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TTFA VP ‘concerned’ about John-Williams’ ‘one-man governance style’

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) vice-president Allan Warner has denied rumours that he resigned his post, after a disagreement with current football president David John-Williams.

However, the Tobago-based businessman has admitted that he is uncomfortable with the perceived ‘one-man style’ of governance by the current TTFA boss.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) presents a Wired868 token of appreciation to "Soca Warriors" supporter Peter Cumberbatch during the 4th Annual Wired868 Football Festival at UWI SPEC Grounds, St Augustine on Saturday 2 January 2016. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) presents a Wired868 token of appreciation to “Soca Warriors” supporter Peter Cumberbatch during the 4th Annual Wired868 Football Festival at UWI SPEC Grounds, St Augustine on Saturday 2 January 2016.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

Warner was voted into office last November on a slate headed by John-Williams, which also included Joanne Salazar and Ewing Davis. But the land and property developer is not convinced that John-Williams has moved away from the autocratic leadership style demonstrated by past football administrators like his namesake and disgraced ex-FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner, and immediate TTFA past president Raymond Tim Kee.

“I think (…) the present style of governance resembles closely the previous era,” Warner (A) told Wired868, “and I think FIFA, with all its reorganisation, is trying its best to get away from the one-man governance style. So people like me who see that kind of behaviour would have a challenge.

“Some would feel comfortable with that but I don’t. I won’t say that it is wrong necessarily but I just feel uncomfortable [with it].”

Incidentally, before last year’s TTFA election, John-Williams assured the public that his potential vice-president, Warner, was not related to Jack Warner. However, the local football vice-president revealed that the Warners are cousins.

“I will never deny that the man is my family,” said Warner (A). “I won’t say we are close but we know our family connection…”

Photo: Former Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice president and TTFA special advisor Jack Warner (left) gets a police escort after an extradition hearing. (Copyright Diego Urdaneta/AFP 2015)
Photo: Former Chaguanas West MP and ex-FIFA vice president and TTFA special advisor Jack Warner (left) gets a police escort after an extradition hearing.
(Copyright Diego Urdaneta/AFP 2015)

He declined the opportunity to comment on the reign of his cousin, who was banned for life by FIFA for corrupt practices and is wanted by the FBI for racketeering.

Warner also declined the opportunity to provide examples in which John-Williams supposedly demonstrated an autocratic style of governance. However, he stressed that there remains a lot to be desired in the way the local football body is run.

“Sporting organisations ought to be a lot more democratic,” said Warner.

Warner, who stormed out of a board of directors meeting about two months ago and has not returned since, said he tried to share his concerns with John-Williams. He admitted to being absent from recent board meetings but said he apologised for his absence and intends to be back.

In Tobago, Warner described his day to day job as “[providing] affordable homes to lower income people”. He said his goal in football is to help the TTFA get to stable financial footing and to climb up the FIFA rankings.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacking midfielder Keron Cummings (centre) celebrates his 2015 Gold Cup goal against Mexico with teammates (from right) Cordell Cato, Joevin Jones, Mekeil Williams and Aubrey David. (Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago attacking midfielder Keron Cummings (centre) celebrates his 2015 Gold Cup goal against Mexico with teammates (from right) Cordell Cato, Joevin Jones, Mekeil Williams and Aubrey David.
(Courtesy MexSport/CONCACAF)

“Trinidad and Tobago’s football has a number of very challenging issues that we have inherited and one of them is fiscal issues where there are large outstanding amount of monies owed to different people that run into million of dollars.

“I think it is possible, [through] good governance and tolerance on the part of creditors, to get many [debts] settled. As much as possible. It will take some time but at the end of the day it is quite possible to get rid of the debt and be liquid once more.

“At the end of the day, we can bring the football to a level where our rating in FIFA gets back to a level that we deserve. If in some way I can help to do those things, I will be happy.”

The new TTFA administration has potentially incurred new debts too.

