A Trinidad and Tobago football coach based in the United States has taken the State to court over payment he claimed is owed to him for accepting a contract to host a vacation football camp.
The camp was hosted by the Laventille Morvant Schools Improvement Project (LMSIP) and approved by the Ministry of Education in 2019.
Neil Berment, who is a former national player for T&T and lives in the US, filed the claim after numerous failed attempts to get $38,882.29 he said is owed to him under the contract he signed for his services.
Berment is the founder and technical director of Soccer Development International (SDI), a football coaching academy. He also holds a US Soccer Federation coaching licence and is a course instructor for South Carolina.
In his claim, filed by his attorney Peter Taylor, Berment said his academy was contracted to host the camp, which was expected to take place from July 8-19, 2019.
At the time of accepting the contract, Berment’s lawsuit said a representative of the LMSIP told him the Ministry of Education had granted approval to host the camp, at the Russell Latapy Secondary School.
Copies of the correspondence from the ministry were attached to his claim.
Berment’s lawsuit said he signed the contract accepting the offer of $38,882.29 to facilitate the camp, but two days later, the camp was “unceremoniously aborted” without explanation or apology.
Berment’s claim said he cancelled a coaching clinic in Spain to facilitate the football camp in Trinidad, which he chose to do “out of a sense of patriotism and love of country.”
His claim added, “To add more bitterness to his already overflowing cup, in addition to the loss and damage suffered by the claimant due to the aborted programme and even in the face of his offer to reduce his contract price by some $9,000 in an effort to reach an amicable settlement,” his repeated attempts to get the money due to him for the breach of the contract by the ministry failed.
He also attached the contents of nine e-mails he wrote to the ministry’s permanent secretary and one to the prime minister in his claim for breach of contract, as well as a pre-action protocol letter he sent asking for payment of the sum owed to him, as well as the cost of return airline travel from the US to T&T.
In its defence, which was obtained by Newsday, the State admitted the ministry had granted approval for the hosting of the football camp and the signing of the letter or contract and agreement, but neither admitted nor denied the remainder of Berment’s claims, saying it was not in the knowledge of the defendant. The State also denied Berment was entitled to the reliefs he sought, of damages and special damages.
SOURCE: T&T Newsday