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Martin Daly SC joins “Team Thema”: Attorneys set for fresh assault on TTGF

The war between 20 year old Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams and the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) might only be just getting started.

Photo: Martin Daly SC is a prominent columnist and former Independent Senator. (Courtesy UWI.sta.edu)
Photo: Martin Daly SC is a prominent columnist and former Independent Senator.
(Courtesy UWI.sta.edu)

Eminent local attorney Martin Daly SC has joined “Team Thema” and will add his expertise to Williams’ legal staff, which is headed by Keith Scotland and also included Dr Emir Crowne.

And although Williams will not go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and must watch her alternate, Marisa Dick, participate instead, the TTGF might have to account for its actions in a court of law.

Worse, for the gymnastics body, Williams’ attorneys are believed to be targeting not just the federation but individual officials as well. If successful, it could be a landmark case for athletes and sport administrators—the latter party having generally been shielded from personal liability.

Daly, like the rest of Williams’ legal team, is working pro bono.

“The answer (as to why I have joined this case) is the conduct of the federation and its officials,” Daly told Wired868, “greatly disturbed my sense of justice.”

At present, the TTGF is represented by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC.

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)

Gymnastics officials have complained about being harassed ever since their controversial replacement of Williams with Dick, on the eve of the April 17 Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro.

Dick attended one press conference with five police officers while TTGF assistant treasurer Donna Lue Shue is believed to have filed police reports and had reports filed against her by blogger Abeo Jackson and Eamon Young, related to the gymnastics scandal.

Williams’ legal team is expected to provide further information on the evolving matter later this week.

Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis has also vowed to bring the TTGF before an independent disciplinary committee under clause 13 of its constitution, which is titled “Measures and Sanctions.”

Clause 13 states that: “When a member has failed to fulfil his/her or its duties. has infringed the Olympic Charter, the IOC Code of Ethics and/or this Constitution or has not respected or implemented the decisions or resolutions of the organs of the IOC, he/she or it may be subject to the following graduated measures and sanctions (depending on the gravity of the facts and the level of damage or infringement): (a) Warning, (b) Suspension, (c) Expulsion.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago gymnast Thema Williams (centre) is flanked by (from left) Tots and Tumblers gymnastics club owner Annette Telfer and attorneys Keith Scotland, Dr Emir Crowne and Resa Ramjohn at a press conference on 27 April 2016 at the Virtus Chambers in Port of Spain.
(Courtesy Wired868)

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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137 comments

  1. All the legal after thoughts will not put back ‘humphy dumpy” together again.

  2. I hope they all pay #JusticeNeeded

  3. Rock on TnT…what a great island!!

  4. Raven Wilkinson was too dark and was asked to paint her face white for ballet. Surya Bonaly was discriminated against because of her body type and skin colour in figure scating. But i digress……..Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, against all odds, won gold in the 2012 Olympics and was the first black gymnast to win an individual goal award. Karma has a way of claiming its pound of flesh only time will tell.

  5. Go Thema go Thema *happy dance* TTGF gon learn today!

  6. It’s so unfair and sad ,for Thema she will represent us i sense it , it’s never to late lets keep the Hope alive

  7. Ent he on team Duprey as well?

  8. Dear Sc Martin Daly. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of all of our hearts. Deal with them now for us please. Don’t hold back. Fire!

  9. Stop that Canadian representing us. She and her mother maybe laughing at us Trinidadians. Lets take a stand…..if not Thema no one else.

  10. And Brian Lewis need to shut his face the one he is now trying to save. Too little too late Mr Lewis take your TTOC and ride off into the sunset. Hayo Pancho.

  11. I just hope that these individuals are PRIVATELY paying Mr. Maharaj for his services.

    It’s bad enough that my tax money funded the TTGF’s bobol and dream-stealing. To fund their coverage of their own asses would just be adding insult to the injury.

    And YES – Injury. I feel it too because “Thema Williams” could just as easily have been anyone else’s daughter. >:-(

  12. Very good let them know what they did was not right, and the world is looking on.

  13. They robbed that girl. Bastards !

  14. Make each and every single one accountable for the refusal to follow their own rules and in so doing, irreparably damage this national athlete’s opportunity to compete in Rio!! Nobody is supposed to be above the law. Nobody.

  15. O give it a rest now. More important things to focus on in this country presently. Like job creation, out of control crime,murder rate n high cost of living.

  16. could do without the negative comments

  17. Earl Best

    Martin may be a senior counsel but that’s not a synonym of miracle worker. We all know he’ll do his best and add value to the team but LET’S NOT GO COUNTING ANY CHICKENS BEFORE THEY ARE HATCHED. Keith Look Loy is right to urge caution; the law, remember, is an ass.

  18. I hope by Martin Daly joining d team brings some closure for Thema. This has been dragging on tooo long and the damage cannot be reversed. I hope Thema is compensated handsomely and measures put in place for this to never happen again.

