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DJW calls off Board meeting after High Court blocks attempt to move Look Loy; national youth teams left in limbo

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams abruptly called off a Board meeting today, with less than an hour’s notice to members, after a High Court injunction blocked him from fulfilling his threat of jettisoning perceived rival, Keith Look Loy.

On Glorious Saturday, John-Williams, through his fresh-faced general secretary Camara David, made the potential removal of Look Loy his first order of business after the review of minutes on the Board’s agenda today.

Photo: TTSL president and FC Santa Rosa owner Keith Look Loy leads a march for peace in Arima on 17 March 2018.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

However Justice Robin Mohammed today upheld a legal request by Look Loy—through his legal team of Matthew Gayle, Dr Emir Crowne and Crystal Paul—which blocked the controversial football president from ‘seeking to impugn the Applicant’s status as a director of the [TTFA]’ pending judicial review.

And, in a significant double move, Look Loy also formally initiated the process to compel John-Williams and David to provide all bank details, paid cheque stubs and other information necessary for him to conduct his job as a TTFA Board member.

John-Williams, through David, ‘adjourned’ today’s Board meeting to an unspecified date in the future, within minutes of the verdict. His decision meant the TTFA body could not formally discuss other pressing agenda issues including the appointment of a coaching staff for the Men’s National Under-23 and Women’s National Under-20 and Under-17 Teams.

The National Under-23s are competing for a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and play their opening match on 17 July. However, the TTFA is yet to appoint a coaching staff and there is no squad in training at present.

The Women Under-20 Team are drawn against Haiti, Panama and the Cayman Islands  in the Concacaf qualifying series, which serves as the first step towards the India 2020 Women’s Under-20 World Cup. However, despite their competition also starting in three months, the under-20s are without a coaching staff too.

Look Loy, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president, suggested that the TTFA was not in a position to continue carrying out its function as the local guardians of the game anyway, since a freeze on its bank accounts by the National Futsal Team—due to an unpaid debt—has left the body as bankrupt financially as it is morally.

Photo: TTFA president David John-Williams (centre) is flanked by Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat (left) and then SPORTT chairman Dinanath Ramnarine during a press conference on 29 September 2017.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

TTFA office staff, according to an anonymous source, still have not received salaries for March and are uncertain about pay at the end of April too. Look Loy confirmed that he heard the same thing.

“The staff in the TTFA office is demoralised,” said Look Loy. “The leader of the sinking ship has still not even spoken to them about what is going on and when they are going to be paid. All of this is also affecting football on the field in terms of the new T-League (a merger between the Pro League and TTSL).

“It is past the point of implosion; nothing is happening in TTFA.”

Arguably, John-Williams’ decision to cancel today’s Board meeting, with local football at a virtual standstill at domestic level, suggests that his own political survival is now more important than the administering of the TTFA.

The attempt to replace Look Loy, based upon a three-month old query about the latter’s appointment by North East Stars director Michael Awai and a recent legal opinion by attorney Elton Prescott SC, seemed shaky from the start.

Awai’s complaint was already addressed internally—albeit informally—and dismissed by Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer, one of the framers of the current TTFA constitution.

Photo: TTFRA vice-president Osmond Downer (right) makes a point to referees president Joseph Taylor.

Downer reiterated his earlier position with a series of accompanying documents this morning, via email. The former FIFA referee insisted that there was a quorum for Look Loy’s appointment, despite Awai’s claim, but further noted that a quorum was unnecessary since he was elected to his Board role by the TTSL and not the General Meeting.

And Downer said it would be illegal for John-Williams to attempt to remove Look Loy at a Board meeting anyway since his appointment could only be revoked by the TTFA’s general membership.

Neither John-Williams nor David appeared to respond to Downer’s email. David, who was controversially appointed in February, also ignored requests from at least four Board members to shift the start of Board meetings from 3pm to 5pm, so as to make it easier for working members to attend.

