Wed, Aug

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith (left), of Team Relief, tries to run past an opponent during the ‘Football For a Cause’ match at the Hasely Crawford Stadium,Mucurapo, on Friday night.

TEAM HOPE, coached by Brian Williams, defeated Team Relief, which included player/coach Angus Eve, 2-1 at the Football For A Cause charity match, which took place, on Friday evening, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

The event featured ex-national footballers, current national women players, as well as members of the hockey, table tennis, cricket and swimming fraternity.

Swimmer Cherelle Thompson and TT women’s footballer Natasha St Louis scoring for Team Hope, while current Central FC coach Stern John replied for Team Relief.

However, the loudest cheers of the night occurred when former Minister of National Security and current Police Commissioner Gary Griffith made a pair of cameo appearances for Team Relief.

National men’s coach Dennis Lawrence, who was one of the chief organisers for the charity match, described the event as “fantastic”.

“I think the most important thing was the cause,” he said. “The reports I’m getting is that we’ve got a room absolutely ram-packed and the donations (were) very good. And everybody came out and enjoyed themselves. From that point of view, I’m delighted.”

Asked if another charity game could be staged in a few weeks’ time, to garner greater public support, Lawrence replied, “Obviously. The idea is the try to have some continuity because we need to always keep coming together, unite, and try to help.”

He continued, “So, we’ll sit down, have a chat because I think (Friday) was a good example for Trinidad and Tobago about when people come together, what (they) can achieve.”

Lawrence was pleased with the positive responses he got from his former TT teammates and members of the sporting fraternity who took part in the charity match.

“It was just one phone call and everybody was on board straight away,” he said.

“That was the easiest part. In terms of the logistics, that would have been the more difficult part, because when you have the Commissioner of Police involved in anything, you need to be very secure.

“All and all, we were pleased, everybody enjoyed themselves. The sponsors, the people that turned up and the media, I want to say thank you very much.”

He ended, “It was on short notice. We weren’t expecting it to be great but we were going to do it anyhow.”


Football For A Greater Cause.
By Shaun Fuentes (Guardian).

In the af­ter­math of the dev­as­tat­ing floods in parts of our coun­try, or­di­nary cit­i­zens, with­out be­ing told what to do by those in au­thor­i­ty, col­lab­o­rat­ed in a re­mark­able team ef­fort to try and bring some lev­el of re­lief to those af­fect­ed. Mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy and so­cial me­dia made it pos­si­ble for in­di­vid­u­als and groups to self-or­gan­ise with­out need­ing in­struc­tions from some sort of cen­tral con­trol.

The strand­ed, res­cuers, those in shel­ters and or­gan­is­ers were us­ing dig­i­tal plat­forms to keep in touch with each oth­er. What has been ob­vi­ous is how the tra­di­tion­al T&T “can-do” spir­it took over de­spite be­ing in a time where our so­ci­ety seemed to have been tak­en over by an en­vi­ron­ment that has been re­lent­less­ly and ap­par­ent­ly pur­pose­ly neg­a­tive al­most as if de­signed to di­vide and de­mor­alise us. The nat­ur­al events of the past week have re­mind­ed me that the force of Moth­er Na­ture is ab­solute and even with all the con­ve­niences of mod­ern life, the im­pact can be dev­as­tat­ing. I am heart­ened to see how peo­ple have been com­ing to­geth­er to sup­port each oth­er dur­ing this cri­sis.

It of­ten takes a tragedy to gain true per­spec­tive. Den­nis Lawrence led the charge on the week­end to bring to­geth­er a group of pow­er­ful, self­less in­di­vid­u­als who have served sport in the coun­try, to find some means of gath­er­ing all the sup­port pos­si­ble to as­sist the flood vic­tims. Let’s be bru­tal­ly hon­est here, I for one, and I am sure some of you out there, com­ing from the en­vi­ron­ment here in T&T in re­cent his­to­ry, have had times when per­son­al­ly it felt that re­al good­ness is noth­ing but a mere façade, a mask be­hind which op­por­tunist souls are plot­ting to pound on you. But fol­low­ing a mere five days of putting minds and hearts to­geth­er and the stag­ing of “Foot­ball for a Cause” on Fri­day night, I have re­newed hope. While as a na­tion we may be em­broiled in all kinds of neg­a­tiv­i­ty, re­cov­ery from which seems an oner­ous task, that does not ne­ces­si­tate that there is a dearth of God-fear­ing, hum­ble souls in the land of the pure. There are still peo­ple out there who are ren­der­ing vol­un­teer ser­vices, mak­ing it a point to serve hu­man­i­ty, charg­ing noth­ing in re­turn.