  19. The courts must be asked to rule that Thema should not be discriminated against. The Caribbean has horrible history of “blacklisting” every athlete who fights for fair treatment.

  20. what an interesting turn of events ,will continue to watch to see if justice will be served.

  21. And I hope he does not talk to any of them the way he spoke to Mervin Assam at the CLICO inquiry. Ms. Williams has a great team of lawyers and 99.987% of Trinbago.

  22. I know but still think all it will do is clean house which will be the best possible outcome.

  23. A team of jokers and bandwagonists

  24. I hope he’s working for free, all will happen is a situation like that will never occur again.

  25. Finally, there is a glimmer of light at the end of this dark grimy tunnel. It’s a pity that Thema had to be the martyr for this cause; however I think that this will be , or rather must be a revolution of sports administration in T&T. Yes, we respect your autonomy; but you can’t represent T&T and not represent the views, feelings, integrity and passion of the people of T&T. Your constitution and by-laws should represent integrity and good governance, before you qualify for state funding, in any form.

  26. He alive I thought he died where resurrect from

  27. damage is there , but it protect our children in the future

  28. I fear the damage has already been done. The body having oversight by their wheeling and dealing has damaged the reputation of this country and probably destroyed a friendship between two young people.

  29. Well if Ms. Williams seeks redress from a Court of Law, it is her right to do so.

  30. Good for Martin Daly! Let legal battle commence.

  31. Yes, the article stated that he is working pro bono like the rest of her lawyers.

  32. Very welcome news. I always thought that since Rio is out for Thema the next focus should be taking those responsible to the cleaners for what they put her through. Now that a “heavy hitter” of the calibre of Martin Daly is on board I would love to see those responsible become paupers without any of our tax dollars being used for compensation. They have to feel it personally if we want their actions to be avoided in the future by like minded administrators.

    • Earl Best

      Rio is out for Thema as competitor but if there is justice in this world it shouldn’t be out for her as spectator as well. Anyone with any idea of what that would cost? Anyone who believes that Trinis would be willing to put their money where their mouth is?

      Is Wired868 willing to take on the challenge of organising a Send-Thema-to-the-Rio-Olympics fund, Lasana?

      Sean Powder pledged $1,000 and I am prepared to match that.

  33. This made my Sunday. I’m ecstatic that this will not be swept under the carpet or forgotten like yesterday’s news. Thema deserves redress! #TeamThema

  34. #nojusticenopeace
    #notmykindadick

  35. Each one is to be sued individually. Take what they have. Let them see if they will ever do that again.

  36. It was put forth as a benefit that NSOs moving to LLC status would provide greater shield to sporting administrators.
    So if the TTGF is in fact an LLC, it would be interesting to see to what extent individual administrators are held liable.

    • The way the TTGF is set up has already been looked at by attorneys, Chabeth. I find it very curious that the NSOs were advised about shielding themselves legally. By the TTOC?
      Was there any advice for athletes who are mistreated and denied opportunities of a lifetime?

    • I never heard it from TTOC so I’m gonna go ahead and not put them in trouble especially as I already feel it for Brian.
      But it would be like any LLC… So employees, directors, board members wouldn’t be more liable in a sporting company than any other.
      But the idea is/was that these NSOs as LLCs would become profitable, eventually non-subsidized entities that would make money off of the athletes etc etc…
      At least that’s what was pitched at the meeting I was at in which there was no one from TTOC present.
      But the LLC thing is/was a ministerial push. Not from TTOC. Although is TTOC registered as an LLC?
      And advice on mistreating athletes etc… No advice on how to do it but that if it does happen at least when you’re an LLC, it’s be company that will be sued and you wouldn’t be personally liable.

    • But, as I understand it, the new corporate laws in Trinidad have clauses to hold managers personally liable. Why would sport then get the benefits but not the potential pitfalls?
      I clearly have to read more on the new company acts.
      In any case, this does not apply to the TTGF.

    • But, from what you say Chabeth, every sporting body will be the equivalent of the WICB. And that is scary.
      Andreas, tell us more please.

    • Yes. They will be.
      You think WICB is worse than TTFA?
      TTGF isn’t an LLC? If they’re not then that’s good.

    • The WICB has more money and so has been able to do more harm in a cavalier manner.
      I’ve no doubt that the TTFA will give them a run for their money, if and when they are on stable financial footing again.
      Imagine DJW is already treating the media/public this way, even as his body needs public sympathy and sponsorship to survive.
      God knows what we should look forward to from them in the future.

    • With the wrong people at the helm, they’ll all end up the same.

    • And Thema is lucky she has great legal advice on her side. Every athlete doesn’t get that. Especially not at the same price.

    • Almost no athletes at all have that. Fulton Wilson offered Dwight Quintero legal support too. But very rare.
      And these days, I think 99.9 percent of sport adminstrators will be proven to be the wrong people at the helm once legislation isn’t there to keep them honest.

