ADULTS must always put the interests of children ahead of anything else, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy John McIntyre said yesterday.
“It should be like that all the time. When it comes to kids and sports, we the adults need to take responsibility for it and at the end of the day it’s about them, not about us,” McIntyre said in reference to the failure of the TT Football Association (TTFA) executive to apply in time for visas for members of the TT Under-15 girls team.
The failure to secure the visas meant that the Under-15 team could not represent the country at the Concacaf Girls U-15 football championships being held in Florida, USA.
Last week, in an unusually stern statement, McIntyre slammed misinformation by those with “cocoa in the sun” which sought to shift blame away from the TTFA for its failure to secure US visas for the team. After this release was issued, TTFA president David John-Williams demanded an apology from McIntyre and the US Embassy for “lies”.
In another twist, the TTFA on Saturday distanced itself from John-Williams’ comments and said it will be seeking an audience with McIntyre. McIntyre spoke yesterday at the Thailand Consulate in Belmont which held a thanksgiving ceremony for the recent rescue of 12 boys from a football team and their coach who were trapped for days deep inside a cave in Thailand. Hosted by Joan Wilson, Honorary Consul for The Kingdom of Thailand, the service was held to show appreciation for everyone who came together for the successful rescue for the 13 who spent more than two weeks trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Thai province of Chiang Rai.
A father of two young children, McIntyre said he too was “deeply worried” about the boys during their time in the cave and the daring rescue that followed.
“I have a six-year-old girl Emma and a three-year-old boy, Ian. I’m a very active parent so seeing this sort of scenario unfold, it pulls at you. For ten days we all held our breath as the search for the boys and their coach continued.
The human will to survive is amazing and the dedication of the rescuers to find the survivors who were strangers to them, is truly awesome and inspiring,” McIntyre said.
Thanking the diplomats who attended yesterday’s ceremony including McIntyre, British High Commissioner to TT Tim Stew and High Commissioner of Australia John Pilbeam, Wilson said the international assistance rendered to Thai authorities “is testimony to the remarkable strength of international friendship, co-operation and team work.
TT may not have sent experts to help but Wilson expressed her warmest gratitude to the government and people for their concern and prayers during the ordeal. “People from all walks of life were literally calling our consulate every day of the crisis with enquiries and loving, caring words,” Wilson said.