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Downer: John-Williams cannot force a general secretary on the TTFA Board

“Article 39.3 of the Constitution states: ‘Only the President may propose the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary’.

“Now, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘propose’ as follows: ‘To put forward for consideration’ or ‘to nominate as a candidate’. ‘Propose’ does not mean ‘select’ or ‘elect’…”

Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president and former St Augustine Secondary principal Osmond Downer, one of the framers of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) constitution, explains why football president David John-Williams cannot unilaterally decide on the fate of the TTFA general secretary:

Photo: TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George (right) poses with Panama ambassador Luis Cigarruista Vargas.
(Copyright TTFA Media)

At the reconvened AGM of the TTFA held on 9 December 2018, the following motion was accepted by unanimous vote of the delegates present: “That the AGM expresses satisfaction with the work of the General Secretary during his tenure and will exhort the President to take this into account in considering the renewal of the contract of the General Secretary.”

When this motion was adopted, the President gave the impression to the meeting that [he] has all the say in the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary. Colleagues, according to the Constitution of the TTFA. This is certainly not not correct.

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Article 39.3 of the Constitution states: “Only the President may propose the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary.”

Now, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “propose” as follows: “To put forward for consideration” or “to nominate as a candidate.”

“Propose” does not mean “select” or “elect.”

To whom does the President put forward  a nominee for consideration  in a matter of appointment or dismissal of a General Secretary? The answer is, according to the Constitution, “The Board of Directors of the TTFA.”

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams and new FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the TTFA headquarters on 27 January 2016.
Infantino was the UEFA general secretary at the time.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Article 36(f) on the Powers of the Board of Directors states “shall appoint or dismiss the General Secretary on the proposal of the President”.

Now, therefore, who considers the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary? The answer is “the Board of Directors.”

The President only puts forward to the board his proposals for the consideration of the Board and it is the Board that makes the decision whether to accept or not accept the President’s proposal: “The Board shall appoint or dismiss…”

The President’s only—but important—function here is to propose and nothing else. The Board, in this matter, can reject the President’s proposal; [but] the Board cannot, on its own, make an appointment or termination. The Board must then refer the matter back to the President for him to make another proposal for the consideration of the Board of Directors and for its decision.

I trust that this matter has now been clarified for all concerned.

Photo: TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George (left) chats with ex-TTSL general secretary Camara David at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 10 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

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  1. “The Board SHALL appoint or dismiss…”

    It is instructive that Downer did not see fit to offer an Oxford Dictionary’s definition of ‘shall.” The instruction is imperative, rather than discretionary. Chalk it up to another failing that this man was included in the drafting of the Constitution, compounded by his failure to then understand what was being drafted.

  2. So Downer serious but not serious …. he like a razor blade…cutting both sides

  3. ..FC Santa Rosa tabled a motion to dismiss him. Downer moved a counter motion to tap him on the knuckles for a second time in six months. That passed. Go figure..

  4. And d board says nothinh…but d board an president are answerable or accountable to d agm floor….i wonder who is goin to raise dis matter…ppl tryin to be diplomatic an proper in d affairs of d ttfa while fatboy doin what he wants….if he not doim a good job an has questionable dealings an hidin info…then get rid of d man via motion an vote an set d thing straight…Geezan

  5. ..A few of us will. The cowards and corrupted will go with the Big Boss..

  6. Let’s see if the Board actually sticks to their guns

  7. ..One of several questions that are answered. Particularly re: David, if either TTFA OR FIFA paid for his trip, that constitutes fraud. He is neither employee nor appointee of the Association, and the decision to have him tag along to the recent FIFA workshop in Barbados was not sanctioned by the Board or any other duly authorized body ot TTFA..

  8. Who is paying for d trip dat DJW and David is currently on??

  9. ..This is elementary only to those who approach the issue honestly. To those who will only follow the Big Boss blindly, not so much. DJW and his acolyte David are attempting the most unethical subterfuge to undermine the functioning GS, Justin Latapy, whose extension has met the approval of the general membership. To the former I say when will the deceit end? To the latter I say ambition must be tethered to ethics. This matter will be fought at the AGM and in the Board..

  10. What’s the point? The President does as he well pleases anyway. Just Hocus pocus mixed with smoke and mirrors every time..