Tobago House of Assembly (THA) assistant secretary for community development, youth development and sport Wane Clarke has questioned why the island’s netball coach Kyla Keith is asking the public for money for 11 netballers to travel to Trinidad this weekend for national trials.
Clarke claimed he met with Keith last Friday and it was agreed that the group of six under-16 and five under-18 netballers would pay their way and be reimbursed by the THA when they returned to Tobago.
Clarke said he was shocked by Keith’s Facebook post, which said the “Tobago Netball League and coach can no longer afford to send the girls to Trinidad for training due to financial constraints."
The post added that the U-16 girls must attend training in Trinidad, from Friday to Sunday, “since the final squad would be selected and our girls have been representing well and are in good standings of making the cut.”
It also outlined an average cost of $425 (without meals) for each player to make the trip. The costs, according to the post, are for inter-island ferry tickets ($150), ground transportation ($125) and accommodation ($150).
Clarke said, “We had a good conversation with the coach (Keith) on Friday, where the assurance was given that if you all use your resources, that you will be refunded. The THA accounts department asked (them) to submit the original documents. That was never done.
“There’s a set policy that if someone is attending national trials, the arrangement is once they’re on trials, the THA is responsible. If they are national players, the national body is responsible for getting them to and from training or whatever it is.
“In the past, a lot of people are just taking up people and saying they’re carrying them to Trinidad for tryouts. All we are asking is that if you got called up for national trials it means you would have been called up by the coach, who is employed by the national body.
“Upon getting that invitation we are asking that people just forward the letter to us so we will know it’s something legitimate.”
“This process was never done and I was still willing to work with them to cover the expenses. But it seems that some people believe that by running on Facebook and doing whatever, is the best way out.”
Clarke said Tobago does not have an official netball league but did not want to be “difficult” to ask what basis these players were selected on, to go on national trials.
He added that the team’s request for funds was submitted late and the “government process is not as fast as you would like it to be.”
He added, “There are little rules to follow. I understand that the days are up on you. You said you have resources that you could use. I said go ahead and I’m making a commitment to you to refund everyone, so go ahead and do it.
“It was a little surprising to me to see this today. People come at you from all angles. I have nothing to hide but you will never be in favour of everybody.”
When Newsday contacted Keith, she did not want to comment on the matter and said her main focus was to get the funds for the players to travel to Trinidad.
Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe shared Keith's Facebook post and said, "I think what I love most about you guys is that ain’t nobody tagging the THA secretary for sports. #ahloveallyuh. Nothing sweeter than Tobagonian. The real question here should be, Was a formal request made for funding from the THA or elsewhere?”