John-Williams controversially sacked former technical director Kendall Walkes—after claiming that his contract was invalid—and hired Muhammad Isa as his replacement. At the same time, the football body is still paying off previous technical director Anton Corneal.

Walkes has initiated legal action against the football body and, if successful, John-Williams will have to pay three technical directors at the same time while the local football body only gets services from the least qualified of the trio.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago technical director Kendall Walkes (left) and friend Ted Willis. (Courtesy Kendall Walkes)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago technical director Kendall Walkes (left) and friend Ted Willis.
(Courtesy Kendall Walkes)

Was Warner satisfied that the TTFA acted prudently in sacking Walkes? Did John-Williams, as several board directors claimed, fail to share the legal opinion that he used to justify his dismissal of Walkes?

“I was not involved in the decision making process to fire Walkes,” said Warner. “I am not in a position to comment… I don’t want to comment.”

Was Warner concerned that his slate was voted into office by ineligible football representatives at the last TTFA election?

“That is not my area,” he said. “That is not something for AW.”

What Warner does know is that he has not walked away from his post as TTFA vice-president.

“To the best of my knowledge, I have not resigned,” he said, with a chuckle.

AboutLasana 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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92 comments

  1. Hahahaha. So true. But still known and revered for his brazen act.

  2. ..You do remember that the last man in the wilderness – fella name John – ended up without his head. Right? Hahahahaha..

  3. All you can do is continue to fight the good fight and hope that others will join in when they see the sense and reason… i get a lot of pleasure when people come to the sideline and drop a lil sentence sometimes with a thank you or so… mostly athletes…. that goes a long way and helps not to give up to battle in a war that sometimes seems lost…

  4. But we also deserve one dissent voice in the wilderness

  5. .Well we get what we deserve..

  6. I know but waiting on others to act, you might quicker see a green jackass!!!

  7. ..I ain’t afraid of that or any other measure Paula. That is not my point

  8. Football is and remains your passion.

  9. What would they do, through you out as a Member? they can’t.

  10. I know but the “pen” still remains very powerful. So write as well. You know we will always have a “yes man” mentality but as one Howard University alumni to another, take the bull by the horns and see what happens.

  11. ..LOL. Paula, some people find I talk too much in meetings. Example: At one meeting I spoke against the Tobago FA proposal to scuttle the Super League. The regional associations and four other clubs present were asked their opinion. They UNANIMOUSLY opposed the proposal. It came back to me that some people said I opposed it and “after he talk nobody can’t say nutten”. LOL. I will always say my piece. And with conviction. Did so under Jack. Did do under Watson. Did so under Tim Kee. Doing so now. But let OTHER PEOPLE stand up and talk too. I ain’t playing leader. I doh want no post..

  12. The rights of TTFA Members are: The Members have the following rights:
    a) to take part in the General Meeting, to receive its agenda in advance, to be called to the General Meeting within the prescribed time and to exercise their voting rights; b)
    to
    submit
    proposals
    for
    inclusion
    in
    the
    agenda
    of
    the
    General
    Meeting;
    c)
    to
    nominate
    candidates
    for
    elections
    to
    all
    bodies
    of
    TTFA;
    d)
    to
    be
    informed
    of
    the
    affairs
    of
    TTFA
    through
    the
    official
    bodies
    of
    TTFA;

  13. Unfortunately folks are always afraid of what others might think or say when they have or express their personal point of view. Not everyone would be as vocal and don’t-care-damn like you, but you need to persevere. Even if you as a Club Member writes the TTFA then so be it. As a reminder, when writing copy the other 33 Members of the TTFA. Be mindful of the following rights of Members:

  14. ..You are right. And all I am soing is commenting on the passing parade. I attend meetings. I make my points. I push. Let others do the same..

  15. Keith, all this talking/texting is not going to change anything at the TTFA. Members need to get on top of their Board representatives for their inaction, and other Members also need to write the Board with their displeasure over what is happening. Concerns need to be addressed in writing to the TTFA so there is documentation as the first step in having persons do the right thing and be replaced if it continues. Remember the power lies in the General Meeting body.

