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Sun, Mar

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It was with a great de­gree of sad­ness when I heard of the pass­ing of Ray­mond Tim Kee - some­one who lived to help and de­vel­op T&T in any way pos­si­ble.

I met Tim Kee many years ago when I was coach­ing foot­ball at Fa­ti­ma Col­lege and his son was rep­re­sent­ing the school. He would come along to match­es to sup­port him and al­so give the school the kind of as­sis­tance a coach would look for­ward to from a par­ent - not in­ter­fer­ing, but rather say­ing the right things and al­ways full of en­cour­age­ment for the team.

We al­ways kept in touch; not reg­u­lar­ly but when­ev­er I saw him. We would talk for long pe­ri­ods about dif­fer­ent top­ics but sport, par­tic­u­lar­ly foot­ball, was his love and he al­ways had a good sense of hu­mour try­ing ex­treme­ly hard to crack a joke some­where dur­ing every con­ver­sa­tion.

It was in 2012 when we crossed swords as he was nom­i­nat­ed for the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TTFA) pres­i­den­cy. Un­known to me, I had no idea that Ray­mond was to be a can­di­date, as I was ap­proached by two zones to al­so run for the top foot­ball job in T&T. I nat­u­ral­ly ac­cept­ed at that point, as I felt I could make a con­tri­bu­tion to the sport which has giv­en me so much in years gone by. I saw it as a great op­por­tu­ni­ty to give back to the game and since the crick­et fra­ter­ni­ty chased many of us from their closed ranks, I knew the time to help foot­ball was then.

The amus­ing thing is that Ray­mond called me to say that he nev­er knew I was go­ing up or he would have not run for the post and he said to me (and I know he said it pub­licly as well): “The TTFA should have two pres­i­dents and it is a pity one of us has to lose.”

We re­mained friends even though we were go­ing to fight against one an­oth­er and I have nev­er heard him one day say any­thing deroga­to­ry about me. Now, he may have, but it must have been be­hind closed doors. As it turned out, much to the an­noy­ance of quite a few peo­ple, I even­tu­al­ly with­drew my nom­i­na­tion.

The first thing I did af­ter in­form­ing the peo­ple who sup­port­ed me, I called Ray­mond to con­grat­u­late him and wished him well. He had a dif­fi­cult job be­cause he had to please his sup­port­ers while try­ing to bring some sta­bil­i­ty to the TTFA. He was a gen­tle­man and his re­al wish was to put T&T foot­ball back on the map.

He even­tu­al­ly grew proud of his achieve­ments while at the helm of the TTFA. Qual­i­fy­ing for two Gold Cups af­ter tak­ing a bold step and em­ploy­ing Stephen Hart as the na­tion­al coach; fin­ish­ing sec­ond twice in two Caribbean Cup fi­nals and the biggest one of all - get­ting the se­nior team to the ‘Hex’ - the fi­nal round of the 2018 FI­FA World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion. He al­so built a great re­la­tion­ship with T&T’s women foot­ballers as we lost to Ecuador in the fi­nal match and failed to qual­i­fy for the 2015 FI­FA Women’s World Cup. The women al­so be­came Caribbean cham­pi­ons in 2014.

It was in the build-up to the 2015 TTFA elec­tions that I met with Ray­mond, as he called me to his of­fice down­town one Sat­ur­day as he had tak­en on an­oth­er near mis­sion im­pos­si­ble job of may­or of Port-of-Spain. I ar­rived at the may­or’s of­fice at around 3 pm and some three hours lat­er, Ray­mond and some oth­er gen­tle­men had con­vinced me to run on his slate as first vice pres­i­dent.

I dis­cussed with him the plan mov­ing for­ward and how he in­tend­ed to get vot­ers on his side to guar­an­tee a win. He was con­fi­dent, as he felt his track record as pres­i­dent would speak vol­umes. I warned him from my ex­pe­ri­ence that he need­ed to put in the ground­work. But he in­sist­ed that “per­for­mance beats old talk any­time” (no pun in­tend­ed). As it turned out, the vot­ers were not in­ter­est­ed in per­for­mance and sub­se­quent­ly, his slate was de­feat­ed and sad­ly foot­ball in this coun­try then pro­ceed­ed to hit an all-time low. Every time we met he would ex­press his dis­en­chant­ment with the state of T&T foot­ball.

Fast for­ward to 2019, when he told me that he was join­ing with Unit­ed TTFA and once he was suc­cess­ful in go­ing up for the pres­i­den­cy, he want­ed me to run with him again. Just how could I refuse Ray­mond Tim Kee? I sup­pose I am a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment? He got very up­set with me when he saw my name be­ing linked with Lind­say Gillette and it took some con­vinc­ing from me that I just at­tend­ed a meet­ing and that was it.

I knew his health was de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, as I last saw him three weeks ago at the Queen’s Park Crick­et Club’s (QPCC) an­nu­al din­ner where his wife, who is a tremen­dous singer, was per­form­ing and I al­ways joked with him that her singing would soothe and calm his nerves.

Ray­mond Tim Kee was al­ways im­mac­u­late­ly dressed, he was hon­est and al­ways seemed to have time for every­one and de­vot­ed his life to serv­ing peo­ple. To his wife Natasha, his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, my heart­felt sym­pa­thy to you all. May he rest in peace.


SOURCE: T&T Guardian