To the count­less cit­i­zens who turned up at the Hase­ly Craw­ford Sta­di­um in Mu­cu­rapo just to drop off re­lief items be­fore go­ing about the rest of their evening’s sched­ule, we ex­tend a heart­felt thank you. And to those who re­mained with us to wit­ness the foot­ball match filled with spir­it, ca­ma­raderie and love, you have demon­strat­ed where your heart is. All the play­ers from the Strike Squad era, the 2006 World Cup squad mem­bers and the ath­letes from the var­i­ous sport­ing dis­ci­plines who walked out on­to the pitch to form the love cir­cle be­fore kick off, you all were sim­ply be­ing hu­man in the best pos­si­ble way—by com­ing to­geth­er for a no­ble cause to try and im­prove the cur­rent state of af­fairs for so many we may not even know in our coun­try.

"I think we all came to­geth­er for a greater cause. The con­tri­bu­tions made tonight are all for the flood vic­tims and I think we scored a vic­to­ry tonight as one peo­ple com­ing to­geth­er for such an event. This was us giv­ing back to the peo­ple af­fect­ed who have been there sup­port­ing us ath­letes over the years," Lawrence said.

It was spe­cial to see 1989 Strike squad team­mates such as Rus­sell Lat­apy, Hut­son Charles, Leon­son Lewis, Ker­ry Jamer­son, Michael Mau­rice, Floyd Lawrence and Mar­vin Faustin on the pitch to­geth­er again. Then the likes of Lawrence, Brent San­cho, Stern John, Ken­wyne Jones, Cyd Gray An­tho­ny Wolfe and Clay­ton Ince from the '06 squad, not to for­get Arnold Dwari­ka, An­gus Eve, An­sil El­cock, Clint Mar­celle, Gary Glas­gow and John who at one point were putting on a dis­play in the fi­nal pe­ri­od so rem­i­nis­cent of when they played to­geth­er more than a decade ago.

Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith's cameo was en­cour­ag­ing and well re­ceived by the fans while the likes of na­tion­al bas­ket­baller Jef­frey Har­ris, crick­eters Kevon Coop­er and Di­nanath Ram­nar­ine, for­mer goal­keep­er Ross Rus­sell, na­tion­al in­door hock­ey cap­tain Solomon Ec­cles and team­mates, Rug­by play­er As­san Lewis, women foot­ballers led by Tasha St Louis, Women's crick­eter Staci-Ann King, Net­baller Sue-ann Cord­ner and a host of oth­ers all put on an en­joy­able show. De­Fos­to, Anslem Dou­glas, Isas­ha, Pred­dy, Laven­tille Rhythm Sec­tion and Max­imus Dan and Ul­ti­mate Re­jects all kept the evening abuzz with en­ter­tain­ment while the many vol­un­teers and ser­vice providers en­sured the pro­ceed­ings flowed. To cor­po­rate T&T who joined us at late no­tice and the many mem­bers of the lo­cal me­dia, your gen­eros­i­ty and con­sis­tent sup­port were had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact.

This char­i­ta­ble event could now be­come an an­nu­al one with the pri­ma­ry ob­jec­tives of an an­nu­al cam­paign be­ing to ac­quire, re­new and up­grade donors, con­tin­ue rais­ing aware­ness and cul­ti­va­tion. There are al­ways peo­ple in need more than we can pos­si­bly imag­ine.

There is a long road to re­cov­ery ahead, but I am in­spired by the heart, com­pas­sion, and grit dis­played by all us I am con­fi­dent that we can be­come stronger than we were be­fore. It needs to be du­ly re­alised that a pro­jec­tion of such hum­ble so­cial en­deav­ours such as Fri­day’s match host­ed by Den­nis and Friends needs to be ren­dered for they are the pos­i­tive shades that or­na­ment the face of Trinidad and To­ba­go, man­i­fest­ing the preva­lence of hu­man­i­ty in the hearts and minds of Trin­bag­o­ni­ans.