankly, I do not understand how thinking people could miss that point. But a wise man once said that “Trinidadians walk around with their heads empty.” Sometimes when you read the comments on Wired868, it’s really hard not to agree wholeheartedly.

    • Lady you are living in la, la, land support that dick girl Never! Any right thinking true Trini who knows what’s it’d like to reach to Theme level, and have an impostor like dick with the full support of that wicked board take your birthright support! Corruption is so embedded in this society that many people cannot distinguish truth from error support dick NEVER!!! and I don’t care whether she wins 10 gold medals I not taking my eyesight to watch her she is no Trini impostor!

    • No we won’t. Bcuz our own soil Thema qualified for d spot she got and bcuz her and her crew was planning to remove her and they wait to d so d last minute, so nothing couldn’t b done. Dat wasn’t nice. If your girl friend u lime wit and trained wit slept wit your husband and she planned to do u dat all d time while u were friends and your husband left u for her. Dat will b ok, then?

    • I remember before the “C” word came in vogue we used to say “Money Pass”. Dick eh representing this Trini…I will feel good for Canada if she performs well… In sync with her heart.

    • You need to know the history and if you are a true Trini you will think and feel differently, this is not a matter of just selecting someone lady, it is who they selected instead of the true Trinidadian Thema this dick Canadian is not one of us, she is not for us she is an imposter and an opportuneness no person with integrity will support that

  3. As I always say, Massa day never done.

  4. Dick isn’t going to place.

    Each routine has a difficulty/start value and she does not have high enough value skills to beat the competition.

    As I am typing this I realize the irony in saying that her (skill) values are not high enough for her to win any medals at the Olympics, yet a lack of values within the TTGF and her handlers is what got her there in the first place.

  5. The decision was made to send Ms Dick to represent us and we just accepted it when we ought to be marching in the streets. Even the other athletes ought to have remove themselves from representing T&T as a show of solidarity not only Thema but to show that they will accept nothing less that fair play and integrity. We’re just a selfish and corrupt society and this shit will continue cause we don’t stand for nothing and we will therefore sadly fall for anything. Ms Dick and her team I’m sure have been giving each other hi 5s at how they were able to pull one over us because of weak and pathetic we are!

  6. I am still hurt about this as representation and a medal come before honesty and integrity

  7. Wow Danni all day I did not see dat coming she’s a thief

  8. We all support thema & how thismarissa girl from another country could take thema’s spot…but u know Trini’s..if she happened to get a medal or a good placing.. Let’s see how many of us will change their tune..”so proud to b a Trini & shit”

  9. We should all support some kind of compensation for this grave injustice against Thema and I support Azerbaijan for #Rio2016…we have no gymnast because Thema did not get her chance to earn a spot at the test event. She won the chance to be there fair and square and (then under suspicious circumstances) was robbed of it…therefore whoever is in Rio flying the T&T flag for gymnastics – I care not if it is the first person for T&T – is the wrong person. It should have been Thema and it is not, I stand by the principle that it is better to have no one there than having anybody there when they stole the spot – whether they had help to steal it or not. We do not condone stealing…we let it happen enough in the last 5 years…let’s make an end of it now…

  10. And speaking of dicks move… was done way before her.. here is one of them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6-cCaN759E

  11. Agree wholeheartedly with everything the gentleman wrote. Shame on all of us who sat by and watched this charade unfold without letting our feet do the talking. Shame,shame, shame.

  12. Like I said she reminds me of Miley, Justin n Donald Trump in a nutshell

  13. Her “parent” taught her well. She will reach far being dishonest and dishonourabe

  14. There was a big write up of confusion about her n dat move she only showed it off recently in Glasgow, she lies for everything

  15. this was written under the video with Samantha:
    Tade Williams3 months ago
    If this video is from March 2014, how can Marisa Dick the Canadian gymnast with the constant injuries who claims to represent TnT (what Trinidad doesn’t have any other gymnast? Even an injured one is better than what they have?) how can she have INVENTED THE MOUNT? and how can it go down in the history books named after Marisa Dick ? Seems like these friends were both doing it around the same time and it seems like Gourley was even doing it a bit before Dick. Gourley’s execution is flawless, and was flawless in March 2014. She goes into her next “position” without error, Marisa is all over the place and awkward.

  16. They always say a liar is a thief

  17. well if Sam did it first, it is obvious. I heard there was even someone else in Australia before, but didn’t get the name… the dick move it seems is not the dick’s move at all.

  18. In “ATale of Two Cities” authored by Charles Dickens he wrote,

    ” It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,…..”

    Apparent contridictory words yet complementary. The TTGF made a historic event, ” the best of times” one of the most catastrophic and contemptuous decisions heavily impregnated by nepotism, “the worst of times”.

    The TTOC an organization supposedly imbibed with insight, discernment and good judgment, “wisdom” took a thoughtless and irresponsible decision which endorsed a defective process created by simpletons.

    Yes and we must live with it. What is even worse are the persons defending these cretins who created this tragedy and the jesters who who maintain their officialdom.