Prescott told Wired868 on the weekend that his legal opinion on Look Loy’s appointment only considered information provided by David and he was not provided with relevant articles of the constitution.

Look Loy suggested that David, a former TTSL employee who controversially began acting as TTFA general secretary while his predecessor Justin Latapy-George was still on the job, is blinded by ambition and ego.

“I have noticed that Camara has taken to signing off his emails with ‘general secretary/CEO’ but the TTFA doesn’t have a CEO,” said Look Loy. “That gives you an insight into his overambitious mentality; a young fellah who now come in football but is consumed by his own ambition and position; and […] is going ahead blindly.”

Photo: TTFA general secretary Camara David shares a taste of Las Vegas with his Instagram followers.

Just seven months away from the completion of his term as football president, the John-Williams-led administration has failed to properly activate its standing committees with only one operational—the referees committee—from a minimum of 16 standing committees meant to effect the smooth running of the local football body.

Look Loy thinks it instructive that, rather than address the defunct finance, legal or technical committees, John-Williams tabled a move to activate the emergency committee instead.

The emergency committee, which is meant to comprise of the president, vice president and four other Board members, is meant to handle important business that may arise in between Board meetings. At present, John-Williams has the support of at least seven from 13 Board members.

The current TTFA Board members are: John-Williams (president), Ewing Davis (vice-president), Raeshawn Mars (Northern FA), Richard Quan Chan (Southern FA), Anthony Moore (Tobago FA), Joseph Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association), Sharon Warrick (Women’s League Football), Julia Baptiste (TT Pro League), Collin Partap (Central Football Association), Bandele Kamau (Eastern FA), Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties Football Union), Selby Browne (Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago) and Look Loy (TTSL).

The constitution states that decisions by the emergency committee ‘shall have immediate legal effect’ while the Board would be notified of such decisions for ratification at its next meeting. In theory, issues like the re-appointment of National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence or the TTFA’s response to the garnishing of its bank accounts could have been handled by the emergency committee.

Photo: Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence (far right) poses with TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right), team manager Richard Piper (second from left) and Camara David (far left) in 2018.
(Copyright Alan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“They could bypass the Board [through the emergency committee] and run TTFA football that way, which is what they have been de facto,” said Look Loy. “But this will allow them to operate without the Board while having constitutional authority at the same time.

“They have the votes to put whoever they want on the emergency committee.”

Although John-Williams retains his political strength, Look Loy believes he is no longer fit to effectively run local football and claimed the TTFA cannot recover with the current president at the helm.

“The David John-Williams administration is like a punch drunk boxer on the ropes—semi-conscious at best, but would not concede,” said Look Loy. “They seem determined not to go down and to hold out, because they have some political support. But as far as the public and football fans go, people just want to see their backs.”

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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81 comments

  1. KLL…one newspaper makin it look like u were d cause for d mtg not being held yesterday

  2. look ah couldn’t done read dis story cause I Madddddd. If ah wasn’t fasting, Lord ThankYou! Is level construction language. Ah feddup of dis crap with dis President. Self seeking demigod

  3. 1. David John-Williams and his cohort Ewing Davis must leave immediately.
    2. An interim President must be appointed. (For the cynics, I have no interest).
    3. Elections must be called as soon aa possible according to the Constitution.
    4. A forensic audit of all TTFA finances must begin immediately.
    5. Negotiations must begin immediately with all creditors, starting with the futsal boys in order to “unfreeze” the Association’s bank accounts.

    That is the immediate recovery programme in general terms.

