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Friday 24 May 2019
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TTFA red card for Look Loy?

Outspoken Board member’s appointment queried

FLASHBACK : In this March 20 file photo, Super League president Keith Look Loy, left, and his attorney Matthew Gayle chat at the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, after he scored a victory against the TT Football Association. PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI
FLASHBACK : In this March 20 file photo, Super League president Keith Look Loy, left, and his attorney Matthew Gayle chat at the Hall of Justice, Port of Spain, after he scored a victory against the TT Football Association. PHOTO BY SUREASH CHOLAI

INSTEAD of seeking ways to fix its debt crisis, as requested by Fifa and Concacaf officials in a recent visit, the TT Football Association (TTFA) will discuss the legitimacy of outspoken member Keith Look Loy's appointment to the board of directors in 2017, at a board meeting on Wednesday.

Newsday received a copy of an email of the agenda of the meeting. It showed recently appointed TTFA general secretary Camara David tabling "Board Appointment Issue" as item number two.

However, there has already been major push back from several other board members and ordinary members, who have questioned the president and general secretary's motives, especially as there are current and potentially crippling issues plaguing the association, including its mounting debts, the bank accounts ordered frozen by the courts, the lack of activity by several national football teams, non-payment of salaries, among others.

David informed Look Loy of the query on Saturday, saying the issue arose because of his receipt of legal advice, sought from attorney and former chairman of the constitution committee, Elton Prescott SC, after an enquiry was made by a member, Mike Awai.

Awai wrote to TTFA members in February, citing article 24.3 of the TTFA constitution, which he said indicated that a quorum was required for Look Loy's election.

It states: “A quorum is not required for the second meeting of the General Meeting unless any item on the Agenda proposed the amendment of the constitution, the election of a member of the Board of Directors, the dismissal of a member of a body of the TTFA, the expulsion of a Member or the dissolution of the TTFA.”

David subsequently wrote Prescott for advice, to which Prescott responded, "It appears to me that the cited passage from Article 24 of the constitution of the TTFA makes it obligatory that a quorum is required at a reconvened meeting which includes on the agenda, the election of members of the Board.

With this response, Camara wrote Look Loy with the legal opinion attached and said he would be required to respond by Wednesday's board meeting.

That e-mail was shared with the board and other members, several of whom quickly responded with questions of their own to the general secretary and president David John-Williams.

They included Sharon Warrick and Joseph Taylor, as well as ordinary member Clynt Tayor, who said the move appears to be part of an effort to muzzle Look Loy, a most vocal critic of John-Williams' style of leadership.

Look Loy recently won a lawsuit against the organisation for access to documents pertaining to the Home of Football project in Couva, including contracts and the list of contractors connected to the project – information which John-Williams, for months, refused to release to his own board.

Incidentally, when FIFA and Concacaf officials visited TT last week, they requested TTFA's board of directors offer solutions to address the body's debt.

Look Loy gave the visiting contingent a three-part proposal. The first part he said would require the immediate resignation of John-Williams and vice-president Ewing Davis, so that the football body can once again begin speaking to creditors.

"(There are creditors) who will talk, but not to them (John-Williams and Davis),” Look Loy told the officials.

Look Loy also told the visiting officials that an interim president should be appointed on Wednesday, an election called within 60 days, and a forensic audit be conducted into all TTFA finances, including the Home of Football and income generation project.

The proposal was supported by Central Football Association’s Colin Partap, Northern Football Association’s Rayshawn Mars and Women’s League representative Sharon Warrick.

Up until press time, four board members and one ordinary member have responded by email, questioning the motive behind the agenda.

"I hope this is an attempt to openly deal with the issues plaguing the TTFA and seek a solution whiles (sic) obeying the Court order, rather than an attempt to silence board members like Mr Look Loy," wrote Clynt Taylor, Central Football Association general secretary and an ordinary member. "Keith is not the problem, so let's look for a solution. Any move to silence members rightfully seeking answers must be resisted."

Warrick responded with questions of her own.

"Some food for thought here: Is this an attack on Look Loy or what he is standing for?" Warrick asked.

"Why a year later this is an issue? If due diligence was the order of the day, then this issue would have been dealt with a long time ago."

But the most hard-hitting reply came from Joseph Taylor, head of TT Referees Association, who suggested that had Awai been interested in respect for the constitution and electoral procedures, he should have first sought legal advice on the legitimacy of the 2015 election, which saw John-Williams win the president's post.

"Is this again another attempt at distraction from the very important matters that face the TTFA at this time. The records/minutes of meetings from the induction of the TTSL and its representative to the Board of Directors and the subsequent changes to the Constitution would have dealt with this matter, and all was quite above board," Taylor wrote.

"I agree with the representative for Women's Football. Why now? Because there are several other decisions/things that can be queried constitutionally, starting with the elections in 2015, that I would ask Mr Awai to seek legal advice on and bring the findings back to the general membership for debate and voting on," Taylor wrote.

He also questioned why Look Loy's "appointment issue" would be important enough to precede all other matters which have direct implications on the future of football.

"The listing of this as the second item is quite alarming to me and others, as the matters of the financial status of the TTFA and the impromptu Thursday meeting (by Fifa and Concacaf officials) for me as a board member, about suggestions for ideas/plans to deal with the growing debt of the TTFA are more relevant and pressing.

"There were at least six members who called for an emergency board meeting to specifically deal with the financial situation after learning of the garnishing of the funds from the TTFA bank accounts.

"We got no response to the request. Where is the Finance Committee? On the agenda, we have listed the Emergency Committee. Why is this, I am now provoked to ask?

"Mr President and General Secretary, several board members also requested the inclusion of other matters on the agenda. Can I respectfully get a response to these requests and also for the umpteenth time, can I and others who have requested a later start time with reason get a definite response for the board meeting on Wednesday 24th April, 2019."

Before the issue of Look Loy's appointment began receiving attention, serious questions have been asked about the legitimacy of the entire TTFA presidency, dating back to the 2015 elections.

Former general secretary Phillips, who took the TTFA to court for wrongful dismissal, wrote a document, which said non-compliant members were allowed to participate in the election process. He also outlined a number of electoral code breaches which were ignored through the election process, which he said he feared would leave a dire and lasting impact.

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