MINISTER of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe said she is in “full support” of the call by the T&T Football Association (TTFA) to initiate a financial audit as a new administration takes office.
Secondary Schools Football president William Wallace dethroned David John-Williams as TTFA president at the association’s elections on Sunday. Clynt Taylor, Susan Joseph-Warrick and Sam Phillip were voted first, second and third vice-presidents, respectively.
After approximately eight hours of meetings with his vice-presidents on Monday, Wallace said one of the major decisions made was to shut down the recently-opened Home of Football in Balmain, Couva, until further notice. The million-dollar, 72-room facility was officially opened on November 18.
Speaking with Newsday, Wallace said it has pending approvals and no property insurance.
“We found out some of the approvals are not in place. For example, fire approvals. You can’t have people in a building without fire approval.”
According to the official website of the Ministry of Rural Development, applications for over ten lots of land must receive approval from the chief designs engineer of the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), the T&T Electricity Commission (TTEC) and the chief fire officer.
A request must then be made for inspection of the building to obtain a certificate of completion. The site says requests can be made at the building inspector’s office at the relevant municipal corporation. Once inspected and approved, the certificate can be collected after two weeks.
But a senior official from the fire service who wished to remain anonymous told Newsday the previous administration began the process but did not complete it. The official said no requests were made for inspection.
While this is the main issue with the facility the new administration has found thus far, Wallace said, “That was enough for us to say people can’t occupy the building. Information is still coming in on the Home and other things.”
When contacted, Cudjoe said she was unaware the building still had pending approvals and no insurance. She attended the opening ceremony on November 18, along with the Prime Minister, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Concacaf president Victor Montagliani.
“I was not aware of that. That is something for the administration to treat with.
“That is something you’d have to ask the executive or management of TTFA.”
In addition to the facility’s shut-down, decisions made during Wallace’s Monday meeting included the creation of an advisory committee and assigning roles to the vice-presidents. Taylor will focus on membership affairs, Joseph-Warrick will tackle women’s football and Phillip will handle security.
Other decisions included: Stopping transactions on all TTFA bank accounts (including online transactions), issuing a public invitation to TTFA creditors to present their claim, introducing new security measures for the protection of TTFA property and initiating a financial audit.
Asked about the audit, Cudjoe said, “Anybody taking stock of a new entity will obviously want to look at the financial health of the entity. We do so as government, and I guess it’s the best interest of any new person taking on a new administration. “I give the president full support like I give to all presidents of NGBs (National governing bodies) and I wish them all the very best in their endeavours.”
Newsday tried contacting John-Williams for a comment, however,he asked that his privacy be respected.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday