The framers of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) constitution—a policy document approved by the world governing body, FIFA—felt the local sporting body should be served by a number of standing committees, which were meant to not only ensure oversight and accountability but also to afford the TTFA’s board of directors the benefit of a range of ideas and expertise.
The current TTFA constitution was adopted and ratified on 12 July 2015 by an Independent Reform Commission (IRC) that included: former West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) president and Test cricketer Dinanath Ramnarine, attorney Elton Prescott SC, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis, archivist Patrick Raymond, former 2006 World Cup player Shaka Hislop, then Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago (MATT) executive member Dr Sheila Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (TTFRA) vice-president Osmond Downer and late KPMG managing partner Raoul John.
In its wisdom, the IRC divided the duties of the TTFA into a minimum of 16 standing committees while also creating the framework for additional ad hoc committees, which were to be created when necessary.
At present, the TTFA has just one functioning committee: the referees committee.
Contrary to misleading reports from sections of the local media and often the football body itself, the TTFA has not had a functioning technical committee in well over a year.
In January 2017, technical committee chairman Dexter Skeene and more than half of his colleagues quit their post, after the TTFA board ignored their advice and appointed Dennis Lawrence as Soca Warriors head coach—although the committee named Lawrence as its third choice behind Stuart Charles-Fevrier and Terry Fenwick.
The current ‘technical committee’ consists of one person, Richard Quan-Chan, although the constitution stipulates, under article 43.3, that ‘each standing committee shall consist of a chairman, a deputy chairman and maximum of five other members’.
It is hardly the only constitutional violation.
The TTFA’s ‘compliance process’, for instance, was overseen by employees Sharon O’Brien—who was also a board member at the time—and Michelle Lynch. However article 45.3 states: ‘the chairman and deputy chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee shall be independent from TTFA, its bodies and Members’.
This stipulation of independence, as spelt out by the constitution, was intended to: ‘ensure the completeness and reliability of the financial accounting and review the financial statements, the consolidated financial statement and the independent external auditors’ reports’.
At the TTFA AGM on Saturday 23 December 2017, John-Williams proposed members for the body’s judicial committees, which were ratified.
Those judicial committees, which must be populated by persons unattached to bodies within the local football body, are:
Disciplinary: Newton George (chair), Auldrin Neptune (vice-chair), Sushilla Jadoonanan, John Jeffrey and Norris Ferguson (members).
Ethics: Cedric Neptune (chair), Cheryl Wallace (vice-chair), Dr Beverly Beckles (member).
Appeals: Michael Quamina (chair), Sandra Elcock-Stanisclaus (vice-chair).
Audit and Compliance: Rodney Smart (chair), Ann-Marie Abbott (vice-chair), Kit Kennedy (member).
Fifteen months later, not one of the three bodies has held a single meeting—which might suit Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team star Kennya ‘Yaya’ Cordner, who refused to play in a World Cup qualifier last October but cannot be censored by non-functional disciplinary committee.
At least two committee members told Wired868 that requests for updates on their roles were met only with empty promises of feedback.
According to article 59.3, the TTFA general secretary is responsible for ‘attending the […] meetings of the Board of Directors, Emergency Committee and the standing and ad-hoc committees; organising the General Meeting and meetings of the Board of Directors and other bodies; [and] compiling the minutes for the meetings of the General Meeting, Board of Directors, Emergency Committee and standing and ad-hoc committees’.
On 19 October 2018, TTFA general secretary Justin Latapy-George could not say what had gone wrong with the various standing committees.
“The standing committees were all ratified at the AGM of 23 December,” said Latapy-George. “However, they have not met in any form. They are active but not functional.
“[…] I can’t say why they have not met.”
Four months later, Latapy-George did not seem any better informed.
“At the time, the notice of appointment [for the judicial committees] was handled by then [vice-president Joanne] Salazar,” Latapy-George told Wired868, last week. “I can confirm that the notices were sent. I am and remain subject to [board] instruction thereafter re:the committees’ activities.”
But what exactly is local football missing as a result of the non-functional committees?