  4. Yes Earl, “Rose, Dooduce, Long, Calabash, Julie, Cutlass, Starch” (gimmeh some others) Mango Pierre, “dem really good yes!”✌️

  5. Well I have come to believe that all dictators are “Sociopaths “ they have no feelings for anyone but themselves and their own agendas and the only way to finally get rid of them is to cut them off entirely from your life and the positions like the head of a government or the head of Football Associations Them really good yes

  6. I gave a small reminder to DJW when he was pursuing the Presidency. I suggested that he must fully understand that if he was going to adopt a child (the T&TFA) that he had to be ready to understand the challenge to both the adopted child and one’s very own birth or biological child W-Connection and his construction business. To adopt if one had no children is quite different than to adopt if you have one or more. The challenge gets even more sizable when the child that you are adopting into your family is older and even old. The biological child or children now has/have to deal with the old stepbrother and vice versa. DJW assured that this is not out of his league and capability. I have a liking for DJW’s focus to build and be successful, but sometimes, without the right help, support, and good guiding counsel, even customarily successful people like DJW can make serious missteps. He underestimated this adoption challenge because he is an intrinsically solid family man.

    • Hannibal Najjar being a good family man does not necessarily make one a good leader. It always gives me pause when we can’t recognize bad leadership for what it is and call it out. It’s time to move on. Who are the people who can leave us into a successful football future. They need to be identified quickly and supported in that quest up the global football ladder. Bless

    • Hannibal Najjar That was a long explanation. All he needed to do is be open, transparent and stick to the constitution of the organisation he is supposed to lead.

    • Brian Jordan There is every truth in what you said. His leadership in this case is outmatched by the “family” of challenges that he undertook. Two story ignorance was at play with with DJW and his “adoption” of the T&TFA – he did not know what he did not know.

    • Jo Ann Long, the explanation might have been but true none-the-less. You are right that being true to the truth should always be the path to follow and though I believe that that is how he saw himself leading this charge from the beginning, he fell into a slip that led to a slide and now, the fall. He is finished and he shall never recover from his poor performance as president.

  7. This is truly the season for Dictatorships

  8. Oh gosh Ancil LeRoy James don’t be trying to always interrupt the football bacchanal nah man this is plenty better than the soap operas Them really good yes hahaha

    • Earl Mango Pierre this soap opera getting vexing now. We keep hearing court matter after court matter but none result in football being played. Yes the president lose in court again right after meetings schedule to discuss football matters is cancelled but by next week some new coach will he appointed and there will be a new court matter. Its impossible to believe that its only the president doing this, he has to have support and if he doesn’t it is impossible to believe that its only Keith Look Loy that sees what is happening is a problem. If anybody else sits on the TTFA board and dont see this ongoing saga as a problem they all need to leave and let football survive. Apart from Mr Look Loy there is not one other person on the board saying anything publicly about the state of TTFA.

    • Ancil LeRoy James The reason why there isn’t any other board members saying anything along with Keith it is because plenty of them black jacket white jacket and I have been through that same madness fighting for our players in Brooklyn back in the days so that they would be treated fairly with respect to individuals running leagues and tournaments when plenty thousands monies are been made and mind you even some of the players use to tell me that it wasn’t about the money but representing our sweet country and then after the game they looking for money for something to eat gas or money to travel back home while the organization always going to the bank smiling there was this individual RIP use to go around and solicit plenty monies from businesses in the community and never brought it to the table and after my police skills and my top of the line investigations and got all the proof from the businesses and then I took him to court and won the case and you feel that all his so called board members didn’t know what he was doing but for them it was about their positions and to hell about our players and after we won the court matter only then folks in the community realized that it wasn’t nothing personal against the individual and only then they knew that I was telling the TRUTH all along and the next thing I learnt from that experience was about our players at the first hearing 12 players attended the court matter with me and it was put off because the individual said that his lawyer wasn’t going to be present and at the next hearing thank God that only 1 player RIP attended yes else I wudda look like a fool and loose the case and it was there when I explained to meh friend Coach Earl Carter told me that I have plenty belly because our players doesn’t know what they want and even Kurtwyn Baird knows the story himself what I have done for our players so yes I applaud Keith for what he is doing and he should never stop until the right folks finally gets involved in the football and fix it and I have said this before if it was the Syrians , Indians, White folks in our sweet country was running the football from a very long time ago all this madness wudda never been taking place and our football wudda be like the IPL cricket in our sweet country who vex lost Them really good yes

  9. Local football seems to be consistent in one thing!

  10. If 13 board members DJW has support of which 7 as stated in the article. Can we have a division please?

  11. Seven of the Board won’t do anything and one of those is a woman! Women’s football is suffering most of all.

  12. Can FIFA do something? Can the Clubs do something? If the court says….COME ON MAN. I am now tired of this riff rf while our youngsters have to suffer.