    • 99.9 percent of people at the helm of public institutions in this country might be the wrong people. Even with legislation to keep them honest. Lol.
      This country is just so far gone…

    • lol ahahaha to avoid taxes it has to have plenty money to move around first…. but i try my best together with the others on our board to live that… yes we working on selfsuffincency and if it hadn’t been for Lifesport we probably had achieved that by now… unfortunately that little episode of MOSY set us back about 2-3Years with that goal…..

    • Chabeth TTOC has its own Act to exist, because of its status with IOC etc… from what i understand…. not sure what meet you were that people would tell NSO’s to become profitable, but the Name: “Not-For-Profit” during the registration process leaves little doubt what the law expects and that is usually to be reflected in the Constitution stating same again….

    • Lasana Liburd sorry now seeing this… was in Miami for a NF meeting with our IF Pres…

    • Andreas, not sure if allowing the NSOs to register as non profit LLCs is really about what the sporting body should be doing re: revenue generation and surplus or giving the bodies a bligh with respect to taxation. But I think the goal was/is for all the NSOs to become self sufficient, if not profitable.

    • agreed about the self sufficent.. and registration as Not for Profit does not prevent that, as you said it is called surplus, point is that surplus is not the purpose of the companys existence…. unlike a Profit company is to make profit….

    • the purpose of a Sporting body is to promote and administer the sport… it can earn revenue if it is required to sustain that purpose… but the purpose cannot be profit… and that is usually enshrined into the respective constitution (if it is a reasonable good one…)

    • If you’re talking about “the purpose cannot be profit” and if that’s what you’re living… Then I think you might be in the .1 percent of people who are at the helm of a public institution and should be there…

    • I’m guessing you never thought of tax avoidance either? Lol…

  37. Thank you Mr Daly .Fight injustice in our land. Show those who are thinking of going down that path that you are watching.

  38. Best news in days! “The answer (as to why I have joined this case) is the conduct of the federation and its officials,” Daly told Wired868, “greatly disturbed my sense of justice.”
    Go Martin! And find a way to hold them personally liable!

  39. .For better of worse, no international federation is going to allow anyone to challenge its internal legal process, outside of said internal process and using its internal institutions, by proceeding to civil court. They simply suspend or ban those who take that line of action. Just look at the FIFA example. One could proceed but one must be prepared to face the inevitable consequence.

    • But then said sporting bodies tend to rely on bluff too. From the Bosman ruling to the US DOJ extradition orders, we have seen international sporting bodies humbled by legal action before.
      I say let’s separate the men from the mice. If a global body wants to play bad, then go ahead.
      But they better be careful that they don’t have correspondence within our jurisdiction that can see them getting subpoenas too!

    • ..Yes. Yes. One must be prepared to stand up. But consequences are inevitable and are often beyond our control. Just remember that EVERYONE except poor Bosman has benefitted from his case. He never played again and ended up broke. On the other hand, I successfully took the SSFL to court in 1993 and forced them to withdraw a ridiculous action against me. Just be prepared for whatever comes one’s way as a consequence..

    • Keith – we have to face some pain now or forever be at the mercy of those who have a different agenda than improving our sports.

    • ..Tell me about it. Agreed. LOL..

  40. They won the battle but will lose the war. Take no prisoners .

  41. Excellent… it is time that these ‘officials’ of T&T sports organizations be put in check! It is time that their corrosive behaviors, behaviors devoid of ethics and the spirit of fair play be challenged. I have grown tired of T&T sports executives, Ministers of Sports and Permanent Secretaries making decisions absent of principle. These folk never consider legal implications/ramifications/consequences! They must be held accountable for their arrogance, their absolute disregard for athletes careers, and their proclivity for misappropriating funds (imagine most of them have not properly documented expenditure! Not even able to present a balance sheet).

  42. All unfair games…wood them

  43. Pro bono. I am sure Ramesh won’t be pro bonoing a thing…

  44. Justin, I don’t think that it’s going to be a dog fight, the TTGF have contravened their own constitution in more than one ways. It was even recommended that their constitution be revisited, but it was convenient for them to let it remain as is. Let’s hope justice will prevail. I am happy it now becomes a personal individual issue.

  45. Most Respected lawyer⚡️this is great!!!

  46. Wonderful addition to the team…..integrity meets cause!

  47. Waste of time mentioning the TTOC in this article. Glad to hear that Daly is joining the fray.

  48. How can one not love Martin.

  49. Love that they are working pro- bono. Love it! Stand up against this sore injustice

  50. Wish I was a lawyer !!!! I would be up front and in their faces, and no charge for this one!!!!

  51. Okay…. It’s going do become a dog fight

  52. Wonderful.But we may need a bigger boat.i

  53. “although Williams will not go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and must watch her alternate, Marisa Dick, participate instead, the TTGF might have to account for its actions in a court of law.

    Worse, for the gymnastics body, Williams’ attorneys are believed to be targeting not just the federation but individual officials as well.”

    Mrs. Lue Shue’s going to be too busy for house calls in a minute…