    #shameshameshame ( rings bell )
    Shame ( rings bell )

    • Earl Best

      For those unable to recognise it, brothers and sisters, genuine righteous indignation. It is, I repeat, wha was, in the TTOC President’s announcement of the Committee’s decision, conspicuous by its absence.

      Thanks, Nichole.


  20. Well said Nelson Luther Gandhi. It’s time we stand up for something and also add ‘the fairless – oops – fearless one’ to the list. He should apologise to Thema and her coach.

  21. Moving forward I would like to see the governing sport bodies make a clear
    determination on foreigners.
    it cant no longer be because you cant make it in the country of your birth, you decide to represent TT based on lineage.

  22. Nowhere will be safer than the Games Village. Fans might want to pay attention to that tough.

  23. This is the worst only in trinidad she doesn’t represent trinidad I am sorry

  24. ..Thema might be the lucky one..

  25. Once when I was just a boy, my little sister and I ate what we thought were plums; it turned out that we had eaten the fruit of a poisonous tree and we ended up in the hospital.

    My consistent policy, in all the years since then, has been to stay as far away as I possibly can from ALL poisonous trees – and even further from the fruit. I see no reason to change now and wish to thank the writer for erecting this huge sign designed to alert all and sundry to the true nature of the TTGFruit.

  26. Roseanna Clement, unless the Arbitration body says otherwise, accept the fact that at this point Thema is not going to Rio.

    • Earl Best

      In fact, it may be even worse than that, Judy-Ann. Because the FIG has said that the spot is nominative, meaning that it belongs to Marisa, even if she were disqualified at the eleventh hour (poetic justice?), the spot would go to an Azerbaijan gymnast and not to Thema. It’s a point that quite a few commenting on the recent stories seem to have missed.

  27. I fully support the sentiments expressed in this letter. I will support any lawful action by civil society to demand that #ThemaOrNobody represents Trinidad and Tobago in the upcoming Olympics in Gymnastics.

  28. I remembered as a young boy about 14 years old I went to the Wes Hall under 15 cricket trials at the nets in Arima, the gentleman in charge a national player at the time one Prince Bartholomew saw me for the first time and told me he never saw a Chinee cricketer yet, ignored me for the rest of the session and that was the end of my cricket career. Sorry to say racialism around long time now in sport. God don’t sleep, I was able to gain success in another area while Mr. Bartholomew now have no feet.

  29. So this move now known as “The Marisa Dick move” was also performed by Sam Gourley at the UCIC in 2014. So who really came up with this move first??? Hmmmmmm makes me wonder after all that has happened to Thema, is it possible she could’ve copied this move from Sam Gourley??? We may never know. Kelly Ramlal-McDowell, Clifton McDowell, Deborah Knowles- Garcia Michelle Telfer-Frankland

  30. There is the link enjoy some truth

  31. SSDD- Same Shit Different Day. Trinidad and Tobago has been a culture of acceptance of everything for as long as I can remember. If people can literally get away with murder in the twin islands, what is going to bring change now that would hold the TTGF and TTOC responsible and accountable for this injustice? As much as a few voices shout how much they hate the injustice that was done to Thema, it remains nothing more than a few feverish Facebook posts and opinion letters. As outraged as we all are (including expats like myself), nothing is going to happen. I want to be wrong.

  32. Which country??? She doesn’t need T&T’s support because she and her deceitful mother made sure that they connived enough to get that spot. I wonder what was the price her mother paid to cement it? How low did she stoop to get her foot and whatever else through the TTGF board?

  33. Thats the truth. How can they really expect us to accept this poisoned decision.

  34. Would be great to hear from the actual members of the games committee and their legal advisor on this issue.
    We can go on forever with analogies. If the bank erroneously forecloses on my house and someone else buys it, do I eventually get my house back or do I get compensated in another way, if at all?
    I don’t think most of these analogies that people (myself included) are using are really very strong as they don’t seem to include an international governing body with the ability to impose sanctions that would affect more than the involved parties.

    • As I’ve said before, an analogy like yours is flawed because the house goes back to you, the rightful owner. Williams is not going to get the Olympic spot if it’s taken away from Dick. So it would just be a case of punishing Dick and no real benefit being transferred to anyone.

      • Earl Best

        It’s not punishing Dick; it’s STRIPPING her of her ill-gotten gains. And it’s not accurate to say that no real benefit would be transferred to anyone; what you mean is no real benefit would be transferred to anyone IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, which, you keep failing to see, is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.


    • Like I said, I don’t think any of the analogies, mine included are very strong.

    • Erline Andrews, I disagree with the ‘no benefit’ part. I think I prefer that the country’s reputation for fairplay, integrity and good sportsmanship be kept in tact.

    • Kysmyk Lee It would not be fair to punish Dick if she did no wrong. I think this is the crux of the disagreement here.

    • Erline Andrews you can’t tell me that she did no wrong. Doing right is stepping down knowing fully well that what was done to Thema was wrong. Because her hands are not dirty does not mean that she is deserving.

    • Erline Andrews, did Marisa not say in an interview that it was ‘cutthroat time’ even AFTER Thema had already earned the spot? Did Marisa not say in another interview, with confidence, that Thema was injured, even though she is no doctor and no certificate was seen or produced? Marisa knew exactly what was going on and she had a hand (through her mother) in orchestrating every deceitful decision made.

