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We want good relationship! TTFA backtracks after DJW claimed US Chargé d’Affaires told “outright lie”

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is attempting to step back from open conflict withe the US Embassy, after football president David John-Williams told the Newsday yesterday that Chargé d’Affaires Jim McIntyre told an “outright lie”—in his damning release about John-Williams’ integrity and capability.

McIntyre said John-Williams tried to mislead the public and had “cocoa in the sun”, after the TTFA president tried to blame the Embassy for failing to get visas for the Women’s National Under-15 Team to attend an ongoing Concacaf tournament in Florida.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams enjoys himself at head coach Tom Saintfiet’s maiden training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on 15 December 2016.
(Courtesy Nicholas Williams/Wired868)

“Why we have chosen to respond is because your failure to plan is [affecting] promising football (soccer) players from Trinidad and Tobago, who we would welcome playing in the USA,” said McIntyre. “[…] I will be blunt. Mr David John-Williams and the TTFA just flat out dropped the ball on the visa process.”

By then, Concacaf had already withdrawn its invitation to the TTFA for the Women’s Under-15 Championship.

John-Williams initially took a belligerent tone with the Chargé d’Affaires. However, via press release, the local football body attempted a more conciliatory tone today.

“We wish to state that a recent report in a local daily news publication, ascribed to the President of the TTFA, was taken out of context,” stated an unsigned TTFA release, “and more importantly, was not sanctioned by the TTFA.”

The TTFA will now seek an audience with the US Embassy.

“The TTFA has taken note of the recent statement issued by the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Mr John McIntyre,” stated the TTFA. “With utmost respect for the sovereign authority of the Chargé d’Affaires—and based on the already agreed plan of action decided by the TTFA given the matter surrounding visa applications for our Girls Under-15 Team—the TTFA will be seeking an audience with the US Embassy through the Chargé d’Affaires.

“Notably, it remains our desire to maintain the cordial relationship we have developed with the US Embassy over these many years.”

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (right) smiles with fourth official Cecile Hinds before the First Citizens Bank Cup final between Defence Force and Ma Pau Stars at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 December 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Yesterday, TTFA board member Keith Look Loy called on John-Williams and his vice-presidents Ewing Davis and Joanne Salazar to resign and allow a caretaker body to run the local administration until the end of his term in November 2019.

Look Loy, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president and FC Santa Rosa club owner, said his call was based on the supposed financial mismanagement and lack of transparency by the TTFA president, as well as the deteriorating results of the national teams.

“Trinidad and Tobago and Trinidad and Tobago football cannot endure the continuance of the current state of affairs,” said Look Loy. “Once again, I now call on David John-Williams and his two officers to resign… I encourage the football loving public and all patriotic citizens to support this call.”

While the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Under-15 Team lost their chance to participate in an international tournament, the Boys Under-14 Team won their third straight outing in the Caribbean Challenge Series in Curaçao yesterday evening.

Dantaye Gilbert, Jaheim Marshall and Jaheim Faustin all got on the scorecard as Trinidad and Tobago beat Aruba 3-1.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago Women’s U-15 Team warm down after their 4-0 win over the Dominican Republic on 10 August 2016 in the CONCACAF Championships.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

The TTFA was forced to charter a plane to get the Under-14 Boys to Curaçao, after again booking late to travel during the school vacation. The team got to Willemstad with barely 14 hours before their opening match but it has not affected their form, as they rattled off three successive wins—albeit against unheralded regional competition.

(TTFA Statement)

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has taken note of the recent statement issued by the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Mr John McIntyre.

With utmost respect for the sovereign authority of the Chargé d’Affaires, and based on the already agreed plan of action decided by the TTFA given the matter surrounding visa applications for our Girls Under-15 Team, the TTFA will be seeking an audience with the U.S. Embassy through the Chargé d’Affaires.

Notably, it remains our desire to maintain the cordial relationship we have developed with the US Embassy over these many years. A relationship that augurs well for the TTFA and all stakeholders of football.

Therefore, following an opportunity to meet and treat with this matter directly, with a designated official(s) of the US Embassy, the TTFA will be better positioned to treat with visa related affairs.

Additionally, we wish to state that a recent report in a local daily news publication, ascribed to the President of the TTFA, was taken out of context, and more importantly, was not sanctioned by the TTFA.

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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3 comments

  1. US-TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO RELATIONS
    The United States and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago enjoy cordial relations.
    U.S. interests in the country and throughout the hemisphere include increasing investment and trade, enhancing Trinidad and Tobago’s political and social development through crime prevention and youth programs, encouraging its positive regional role in the Caribbean Community and the Organization of American States, and strengthening the government’s capacity to deal with foreign terrorist fighters.
    I believe that it is not the policy of the US Embassy to negotiate deals or conduct National Actives, to seek private cordial relations with individuals or NSOs of any country.
    The TTFA is not entitled to be a representative of the Trinidad & Tobago Government. They should be regarded as a part of the citizenry and not the State.
    The U.S. Government provides technical assistance to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago through a number of existing agreements.
    The U.S. Embassy’s extensive cultural, sports, and education programs and exchanges strengthened the bilateral relationship, increased economic opportunities for youth, increased their leadership skills, and encouraged them to continue their education and give back to their communities.
    The purpose of intended travel by the TTFA and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, the TTFA will need to establish that they meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which they are applying.
    Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign policy is founded on the tenets of:
    1. Respect for the sovereignty and sovereign equality of all states;
    2. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, qualified by acceptance of the responsibility of the international community to take collective action in cases of gross domestic violations of human rights or genocide;
    3. Respect and adherence to international law and to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
    Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign policy accordingly seeks to maintain, develop or enhance relations with strategic countries at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels and to participate actively in the multilateral arena. The TTFA does not qualify at any level of the conversation. The TTFA is assuming a rather egotistical position of misunderstood protocol.
    By Dr.Cliff Bertrand

  2. Boil down like bhaji. He probably thought he could throw the embassy under the bus and didn’t expect to get called out like that. Bumbling and incompetent.

  3. Earl Best

    A foreigner representing an Embassy steps out of his crease to publicly castigate an official of a high-profile local organisation, The latter says he is not telling the truth.

    Ignoring the local official’s pre-history–and forgetting what Wired868 columnist Corey Gilkes might say about colour and self-contempt–whom do you believe?