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Anil blanks T&TCB’s request for $760,000
The Ministry of Sport will not provide funding for T&T’s participation in the current Caribbean T-20 tournament, after a request was made by the T&T Cricket Board (T&TCB) to the tune of $760,000. At a news conference, called by Roberts at the Ministry of Sport Head Office on Abercromby St, yesterday, the minister said that given the T&TCB’s accounts which show $5.1 million in funds, and the lack of documentation to support acceptable budgeting “the T&TCB will not receive one cent of tax-payers’ money”. “The cricket board is sitting down on $5.1 million (as at) December 2011 and sends a request, early January to the Ministry, to these taxpayers, for $760,000 for the tournament that is going on now. Well let me say the T&TCB, due to all that I have said before, their (T&TCB’s) inability to provide documentation and budget in a meaningful broken-down fashion that makes sense to anybody above an 11-year-old, and the fact that they have $5.1 million of which some US$400,000 is in long term investments, the T&TCB will not receive one red cent of taxpayers’ money until such a time that the bulk of this $5.1 million that they are sitting down on are spent on the development of cricket. Until that documentation is provided, the T&TCB will not receive one more cent of the taxpayers money,” said a fiery Roberts.
Roberts used the press conference to respond to a letter written by President of the T&TCB Azim Bassarath, which implied that both Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard could not be selected for the provisional squad because they were already selected by their respective IPL clubs to participate in the NOKIA Champions League. Roberts asked: “If this letter was true, then why did the Mumbai Indian pay us for?” “If the T&TCB did not have the services of Keiron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, what Mumbai and Chennai paid for?” he questioned. “T&TCB received US$240,000 by the IPL clubs for the services of the two players. It is crystal clear by US$240,000 worth that the boys (Bravo and Pollard) could have played for T&T.” Roberts said the letter written by Basarath dated August 17, was a fabrication, which was intended to mislead the public, when he (Roberts) asked why Bravo and Pollard weren’t selected. Roberts also indicated that he is awaiting a response to allegations of a bias within the Ministry, made by the President of the National Association for Athletics Administrations- Ephraim Serrette, in a letter sent last year stating that “less than deserving persons have received funding from the ministry.” Serrette has since identified three persons: Moriba Morain and brothers Kishaun and Elton Walcott as those who deserve elite funding. Yet, according to Roberts, Serrette remains unable to identify those who are not deserving of elite funding.
Kishaun Walcott’s application for elite funding, according to Roberts was received on November 29, 2011, “27 days after the President of the NAAA accused the Ministry, the Minister, the public servants, everybody, of an impropriety. He could not be talking about this one (Kishaun Walcott).” Roberts explained that the Ministry was still waiting on Elton Walcott’s application for processing, while Moriba Morrain’s application reached after the financial year started, so he will be reviewed this year. “I also called on him to go through the list, which I will not go through again, which one of these track athletes, who is receiving elite funding, does not deserve? He has not responded,” said Roberts. “Dear sir, in order to sign the level service agreement 2011/2012, the organisation has to provide the following: Strategic plan, development plan, operational plan, and other personal documents. A review of the documents submitted by the NAAA reveals that the strategic plan 2011/2012 was missing. According to Roberts, “There was no comprehensive development plan. The operational plan was missing. The written plan did not match the powerpoint presentation submitted. (There were) missing reports (missing fourth quarter reports and Kids in Athletics report). They don’t have a Kids in Athletics programme,” blasted Roberts. Roberts yet again requested that the NAAA withdraw the accusations. He said since the seven days in which he called for a withdrawal, the legal department of the Ministry of Sport, is preparing a pre-action protocol letter if nothing happens quickly. “These are serious things!” Roberts blasted.
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