Jomo Pitt, the Secretary of Sports and Youth Affairs at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), has called on legendary Trinidad and Tobago footballer Dwight Yorke to contribute to the state of sport in the sister isle.
On Thursday, Yorke, in a statement issued to the media, expressed his displeasure with Pitt’s response to a question posed to him at a THA session on November 23.
Pitt’s curt reply to a question by THA Minority Leader Watson Duke on the short term plan for improving the state of the Dwight Yorke Stadium created a stir.
Yorke, who was in Thailand along with FIFA president Gianni Infantino for the opening of the FA Thailand High Performance Training Centre, said in his statement, “I was shocked at (Pitt’s lack of) response and I am disappointed that it’s been allowed to get to this point where access to lights, and proper gym and track facilities are not readily available.”
Asked yesterday if he and/or the THA will be willing to meet with Yorke to deal with the improvement of the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Pitt replied, “We’ll be more interested in Dwight Yorke making a contribution to Tobago as opposed to facilities. We’re more interested in (enhancing) programmes and sports development as opposed to (improving) facilities – which has been sadly lacking from our international athletes, including Dwight Yorke.”
The THA sports secretary added, “I’m interested in sports development.
From what I (have) read, he’s in Thailand doing something for FIFA. If we could get that kind of similar commitment in Tobago, it’ll be much appreciated.”
About Yorke’s statement on Thursday, Pitt said, “It’s very unfortunate that Mr Yorke has voiced an opinion on something without getting the full gist of the story.”
Pitt noted, “It’s general knowledge that the Stadium does not fall under the ambit of the Assembly. It falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Sport.
“It’s quite unfortunate that he made those comments without having the information or contacting us to get the information,” Pitt added. “I’m disappointed in the statement that he made.”
Yorke also commented on the situation of Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder Akeem Stewart who has bemoaned the lack of adequate facilities to train in Tobago.
Pitt said, “We’ve provided some facilities at the gym because we’ve made short-term arrangements for our athletes in Tobago. The question (at the THA) was referring to the short-term plans for the refurbishment of the Stadium, which we really can’t do.
What we did is (provide) alternative arrangements for athletes to use other facilities, while the Dwight Yorke Stadium is being repaired, if and when it will be repaired.
“As it pertains to Akeem, like all our elite athletes, whether in Trinidad or Tobago (they) have to go overseas because of the resources, the coaching, things of that nature. Akeem wouldn’t be the first and I guess wouldn’t be the last to leave these shores,” Pitt said.