Thu, Jul


Stretcher for Raymond Tim Kee.

Two weeks after leaving Opposition Leader Keith Rowley slightly disoriented with a “Cruyff turn” on the Pension Bill Amendment, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar blindsided the TTFA president with a “Zuñiga” to the nuts and bolts by making good on the 2006 World Cup bonus agreement that slipped out of Tim Kee's grasp.

 Mr Live Wire tried to call Tim Kee, who also happens to be the Port of Spain mayor and PNM treasurer, to give him the news but the TTFF’s telephone lines are down. Ouch!

Granted that Persad-Bissessar dipped into the Treasury as if it was her handbag and the result is that taxpayers must now pay twice for the World Cup 2006 squad although Stern John hasn’t scored a goal for his country in six years.

But then Tim Kee does not look so clever by repeatedly suggesting that the only feasible way to raise funds is at a government ministry - with cap in hand.

Okay, so it would be nice if you can get all the taxpayers’ money you need. But do you have any other ideas? Selling Native Spirit tee-shirts? Been there, done that!

Give him time. Mr Live Wire thinks Tim Kee will soon be making overtures to the Ministry of the People to have the TTFA’s debts paid off. After all, their creditors are people you see. Right?

As for former TTFF special advisor Jack Warner, what can I say?  The man must have testicles the size of calabashes to turn up uninvited at the party of the players who he said would only be paid over his dead body.

Warner crunched some figures that suggested the players were paid close to $50 million for three games in which they did not score a goal.

First, the Chaguanas West MP should forward the $7 million from FIFA that he included but no one ever heard about. Let’s start there. And, while he is at it, he should bring the accounting books that the London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) requested and the Port of Spain High Court ordered him to produce so that everyone can see what he pocketed for three games without a goal that someone else played.

It is, of course, dishonest to suggest that the players were paid that sum for three games at the World Cup finals. The truth is that the payment was also for the 20 World Cup qualifying matches the Warriors played on the road to Germany; 29 is the number of goals scored in those.

If the players were paid more than the going rate, Warner should be the one to apologise. He it was who made the contract with the players; all they did was try to get it honoured.

Funny that Warner declared the $50 million—really $38—was a waste of money. He was not nearly as miserly in spirit when, as a minister of government, he insisted that he would happily spend another $6.8 million to salvage an unusable fire truck if the situation arose?

Not surprisingly, people tend not to call Warner for a tow when they are in trouble. Well, except Life Sport director Ruth Marchan. But let’s wait and see what bill she gets at the end of her stay at his “safe house.”

Couldn’t she just have got a room at Hotel California?

Warner also took the opportunity to make a plea for former TTFF president Oliver Camps who is supposedly about to lose his home after being unable to cough up enough cash to settle a US$480,000 promissory note he signed to secure the services of Dutchman and former Soca Warrior coach Wim Rijsbergen.

Mr Live Wire would like to ask who Camps’ special advisor was when he signed that note. If memory serves me right, it was Warner.

Rijsbergen’s last game in charge of the Warriors was on 17 October, 2007. That means Warner, who advised Camps to personally stand security for a football debt, had all of seven years to help his buddy get out of it, rather less time, it is true, than he himself had to pay off the Soca Warriors.

During that period, FIFA paid the TTFF $6.3 million (US$1 million) to handle its operational affairs—excluding the $1.6 million ($US250,000) the governing football deducted for Warner’s failure to relay emergency funds to earthquake-hit Haiti—as well as the millions generated from television rights, gates and/or sponsors from the 2010 and 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

As its share of the Brazil 2014 World Cup revenue, the TTFA will receive US$500,000 for just being part of FIFA.

So what did the TTFF get from the 2010 World Cup? Did Warner advise Camps of all these opportunities to pay that debt? Did he even alert him to the existence of that money at all?

In those seven years, Warner also got millions in “consultancy fees” for the Qatar World Cup bid, sold television rights in the Caribbean that he purchased for US$1 and was plied with numerous gifts from World Cup bidding nations.

And Camps helped him too.

When evidence suggested that Warner facilitated the bribery of Caribbean delegates by FIFA presidential nominee, Mohammed Bin Hammam, Camps wrote a letter to the governing body which swore it was untrue.

An affidavit by former TTFF general secretary Richard Groden revealed that Camps, at the request of Warner, urged him to falsify testimony to FIFA.

And, at that point, facing a FIFA inquiry into his conduct and disciplinary punishment, Camps resigned his post in disgrace.

And Warner, presumably, stood by and watched Camps face the threat of losing his house for the sort of money he could have made—and probably did!—in one afternoon with Bin Hammam.

Mr Live Wire can only hope that, if the worse comes to the worse, poor old Ollie will at least get a bunk not far from Marchan.