Sports Company sets May 3rd deadline for TTGF report

Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 20:00

The Sports Company has given the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastic Federation until May 3rd to produce a report on the funding of recent activities that led to Marissa Dick being chosen to represent this country in the Rio Olympics.

The Sports Company says it did not approved funding for Dick's participation in the Rio Test Event.

The following is a statement the Sports Company:

"The Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) is the state agency that provides funding for the activities of the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation and has noted the several media reports and public concern surrounding the Gymnastics Federation and seeks to provide the public with clarity on how funding is disbursed to this National Governing Body (NGB). 

The procedure has been to not pay money directly to the NGB but rather to pay the supplier or service provider on behalf of the sporting body. 

The only occasions that funds are released directly to the Governing body is for per diem (per diem amount granted is based on the call circular from the Ministry of Finance outlining specified amounts for specific countries or territories) for athletes, coaches and other officials at approved overseas competitions and tournaments and for accommodation only in the instance where a wire transfer to the hotel or guest house is not feasible. 

Even then, a pro forma invoice or quotation is used to determine the amounts released and the NGB is still required to provide an actual invoice as part of the trip report on their return to Trinidad and Tobago. 

For Financial Year 2016, $271,805TT has been expended by the Sports Company on the activities of the TTGF all of which have been focused on preparation and tournaments of the two elite level athletes (Thema Williams and Marissa Dick) under the purview of the Federation.  

This includes  $93,195.28 for Thema Williams and Marissa Dick and their technical teams to attend the World Gymnastics Championship in Glasgow, Scotland, where Trinidad and Tobago’s spot was secured for the recently concluded Olympic test event in Rio. 

$58,196.76 was spent for Gymnast Thema Williams, her coach John Geddert and massage therapist Nicole Fuentes to participate the Olympic Test Event in Rio. 

No funds were disbursed from the Sports Company for neither Marisa Dick nor Ricardo Lue Shue to attend the Olympic Test Event. 

SPORTT has a responsibility to account for state funds and therefore the company has written to the president of the TTGF; David Marquez reminding him that in keeping with SPORTT’s NGB funding policy a comprehensive report on Trinidad and Tobago’s participation at the Rio Test Event must be submitted by the Federation to the company within fifteen days of the event’s conclusion. 

The Federation therefore has a May 3rd 2016 deadline to present a full and detailed official account of all events that transpired in relation to this Olympic test event that has now become matter of national interest. 

It should be noted that the Honourable Darryl Smith, Minister of Sport in various radio interviews and at a press conference on Monday April 18th, indicated that the Ministry and SPORTT (under whose purview the TTGF resides) must follow proper process and ensure that all the relevant facts and data are reviewed and analysed so that informed decisions can be made with respect to funding and other areas of support. 

He also once again indicated that state officials and agencies cannot influence the selection of an athlete neither the appointment nor removal of the Boards of Sporting Bodies which are independent sporting entities whose autonomy is sacrosanct under the Olympic Charter and general principles of sports law. 

The Sports Company is currently following its established procedures and protocols with respect to this particular issue. 

The company along with the Ministry is also conducting a comprehensive review of all the funding and other support policies with a view to determining where gaps and anomalies exist within the various procedures and systems that may have hampered governance processes over the past few years.  

This is all being done to ensure more effective accountability, transparency and an overall more robust governance structure in both state entities."