THE Secondary Schools Cricket League (SSCL) yesterday defended itself against allegations of a potential conflict of interest in the use of office space for the running of the SSCL. The SSCL also denied that they failed to provide audited financial statements to the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB).
Last week, president of the SSCL, Surujdath Mahabir, said politics was ruining the sport and called for new administrators to replace TTCB boss Azim Bassarath and National League representative Dinanath Ramnarine.
Bassarath and the National League representatives condemned Mahabir for his statement, noting Mahabir was part of the TTCB and can be blamed too for the state TT cricket is in.
Bassarath and the National League representatives said Mahabir should put his own house in order, alleging there was a conflict of interest in the renting of office space for the SSCL.
A press release from the National League representatives questioned the running of the SSCL, including what it said was a failure to provide audited financial statements to the TTCB.
The release said the SSCL continued “to defy Article 12 of the TTCB constitution which requires each affiliate to provide its constitution, audited financial statements, minutes of their AGMs etc.”
Mahabir declined comment yesterday, but said the treasurer and secretary would explain the details of the SSCL’s rental of office space and audited financial statements.
In response, treasurer of the SSCL Wesley Dookhoo said the SSCL has its financial statements available.
“That information that is circulating is incorrect. As the treasurer, we have our audited financial reports at our (SSCL) AGM every year. It is sent to our sponsors, which (are) PowerGen and Flow. We send our audited stuff to our sponsors every year. (It is) presented at the (SSCL) AGM and it is passed in every single AGM,” he said.
Dookhoo said the TTCB had also never asked for the SSCL’s financial statements.
“If the cricket board requests, it is presented, but they have never requested any audited financial reports from us. If they do, we present it any time they ask for it. But they never asked us for it. It is never a prerequisite at any time.”
He added, “The cricket board does not fund secondary schools cricket, secondary schools cricket is funded by corporate TT, so those are the ones who really ask for our audited financial reports.”
The National League representatives last week also queried the location of the SSCL office.
“If (the financial statements are) provided, such documentation would address a number of our concerns regarding the financial management of the Secondary Schools League, including matters of possible conflicts of interest in the rental of office space which would be of interest to its members, the TTCB, sponsors and the Ministry of Education,” the press release stated.
Addressing the issue of the office space, Dookhoo said, “It is a space that we rent out – not in a person’s home. It is outside of the property, it is a separate building.”
Dookhoo said the SSCL had tried to get office space at the TTCB office in Balmain, Couva, but was refused. “They said they don’t have space for us at all.”
He said the current office space was approved by the SSCL board.
“It is not a conflict of interest because we met as a body and we told them what it is and they said, ‘Fine, it is not an issue.’ It was sent out to the AGM and it was out there...this was approved by our AGM.”
On the payment of rent for the office space, Dookhoo said it is a contractual arrangement.