“The use of the word ‘shall’ leaves no room for deliberation or consideration by the Board of Directors.
“[…] The constitution does not give the Board of Directors in this matter any instructions or powers to reject, revoke or consider the President’s proposal. The instructions are quite clear.”
The following interpretation of TTFA president David John-Williams’ legal authority in the selection of the football body’s general secretary was forwarded by former national youth team and W Connection goalkeeper Anthony Clarke—and rebuts a previous opinion offered by TTFRA vice-president Osmond Downer, who was one of the framers of the TTFA constitution:
As we are all aware, the contract of the incumbent General Secretary, Mr Justin Latapy-George expired on 30 November 2018.
Furthermore, I was there and cognisant of the motion accepted by the AGM regarding the meeting’s expression of satisfaction with Mr Latapy’s tenure and its suggestion to take this expression into account when considering the renewal of his contract.
Despite this, it has been falsely insinuated by some that the meeting ‘instructed’ the President to renew the Secretary’s contract until the end of the current administration’s term in office.
I am now becoming acquainted with the TTFA’s constitution and the following is my understanding of the following clauses. Article 39.3 of the Constitution where it states: “only the President may propose the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary.”
Article 36(f)—regarding the powers of the board of directors—goes on to state, “shall appoint or dismiss the General Secretary on the proposal of the President.”
Now, the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘shall’ as follows: “expressing an instruction, command, or obligation.” The use of the word ‘shall’ leaves no room for deliberation or consideration by the Board of Directors.
Additionally, the use of the conjunction ‘or’ makes the instruction very clear that the Board of Directors may exercise one out of two actions: appoint or dismiss the General Secretary, on the proposal of the President. The constitution does not give the Board of Directors in this matter any instructions or powers to reject, revoke or consider the President’s proposal. The instructions are quite clear.
My research has informed me that this practice has been widely understood, used and accepted by many with similar constitutions locally and internationally. The constitution is very clear despite efforts by others to over-complicate things or even manipulate it.
I think we have to be knowledgeable of the constitution that governs us. As the footballing enthusiast, I am hopeful that my short comments on this matter would generate a discussion and that we can have a fully educated view on this issue and continue discussions on [same].
Yours also, in the promotion of football,
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:
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.
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.”
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.
Yours in the promotion of football,
What the TTFA Constitution says:
Article 36(f): (The Board of Directors) shall appoint or dismiss the General Secretary on the proposal of the President;
Article 39.3: Only the President may propose the appointment or dismissal of the General Secretary.