  13. I starting to feel like the law is an ass…smh. .

  14. Another loss in the court system. Anyone looking for a post Good Friday bobolee? Think we know where to find one. Licks and more licks in court all the time so, and still staying for more..

  15. The ’emergency committee’ is the greatest piece of the TTFA constitution!!!!

    Why even have a board if an emergency committee can be formed and have it’s decisions be legal?

    I can only assume that from here on is level emergency committee in we tail……

  16. I begged Lawrence to take up the job offer he got. Why would any coach choose to work in this type of environment beats me.

  17. Take dat. Shaft with a diamond head !

  18. It still have shit gun? Even peripheral football fans are weary.

  19. When they had d chance to move him…they felt sorry…it has only gotten worse…take dat now…allyuh like it so

  20. Lasana Liburd i stop read these things …makes no sense … Nothing changes

    • Keisha the surest way for nothing to change is fans and stakeholders giving up.

    • Lasana Liburd i guess i will have to plead guilty here … But honestly i am sure everybody has heard enough of this war and nothing … Absolutely nothing has changed for months .. As bad as it is … Then we the public will get tired because we can’t do nothing even if we want too … The people who can is either they are blinded or we are getting half truths .. I don’t know … But reading these topics every time and nothing gets better .. Don’t get made at me for not reading them anymore

  21. So couldn’t DJW go ahead with the Board Meeting and just remove the Look Loy item from the agenda?

  22. What are the legal consequences for continued intimidation of people granted court ordered rights to information they are entitled to as part of their role. So much for Whistleblower legislation.

  23. And as i said before FOOTBALL continues to suffer as board members rumble, lawyers get paid and no teams are active…….but what do i know! At this moment its beyond who is right or wrong, most wont see it my way but in the long run everyone will realise that none of this was productive. FOOTBALL is suffering and everyone who is a stakeholder/board member, president all are to be held accountable!

    • Ancil it is beyond who is right or wrong? If you don’t work that out you’re bound to repeat the madness and keep repeating it.

    • Thats exactly what i mean. There no absolving anyone from the chaos we have here calling football. It has gone way beyond fixing football it has in my view become personal attacks on each others position and football is sitting in the stands looking on wishing it can get a chance to be played again. Today was another court “battle” whats the outcome for football? Meeting cancelled so if a coach is to be appointed it will be done by whomever with little or no consideration for growth of football. The winner today wasnt really a winner, everyone lost. Especially the players who dream of playing football again

    • Ancil LeRoy James what do you suggest needs to be done to have football win? Serious question.

    • Ancil LeRoy James Why didn’t the meeting go ahead?

    • Timothy Rochford I look forward to Ancil’s response.

    • To save our football the President needs to resign his position…

    • Tony Maxwell Hatt ok one suggestion that a lot of folks share.

    • Timothy Rochford to save our football the entire TTFA needs to be restructured. Most if not all in the executive must go. There is no way our football can ever grow if we keep electing ppl who can run the association by themselves or with a clique and not be held accountable. If TTFA moves forward with this present constitution we will see the same problems crop back up in the future. Following the history of our TTFA this is not the first person who has taken full control of the FA an stifle our football and their are persons who are in the executive now who were part of those times.

    • It isnt the president alone is the problem because we all can see he has support within the TTFA. You remove him but the ppl who support him remain how successful will the next president be working alongside these ppl

  24. I was in such a good mood until I read this!!!! When Players fail to perform they get dropped or Sold, when Coaches fail they are fired but when administrators fail…