Several members of domestic table tennis clubs have issued a letter to Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe calling for the immediate disbanding of the Trinidad and Tobago Table Tennis Association (TTTA) executive.
The document was sent to the minister, on Tuesday, and outlined a series of administrative discrepancies within the fraternity.
It was signed off by the association’s immediate past president Ian Joseph, incoming Central Zone chairman Reeza Ali, Ronald Williams (Arima Table Tennis Club), Vishnu Gokool (Cunupia Crew), Everton Sorzano (D’Abadie Youths), Isa Mohammed (Servivors), Dave Ramoutar (Warrenville United), Curtis Humphreys (WASA) and Kenneth Parmanand (Hillview Renegades).
The letter states that a virtual Special General Meeting (SGM) was held on February 28 and legitimised virtually. The undersigned considers this action “illegal and wish to have this meeting nullified”.
It added that a new TTTTA constitution was passed and implemented without proper consultation with the membership.
“This process in introducing the new constitution was not transparent, with many of the articles and clauses not supported by the general membership. The voices of the affiliates were not heard.”
Additionally, the clubs said the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) was scheduled to be held on February 28, but was not. Therefore, they claim that the current TTTTA executive’s tenure has not expired.
“Since the body was not informed of any extenuating circumstances, we strongly believe that this body ought not to continue holding office,” the letter read.
The upset club members also highlighted that the TTTTA executive committee has not presented the management committee, and by extension the general table tennis membership, with proper financial statements for their entire two-year term.
Meanwhile, they believe that national athletes “have been left in the cold by the TTTTA’s lack of vision and leadership”.
The irate members claim that covid19 was used as an excuse for no national training and no tournament activity, “in spite of the opportunities for national team training and non-contact sport activity in recent months”.
To strengthen their case, the unsettled bunch of players/officials sought to bring to the forefront some alarming situations that occurred under the current stewardship.
They also claim that TTTTA past president Ian Joseph, was silence at the virtual SGM “because he dared to challenge the legality of the said meeting”.
The letter continued, “TTTTA president David Joseph is also East Zone chairman, and opted to keep the longstanding clubs with the largest total membership in the zone out of the SGM process.
“Arima Table Tennis Club, Arima Hawks, D’Abadie Youths and Wasa Table Tennis Club did not have a vote at the SGM and were never formally informed of the meeting.
“Instead, ‘new clubs’ with personnel unfamiliar to the fraternity showed up to vote. This was a clear and deliberate act of voter padding.”
In this regard, the members feel disenfranchised through a lack of communication from the executive.
According to them, national players at senior and age-group levels who made personal sacrifices to train in spite of the pandemic are being ignored when opportunities come up for potential national representation. They believe TT is in danger of losing its most promising players.
“The needs of the players are not of paramount importance to the current executive…We are therefore requesting your (Cudjoe) urgent intervention to save the sport of table tennis.
“We have no confidence in the current administration. We recommend the disbanding of the TTTTA executive and appointment of an interim committee to ensure survival of the sport,” the letter concluded.
Spaces for the signatures of south zone chairman Anil Ramlakhan, outgoing central zone chairperson Linda Partap-Boodhan, clubs Couva United, Oxford, PowerGen, TSTT and Solo Crusaders remained blank.
Newsday contacted three TTTTA executive members – David Joseph (president), Leon Elliott (vice-president) and Edwin Caines (secretary) – for a reaction on their members approaching the sports minister. The trio provided similar responses.
Joseph said, “I’m in the middle of doing something very important right now. I don’t want to comment on that because I’m not dealing with that right now. I don’t know where you got that from. I’m really not sure about that. I can’t say anything about that.
“It’s a matter I cannot discuss, management has to deal with that, not me. I’d prefer to not deal with that right now. I don’t know how long I’d take to finish what I’m doing right now.”
Elliott added, “The president (Joseph) did tell me that a letter did come to the association. I am not privy to the association’s emails so I don’t have a copy of the letter.
“But he did tell me that some members of the fraternity wrote to the Minister and they copied (carbon) the association via the email. I haven’t seen the document.”
Caines’ response was, “I saw the letter but I’m not in a position to comment on it.”