British citizen Kevin Harrison who co-owned (SIS) Central FC football club with Sport Minister Brent Sancho is now Sancho’s adviser.
This was confirmed by the ministry and Harrison yesterday.
Sancho was appointed on February 2 to replace Rupert Griffith. The latter replaced former minister Anil Roberts, who resigned last year amid the Life Sport furore and corruption allegations concerning that programme. It is under probe by police, the Integrity Commission and other authorities.
Central Football Club, “The Sharks”, is a T&T professional football club.
It was founded in 2012 by Sancho and is based in California, Couva. It plays in the TT Pro League.
After the club’s first season, it built a reputation in bringing football in community events, having completed over 12 projects and had reportedly struggled over the years.
In September 2013 the club received sponsorship from Couva-based Super Industrial Services (SIS)
Harrison joined the team in 2013 as operations director. After Sancho was appointed, Harrison was reported to have taken over as managing director of CFC since Sancho, as minister, had to separate himself from the club.
He was quoted in news reports that the changes would not negatively affect the club and that Sancho would not be involved in the club.
At that time Harrison was quoted as saying while it was a good move for Sancho “politically, it was not the best time to take the position with all the controversy that’s going on.”
He said yesterday the ministry had an allocation for the post of adviser and secretary.
He said the secretary was under contract and he also had a short-term—about three months—contract and was “just a civilian paid by the ministry” but gets no public service benefits like gratuities or such. He said the contract may be extended depending on when the general election was held and Parliament dissolves.
Harrison said he remained CFC’s operations manager and was also continuing the managing director duties. He said he would be able to manage all portfolios since the ministry stint was short term.
He said he would steer clear of any situation where conflict of interest could arise and would recuse himself or step away if confronted with that.
Harrison said he understood fully there could not be one rule for some people and another rule for others and that the only way the situation might be abused was if CFC got more than others.
He said that would not occur. “All clubs would be treated alike and no preferential treatment would be given,” he added.
Harrison said CFC, which qualified for the Carib Cup Championships on Wednesday night, had applied to the ministry for assistance since last October, well before Sancho was appointed minister. Efforts to contact Sancho yesterday were futile.
Formerly from the UK, Harrison, 52, lives in central Trinidad. His business career includes real estate and giving financial advice to footballers from several leagues.
After the 2006 World Cup, he was reportedly approached by Sancho, Kelvin Jack and Ian Cox, who asked for his help with a dispute over bonus payments to the squad.
After visiting the region to deal with legal action, he reportedly declined a TT Pro League offer but later helped negotiate a sponsorship arrangement between DirecTV and North East Stars FC, where Sancho was CEO and subsequently both established CFC.