  16. ..The idea of an ” alternative” or “rebel” body is a non-starter..

  17. Once you have a logged and accepted (i talking Ministry, IF and IOC or FIFA acceptance here) it will be difficult to impossible to set up an alternative body….. the system expects that change comes from within, If you do your homework and you really want it Maurice you will be able to achieve that, to be honest i can tell you exactly with how many of your friends you have to show up at our next AGM to get the majority needed to take my or any other post for that fact. That is a very poor testament of the appreciation of democratic process and something i had to get accustomed to, coming from a country where every AGM is usually packed to full capacity….

  18. ..Suite never formed the TTFF. He formed the PSL and ultimately rerurned to the TTFA fold after two seasons..

  19. See guys look at how many of us are concerned about this, however, at the end of the day we have to now sit back and accept what is happening? i think not. Should there be no change maybe, just maybe we will have to take action, for when something is wrong we must do something about it. If my memory serves me there was a time we had the T.T.F.A and a man called Suite formed the T.T.F.F this was to protest the administration of the day. Should we for the T.T.F.C????? move away from placing the same people and start with some fresh minds eager and willing to work for the sport in the best interest of the game here and not want to copy Europe, using our culture, our style, our brand and work towards having a league that Trinidad and Tobago will be willing to go see week in week out giving our local players front page reporting. For without wired 868 we would not have a clue what is happening

  20. How is this possible? No one can’t help.

  21. Why does the headline sound familiar?

  22. Is this a part 1? Lots of questions, not many answers..

    • I thought it was me alone? Like my brother so looking to share licks he pelting lash without d stick!!

    • We should be a bit concerned that an Executive Committee member is saying publicly he isn’t in the loop with decisions and stopped attending TTFA meetings, seemingly as a form of protest

    • Brian Jordan we should its not news tho he stop over a month now and this is all politics!! Ppl come into the thing to rise their profile and when they c that not happening they look for ways to mash up d thing!! I am always forced to look at trinidad most successful sport cricket and how they deal with differences and politics, d president write an email making comments about d number one bowler in d world everyone wanted to fire him when they realize d damage it would have done to d program they work it out and back to work y football can’t be d same way?? Put d game first and d constituents they serve!! Let ppl in football don’t learn and c if we ain’t have to face a revolution beyond d football field!! My mother always said a word to d wise is enough!!

    • It’s news to me, and others like me man. I am not an insider. I just want to see people work together for the betterment of football and the country.

  23. ..Aaaah, but the issue is IF people want change or even development regardless of who is in charge. I say again, that most people at some instinctive or intellectual level wish for “change” but they are not prepared to invest the hard work that “change” requires. Most clubs are interested mainly in their fixtures ad trying to win the next match, the title. In any walk of life, if you leave those with the power to operate without scrutiny and most of all without direct democratic intervention by the mass, then the mass will take what it gets. Democracy is more than a vote. And we, the people, after all these years and experiences, still ain’t understand that..

    • 100% … send the paper for me to sign… democracy is work… one has to invest into it or loose it…. unless you run into a bunch of good guys, that keep it up, despite of the lack of controls… and that does not happen too often…

    • Keith not sure if you FB friend with me long enough to have seen my standard pre election post: if you refuse to Vote, you void the right to complain… same thing different words… a lil more catchy and applies to sports administration just the same….

    • Totally agree with the statement ‘ democracy is more than a vote’, but the one man who stands for what is right is shut down and stands alone, because others are afraid of supporting him for fear of being victimised, castigated or ostracised, That is a norm in T&T, since you are removed and simply replaced by another. Does anyone ask questions, does any one demand accountability and transparency in how they run their organizations. Sportjng organizations do not provide audited accounts, yet successive governments provide them with funding annually. Lack of oversight leads to “who guarding the guards? Where else in the world does that happen. Corruption has become so endemic in T&T. Everything is politicised and we sit idly by and do nothing . Complain for two days and then it ends . we simply ask when is the next fete. that is democracy at its best in sweet Trinidad

    • ..We get the leadership we deserve..

