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More bloodletting at SPORTT; directors McFarlane and Jan axed after demanding transparency

The bloodletting at the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) continued today with two more sackings, as directors Richard McFarlane and Imran Jan were both removed from their posts.

An internal SPORTT memo stated that the pair have been replaced by Jeffrey Guillen, a property developer and Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) executive member, and Hayden Manzano, the acting director for Economic Research and Policy Coordination at the Ministry of Finance.

Photo: Prime Minister Keith Rowley (centre) greets SPORTT chairman Dinanath Ramnarine (left) while Sport Minister Darryl Smith (right) looks on during the opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in Tarouba on 12 May 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

No reason was given for the two dismissals and staff were warned to “refrain from discussing or disclosing any company information or documentation with/to Mr Jan and Mr McFarlane going forward.”

The SPORTT board is chaired by former West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine.

The termination letters followed McFarlane’s letter to the board—excerpts of which were published on Wired868 last week—which called for transparency in the operation of SPORTT and accused Ramnarine of keeping some of his directors in the dark about several pertinent issues including the forensic audit at the Sports Company, the termination and constructive dismissal of eight managers there, and the legal advice given to SPORTT by attorney Martin Daly SC.

CEO Adam Montserin, facility manager Anthony Blake, internal auditor Jeewan Kowlessar, legal officer Naveen Maraj and project administrator Mellie Price were all fired while procurement supervisor Darryl Stewart, senior manager facilities maintenance Raj Ramtahal and project co-ordinator Travis Watson were promised payment for the remainder of their contracts and ordered to stay away from work.

Photo: Then SPORTT CEO Adam Montserin (centre) greets players and officials before kick off between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 March 2017.
TTFA vice-president Ewing Davis (right) broke away from the customary pre-game ritual to take a phone call.
(Copyright CAI Images/Wired868)

Jan, a former Trinidad and Tobago international cricketer who holds a sport management degree from UTT, alleged—in a Facebook post—that he and McFarlane were targeted for standing up to their superiors.

“Over the past couple of months, we both raised various issues and concerns as to how the company was being run,” said Jan, “I guess we should not have!”

The latest round of musical chairs is in keeping with a remarkable turnover of executives and directors at SPORTT.

In the last two and a half years alone, SPORTT has had four different chairmen and three CEOs while there have been 12 CEOs in the last decade.

Dionne Ligoure, the corporate communications head at Caribbean Airlines, and Vyash Nandlal, an executive at the Heliconia Foundation, are the only two remainders from the nine-member SPORTT board that was sworn in 2015.

Photo: Then SPORTT chairman Michael Phillips (centre) and Sport Minister Darryl Smith have a laugh during a press conference for FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right) at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Former chairman Michael Phillips and directors Abbegale Nandlal, Anthony Subero and Marcus Solomon all quit their posts while Jason Louis Julien, Jan and McFarlane were fired.

Apart from Guillen and Manzano, Phillip Whiteman—a contractor and the stepfather of two-time Olympic cyclist Njisane Phillip—also sits on the current board with Ramnarine.

At present, only one of five national football stadia, the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, is fully functional with the other four missing lights and in different states of disrepair. On Monday, the Newsday reported that only one of three pools at the National Aquatic Centre was usable—just three days before the start of the National Short Course Swimming Championships.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), which is hosting the January 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship, has booked all 16 games for the Ato Boldon Stadium.

And the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) was forced to schedule nearly a dozen 2017 Coca Cola National Intercol fixtures at 1.30pm, so as to have double headers finish in natural sunlight. Some East Zone fixtures have been moved to the controversial Marvin Lee Stadium at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya as a result, although there have been concerns in the past about the safety of the deteriorated turf there.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras play in front of a malfunctioning light tower during World Cup 2018 qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 1 September 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

There have been reports of flooding inside the Jean Pierre Complex too while the elite athlete gym and dressing rooms at the Hasely Crawford Stadium are either non-functional or have no air conditioning.

Neither Ramnarine nor Sport Minister Darryl Smith have offered a timeline for the repair of the various national facilities or publicly addressed concerns by SPORTT employees about the functioning of the Company at present.

At present, Jason Williams is serving as acting SPORT CEO.

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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54 comments

  1. Too much gossip. Give us the FACTS. NOW.

  2. Looking at this from the “outside”…literally, it certainly doesn’t look good.

  3. They should just shut down the Sports Co. and other special purpose state enterprises that are just have slush funds to corruptly taken away. The Perm Sec along with relevantly qualified persons should handle in a couple departments sports facilities, elite funding for athletes and sport bodies. The perm sec being the chief accounting officer.

  4. All ah sudden transparency and integrity are words of the past in T&T.

  5. “Dinas” showing he he real colours

  6. All this while sports in t&t is on a thread mill

  7. Another nightmare for the people of Trinidad & Tobago.

  8. Ramnarine has shut out Trinidadians from walking around the stadium… something they have done for the past fifteen years… because of his dictatorship and ignorance…just a wannabee.. ..

  9. Can’t maintain what was there before and spending billions to build new ones to have them in the same state in years to come.

  10. The cabal is definitely more evident now than ever! Doing what they want in there! Tearing down the place. I don’t put anything past these two additions. More puppets in the place while the staff suffer. Stag who devoted their lives and their studies for the betterment of sportt, yet we see good people kicked out and people ego can’t tell their head from their foot dealing with billions of dollars of tax payers money. What is the mission currently of sportt? Is there a vision? Or are these people just trying to grab the last bit of gold from a sinking pirate ship.

  11. I don’t understand the statement that the Chairman running the place like it is his own business. He does not have the power to appoint or revoke directors. Therefore the only conclusion is that these decisions are being made at a higher level. The question is why?

  12. The Aquatic Centre is not a new facility?

  13. Axed for demanding transparency?

  14. I hope everything is above Board, because next thing you know they hire the former AG ( and his cabal partners) and taxpayers have to pay monies because employers refuse to follow Industrial relations protocol. Hope this is not political victimisation, If they were in corrupt practices dismiss them correctly.

  15. So phillip whiteman remains…dionne who hasnt been to a meeting for months remains and vyash nandlal remains even though he was the main director in support of the maintenance contract!

  16. Buh A A wasn’t that fella Ramnarine the same fella that was the president of the cricket Players Association eh, ah wonder if he was running the Players Association as his business the same Them really good yes.

  17. Why does contention follow Ramnarine

  18. Those last paragraphs so hard to read! Sport facilities in such disarray [due to finance]…and ironically…not to long ago, money was literally given away and the gov’t seems satisfied with it.

  19. we need to press the restart button on this country yes..go back to 1962

  20. yeah man!
    the door down NCC is glass…look it dey
    #RealTransparencyInYuhMC

  21. What can I say? We like it so. Hold firm my brother Imran H Jan