The TTFA constitution gives the roles of its standing committees as thus:
Emergency Committee: The Emergency Committee shall deal with all matters requiring immediate settlement between two meetings of the board of directors. The Committee shall consist of the President, Vice President, and four members chosen from amongst the Members of the Board of Directors… All decisions taken by the Emergency Committee shall be ratified by the Board of Directors at its next meeting.(Notably, TTFA president David John-Williams—by his own admission—has largely acted as a virtual one-man emergency committee ever since his election on 31 November 2015. Worse, the TTFA Board has often not met within the mandated time frame of two months.)
Finance Committee: The Finance Committee shall monitor the financial management and advise the Board of Directors on financial matters and asset management. It shall analyse the budget of TTFA and the financial statements prepared by the General Secretary and submit them to the Board of Directors for approval.
Audit and Compliance Committee: The Audit and Compliance Committee shall ensure the completeness and reliability of the financial accounting and review the financial statements, the consolidated financial statement and the independent external auditors’ reports.
The Audit and Compliance Committee shall advise and assist the Board of Directors in monitoring the Association’s financial and compliance matters, and issue and monitor compliance with the relevant regulations of the Association.
Organising Committee for TTFA Competitions: The Organising Committee for TTFA Competitions shall propose the competitions of TTFA in compliance with the provisions of this constitution and the regulations applicable to TTFA’s competitions.
Technical and Development Committee: The Technical and Development Committee shall primarily analyse the basic aspects of football training and technical development.
Legal Committee: The Legal Committee shall analyse basic legal issues relating to football and the evolution of the Constitution, rules and regulations of TTFA and its Members.
Committee for Women’s Football: The Committee for Women’s Football shall organise the women’s football competitions of TTFA and deal with all matters relating to women’s football.
Youth Football and Development Committee: The Youth Football and Development Committee shall organise the youth football competitions of TTFA and deal with all matters relating to youth football.
Sports Medicine Committee: The Sports Medicine Committee shall deal with all medical aspects of football.
Players’ Status Committee: The Players’ Status Committee shall set up and monitor compliance with transfer regulations in accordance with the applicable FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players and determine the status of Players for the various competitions of TTFA.
Marketing Committee: The Marketing Committee shall advise the Board of Directors with regard to drafting and implementing contracts between TTFA and its marketing partners and analyse marketing strategies that have been devised.
Club Licensing Committee: The Club Licensing Committee is in charge of the club licensing system within the TTFA in accordance with the regulations of TTFA […] in conformity with the FIFA Club Licensing Regulations and the minimum requirements of the club licensing system set up by CONCACAF.
Electoral Committee: The Electoral Committee is the body in charge of organising and supervising the election process in accordance with the Electoral Code of TTFA.
Disciplinary Committee: The Disciplinary Committee may pronounce the sanctions described in this Constitution and the Disciplinary Code of TTFA on Members, Officials, Players, Clubs and match and players’ agents.
Ethics Committee: The Ethics Committee may pronounce the sanctions described in this Constitution, the Code of Ethics of TTFA and the Disciplinary Code of TTFA on Officials, Players and match and players’ agents.
Appeal Committee: The Appeal Committee is responsible for hearing appeals against decisions from the Disciplinary Committee and the Ethics Committee that are not declared final by the relevant regulations of TTFA. Decisions pronounced by the Appeal Committee may only be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, or to a national, independent Arbitration Tribunal in accordance with the provisions in this Constitution.
John-Williams shared his respect for the TTFA’s standing committees in his election manifesto, ‘Imperatives for change’—when he declared ‘effective and efficient functioning committees’ to be one of the cornerstones of his vision for the local football body.
“Our team is committed to immediately appointing the necessary sub committees, as required under the constitution,” stated John-Williams, in October 2015. “The proper and efficient functioning of these committees are important to regaining stakeholders and corporate confidence in the TTFA.”
Wired868 asked for an opinion on the potential impact of the TTFA’s 14 non-functional standing committees—excluding the electoral committee—from FIFA IFAB board member and 2006 World Cup goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, TTOC president Brian Lewis, TTFA board member Keith Look Loy, UWI Sports Management lecturer and T&T’s 2003 Indoor Hockey World Cup captain Sherlan Cabralis, management consultant and ex-TIDO president Brian Harry and management account and ex-Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board (TTHB) official Kendall Tull.