    • so right, but when the choice is the devil and the deep blue sea, similar to our recent choices and Trump and Hilary, (limited choices) it begs the questions, why the good guys not putting them selves up for election. To be a poltiician, you have to be a special kind of animal. It has become corrupted and tainted, who wants to get involves, it takes a special person. More than that in T&T we see front line politicians but we all know its is the “parasistic oligarchy” running the show, and the politicians have to cower to

    • Rossana i think you missing the point. … not sure whether Keith is on the same road with me, but I am talking long before the Board starts doing crap. … btw: I dare say that every olympics sport Nf will have elections in the next 12 months including the TTOC. .. this is the historic oportunity to become a member, get involved and replace the incompetent crooks. ..my post will become available in November. .. currently I spend between 10 to 30 hrs per week on the Federation depending whether we have a event coming up or not. And to answer your question why the good guys not going up: a) I think it still has a few left in sports. …b) it is often like play along (at least to some extent ) or end up under the bus. … it is up to the electorate to accept the status quo and who wants to hear that all those nice entitlements will be gone and I not talking entitlement of the ones up, I talking about the election promises to buy votes.

    • ..The preservation of true democracy in sport, as in any walk of life, depends on more than a watchdog board. The mass membership must be active and engage in constant and consistent participation and monitoring of the body AND the leaders. Boards are easily misled, corrupted, mismanaged..

    • Rossana systems in sporting organisations are worldwide more or less the same, the system are not exactly the problem. You should look at the people and very correctly you pointing out the endemic corruption that plagues Trinidad. ..why would you expect sport to run any different to the remainder of the country? And in average I’d say sport probably not as bad as other areas because you probably have a above average of people that are in it for their heart like Keith, Lasana others and myself. …

    • nepotism is the order of the day, so who is going to complain about wrong doing? For example lets take the WICB, we all know its incompetence at the highest level, but who voted them back into office. if things are so bad in these organizations, how do they get voted back into office remaining years in the same position. I believe that after two terms they should leave to ensure transparency and accountability. Every organization has their cronies to vote them back into office. sorry sir having a heart is not enough. what change has it brought you guys and so many other. Talk is cheap and as I have often ask in UWI, whose listening, who really wants change.

    • I love sports , i played netball and hockey in school. I used to attend basketball and rugby. I am a supporter of Chelsea,, Cleveland Cavaliers, watch Rugby and Seattle Seahawks. I grew up watching football, (keith you will know what I’m talking about ) TESCA in Tunapuna, where mettle Box used to be and now sits Havelange Stadium, Very early on some incidents took place in t&T re the past Secretary etc. I stopped going to football matches. I support Jablothen which first started at my alma mater San Juan Government Secondary.When Brain Lara was forced out of cricket I ceased watching test cricket, because we Trini’s said and did nothing to support him. Look at Gayle and Sammy their people rallied behind them when WICB treated them with disdain and total disrespect.

    • We as a people are numb to issues, whether it be economic , social, political and worst yet cultural. People are not living in this country they are surviving. I trust in God and continue to pray for my blessed country

    • So whats your solution Rossana? as you said, talk is cheap. I can tell you for the last 6 years i kept an eye with a few others that the Triathlon Fraternity does not end up in the same mess as a lot of other Federations are….

    • and i can tell you that is not easy at times….

    • along with that we deal with those crusted structures that want to maintain the status quo if we want to make progress for our Athletes….