    • Erline, I don’t know how many times to say this. But let me ask you: You do know that your sense of fairplay and whether Dick did something wrong is irrelevant right?
      I mean of course you are entitled to an opinion. But I just want to be clear whether you think that is a legal opinion that Dick cannot lose her spot. Or whether it is just an emotional one.
      Because I’ve lost track of how many times I told you that it is NOT a legal fact that she cannot lose the place unless she is personally culpable. And yet I keep seeing you repeat it.

    • Lasana Liburd Of course they can take the spot from her, but she wouldn’t have grounds to sue?

    • I think people continue to care about this out of a sense of vindictiveness towards Marisa. I don’t know why they can’t walk away. Don’t support Marisa and walk away

    • Erline I believe you are misreading the public sentiment entirely. You are mistaking outrage and an abhorrence of injustice to mean “vindictiveness” toward Marisa. I dare say there have been a few misguided souls who literally wish her harm. But the majority of right thinking citizens of which I consider myself numbered really do not want Marisa Dick representing us at the Olympics. “Her” spot was gained by conniving and scheming and to make matters worse it was gained by stepping on the back of the rightful athlete. She is the benefactor of a stolen dream. For this reason we don’t think she is deserving of the place she has “wrongfully” earned for team TTO. Our conscience will not allow us to reward scheming and deceit with support for our first gymnastic representative. It is poisoned fruit and we want no part of it. If she miraculously won a medal it would bring us no joy whatsoever. This is not vindictiveness. ..it is called righteous indignation. I have to say it is sometimes baffling that most of this goes above you. Everyone is entitled to an opinion on this matter and clearly yours is that we should support Dick because she’s earned a place for us. You do know that in her “heart”.. the place she earned is for herself and her real country right?

    • Erline, Thema can sue too. And don’t mistake silence from resignation on her part. The fact remains her spot can be taken away whether or not she was culpable.
      I’m relieved to finally hear you suggest so and I hope you keep it in mind when you post on subject.

  35. I wish you’d get someone with legal experience to comment on this, Lasana. Because to my mind, using the analogy in the letter, if a qualified person is hired for a job, then afterward the selection process was found to be flawed, it is not fair and just to nullify the person’s employment contract. i don’t think such a move would be upheld by a court.

    • Akins Olatunji Vidale, what do you think? Or St Bryan St Louis?

    • Say it was found that a State board had been hiring based on race, do all the people they hired lose their jobs? To my mind – no.

    • Once the people hired were qualified.

    • As Chabeth said, I’m not sure when the analogy might work and when it won’t. But I think the gymnastics matter is much simpler.
      The TTOC said among its checklists is the procedure used in the selection of the athlete.
      So there really is no question as to whether Marisa Dick could not have been selected despite presumably doing no wrong.
      That has already been spelt out in black and white. The TTOC had the power not to select her but choose another route. And it had nothing to do with whether or not she was culpable.

    • I think the gymnastics situation is simpler morally.
      Clearly there’s something that we’re missing legally though. Unless we’re missing another connection somewhere or something.
      But TTOC had sound legal advice.

    • Believe me when I say I have heard from a Senior Counsel who has a different impression though.
      It is absolutely not clear cut.

    • I’m sure legal minds would be split on the issue.
      So maybe the games committee erred on the side of caution. Idk.

    • Lasana Anyone who feels that they were treated unfairly or discriminated against has the option to seek legal redress and this could apply to both Marisa and Thema. But like I said in an earlier post, something is missing from this entire episode.

    • I agree Chabeth. And I also think things are missing Bryan. But anything relevant to the case though?
      In other words, since we have a contract in this matter. Is there anything you can think of that is necessary to rule on the case that you haven’t seen yet?

  36. Technically we are not your country Miss Canadian at heart so we don’t necessarily need to support you. Just saying

  37. AMEN Agreed 100%. The tsunami of dishonesty swept away intergrity and fairness.

  38. The author sets it out properly. Just because we had the last government appointing unqualified persons, Wade getting a degree, the issuance of contracts to parties not providing the best quote, etc., it is time to put T&T back on the ‘correct’ path. This will be started with the TTOC not sending anyone for gymnastics. I don’t, however, agree with marching over this when we have many more important issues to deal with.

  39. I will support any action which will send THEMA WILLIAMS to represent us, the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, at the Rio Olympic Games 2016.

    Sign me up now!

  40. This is normal behavior in our country, it’s all about how to manipulate the system for your benefit, all that bs bout hard work and honesty pays off…..isn’t true. That’s why the crime rate is where it is and our society are filled with angry, frustrated ppl. Equity, justice and integrity no longer exist.

  41. well, he doesn’t have to tell me twice….but I want him to know that the question he asked is already happening in this country…..jobs are advertised all the time and the best person isn’t chosen because of a “flawed selection process”….SMH, if only we all knew what some of our citizens face on a daily basis

    • Correct is right. This only received attention because of the very public nature of the arena in which it played off. Unfortunately, we who see the hell on a regular basis where discrimination is rampant aren’t so fortunate…