For more than two years, the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) has been trying to get $1.4 million owed to it by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
The Sunday Express was told that during the period August-September 2010, the PTSC provided transportation and advertising services for the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of football body FIFA’s Women’s Under-17 tournament and has yet to be paid for the services provided.The request was made by then secretary of the TTFF and Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner and done before a board was officially appointed, the Sunday Express was informed.
Warner subsequently recommended that Devant Maharaj, now Food Production Minister, be appointed to chair the PTSC board.
The bill was broken into two parts: transportation which amounted to $1,344,356 for the use of 342 buses and advertising and promotion which amounted to $45,000.
Documents delivered to the Sunday Express showed repeated attempts by the PTSC to recover the sums owed to the Corporation from the TTFF and Concacaf (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Associations of Football).
The invoices, which had a billing cycle of 30 days, were dated October 11, 2010.
In 2011, the PTSC again wrote to the TTFF, this time to the attention of Richard Groden.
“We made numerous calls to the Concacaf office and were told that the cheque has been prepared but not been signed. We are hereby requesting early settlement of this debt which is now ten months old,” wrote Leslie Nelson, former deputy general manager of the PTSC.
On June 11 this year the PTSC wrote to Raymond Tim Kee, president of the TTFF, to inform him that the Corporation intended to pursue legal action in a bid to recover the sums owed to it.
The PTSC, in its letter, noted that it had written the TTFF on three separate occasions and had not received acknowledgement or payment for the services.
A senior official at the PTSC yesterday confirmed that the debt still remained outstanding.
If the sums were not paid, the Corporation’s next step is to write FIFA to demand payment for the services.
The official told the Sunday Express that to date, there were still several buses which bore advertising from the Under-17 games and the Corporation made a decision to leave it there as evidence for its case.
Contacted for comment on the debt owned, Tim Kee explained to the Sunday Express that he has been bombarded by letters for money owed to people following the country’s hosting of the Under-17 games.
To date, he said, he has received some 116 letters from people who the TTFF owes sums for the hosting of the games.
He said he was trying to deal with the outstanding matters but that the TTFF “has no money”.
“The most I can do is talk to the PTSC. My predicament is owing people. The only money we have is a stipend we get from the Ministry (of Sport). I will have to go to the Ministry and talk to them about writing off that debt because there is no way we can pay that. We are still owing Russell Latapy money,” he told the Sunday Express.
Questioned on whether FIFA would have provided funds for the hosting of the games to the host country, Tim Kee acknowledged that FIFA would have given money to cover the costs but declined to discuss the matter further.
He pointed out that questions about the LOC should be directed to Warner, who was the chairman of the LOC for the Under-17 games.
In January 2011, Warner had accused the former PNM government of abusing the services of the PTSC since 2002 for political events, including the no-confidence motion against former prime minister Patrick Manning in 2008.
Warner had alleged that there was “blatant misuse of public funds” under the previous administration, and the PNM was given preferential rates for chartered services without any contracts or paper trails.