    • I say when an issue arise, regardless who raises it, if it is impacting the country, we need to lobby and support that person, group or organization. That;s the only way issues get to the public domain. Too many one man protest dies , because we sit back and say its not our business, that is until it reaches home. It’s a catch 22 system, dependence on the government means you have to do what they want, because corporate T&T to me like everything in T&t talk corporate social responsibility and i can count on my fingers which Sporting bodies they support. There are many community sporting clubs starving for support (monetary or otherwise). Everyone has their individual agenda. everyone depending on the government . Olympics has ended and I can bet you the conversation from the last few days will cease by Friday, Onto the next issue

    • at most times it is very easy to predict how many of your friends you have to bring to the AGM to become President…. that is a very poor testament to the understanding of democratic process…. it is not a poor testament to democracy….or the systems… because elsewhere the same system works maybe not fine but to an acceptable level…. if people want change they have to step up to the platter and start to put their better ideas to work… not just complain that no one else does… change starts with ourselves… if we wait for others we will wait forever…

    • now we start talking the same language…. mind you that a corporate citizen will always look for their ROI and that is what they as a company have to do…. my favorite example is that the agent for a sporting goods manufacturer sees clearly no sense in advertising (and consequently sponsoring) in the sporting market and rather focuses on fete and Carnival….. that is again a bad testament, but again we as the consumers have that under control… where do we set our priorities? And i agree that the “conversations” from the last few days will die, to be honest i’m not too concerned about that because most of that was pretty well below the belt-line and off target as far as i concern, little productive stuff among the rants….

    • hopefully those that can contribute will remain in contact and help to create the change…. but trust me that is a long uphill battle with a lot of sacrifices, setbacks and causes a lot of frustration to the point where you sit there and just wanna all throw it out and run away….

    • I’m in support of Brian Lewis goals for 2020 Olympics, I want to support with my little mite, but I want to know when it is given it is used wisely and not to hear authorities make lame excuses. the athletes are the one who are in need of competence and assurance that ll their needs will be met and that there are persons in their corner seeking their interests., and by extension the governments’ interests and sometimes we fail to realize we have a huge diaspora who pays attention to what is taking place at home. Social media highlights to the world all our inadequacies, third world mentalities and at times a laughing stock. we cant give up. Among the madness there are good patriotic people sitting on the sidelines watching on, waiting for someone else to act

    • as i wrote earlier: waiting on others will not help….. Investing financially in TTOC’s vision i think is ok and will reach those that need it. It may not always look like that to the outside….

  24. ..We get the leaders what we deserve..

    • We need an active board of directors as much as we need a proper law-abiding president.

    • ..Don’t hold your breath Lasana. And I know you know that..

    • Yeah. I know. Even if there was a fresh election next week, I’m not sure that things will be much different.

    • i doh wanna stir anything, but just a thought: When we have trouble getting a quorum at our general meetings i understand that, cause it is a combination of lack of interest and “why fix, what aint broken” (even though, that does not really apply to general meetings…), but i would have thought that a GM of a Federation that is so controversial as Football, would have a packed meeting every time, the complainants get a chance to voice their opinion… i really would like your two thoughts on that Lasana and Keith i was surprised to read the other day that the TTFA had a meeting and was lacking a quorum…. how do one expect change, if those that want it are not coming out?

    • Well, that is exactly what we say Andreas. It isn’t that people are satisfied in this case. So, from what sources are saying, they decide to just abandon ship since they “have no time for that nonsense.”
      I suppose they are conditioned to wait on elections to act like most Trinis.

    • Hmmm sounds like it, the thing is: that approach usually leads to missing out on the change and i can tell you from very recent and very own experience, you know what case i refer to Lasana…..!?!

  25. From day 1, I said the leads like a dictator. Only unilateral decisions, thus far.

  26. Another dictator. When will it end? When will we find a President who will put football first and their own agenda second? Probably when hell freezes over. SMDH!!

  27. Was hoping u would have a pic of A. Warner in the article, don’t know what he looks like ..

  28. another bacchanal, lord put ah hand

  29. Sigh. Non stop bacchanal in local sport.

  30. Lasana, your report on this matter is incomplete. What does the VP, and other concerned Board Members, intend to do if nothing changes? Remain silent and do nothing to challenge/change the status quo? What is their collective purpose?

    Article 36 of the TTFA Constitution details the “Powers of the Board of Directors”. It states the Board shall, not the President shall. Article 39 details the role of the President and notes “He is primarily responsible for (a) implementing the decisions passes by the General Meeting and the Board of Directors through the General Secretariat; (b) ensuring the effective functioning of the bodies of the TTFA in order that they may achieve the objectives described in this Constitution; (c) supervising the work of the General Secretariat; (d) relations between TTFA and its Members, FIFA….” So how in heaven’s name is the VP and Board allowing a one man show.

    This is upsetting. And what is worse is the manner in which staff are being treated. Article 59 details the role of Mr. Khan, TTFA General Secretary. It notes under items (I) and (j) the appointment and dismissal of staff working in the General Secretariat and managerial staff, upon approval of the President and the Board of Directors. So VP Warner cannot plead the 5th. Hopefully in the Minutes of Board meetings held he has documented his non acceptance and disapproval with decisions taken because with Freedom of Information and the Court all will be held accountable. #damnvex

  31. Lasana Liburd this is a story or a headline?? I now was making time to read run into no comment, not sure what wrong, ain’t know about this write a story if u have one u are d last sports reporter man!!

  32. A correction from initial piece, Chabeth:
    Incidentally, before last year’s TTFA election, John-Williams assured the public that his potential vice-president, Warner, was not related to Jack Warner. However, the local football vice-president revealed that the Warners are cousins.

    “I will never deny that the man is my family,” said Warner (A). “I won’t say we are close but we know our family connection…”

    He declined the opportunity to comment on the reign of his cousin, who was banned for life by FIFA for corrupt practices and is wanted by the FBI for racketeering.

  33. ..Well Lasana, things fall apart gradually and then one day…They depending on FIFA money to prop themselves up. Meantime, one week ago all TTPL and NSL teams were required to meet a 30 August deadline to submit relevant information in order to be “licensed”, i.e. in order to be given permission to play football. At the consultation on club licensing I argued we should pursue this during the off season. Mark you, these are CONCACAF criteria we are being asked to match. I also argued that we should amend the criteria to suit our conditions, as FIFA allows, only to be told we have a deadline to meet. They sat on this doing NOTHING and then drop it on us. House of Horrors..

  34. The statement in itself doesn’t mean things are falling apart of course. More like a warning.
    Taken with everything else that has happened and it suggests there are real deep problems.

  35. John Williams is a goon
    No more no less
    By his governance style and muttering a I have lost respect for him and I hope he is removed ASAP and take his side kicks with him. Sorry Ewing Davis you have to go too because evil prevails when good people do nothing. Are you going to sacrifice principle for the privilege of a trip here or there? That a serious character flaw. You used to talk the talk but now time to walk the talk you putting tail between leg?
    You criticized that style of leadership by your Principal now you seem to revel in and support it? How hypocritical I say

  36. Steups… He should jump off the fence before he starts to talk.

    • That’s always the question: is it better from a moral or practical standpoint to complain from the inside or the outside?
      There are probably arguments to be made for either one.

    • Doesn’t matter to me where you complain from to be honest. Just complain properly.

      “Some would feel comfortable with that but I don’t. I won’t say that it is wrong necessarily but I just feel uncomfortable [with it].”
      What the heck is that? You don’t really think it’s wrong, you just uncomfortable?

      And the bit about Walkes… He can’t comment on it???

      And the bit about the legality of the election… It’s not his area of expertise?

      He’s talking like a man who wants his post but wants to ignore wrongdoing when it would adversely affect him.

  37. who money they are using?????

  38. As a vp he seems to be in another world.

  39. ..Hahahaha. The House of Cards crumbles. Khan jilted. Warner jilted. People’s contracts tossed out. Others declared to be working “voluntarily”. Administration of national youth teams in a mess. No committees appointed after almost a full year. Too much to recap here yes. Sigh..