Browne: Public education coming for groups travelling overseas

Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne - File photo
Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne - File photo

FOREIGN and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne says the ministry will soon undertake a public campaign to advise groups seeking to travel abroad to engage in different types of activities.

Browne made these comments after a group of 100 children and 55 adults associated with the Jaric Titans Sports Development Club in Tobago were unable to pay for their accommodation when they went to Manchester, England to participate in the Manchester International Easter Football Cup.

The tournament ran from March 29-31. The group is expected to return to Tobago sometime this week.

In a statement issued on March 31, Browne said, “Whilst many of our citizens at home and abroad are working hard every day to uplift the image of our beautiful nation, there are some who go out of their way to tarnish the national profile, either willfully or due to sheer negligence.”

He added, “We have seen a pattern emerging of large groups that venture overseas in the absence of proper planning and confirmed arrangements.”

Browne said against his background he has instructed that “a public advisory campaign be prepared and issued to provide additional guidance for groups that would contemplate such manoeuvres in the future.”

In a video posted on Facebook on March 27, Jaric Titans coach Brian Browne explained the predicament.

He said, “I’m here to make an appeal to you, the public, for assistance. We’ve been planning this trip to England for such a long time and at the last minute, some plans and some commitments that were made fell through.

“We did come to England because we didn’t want to disappoint the boys that were training and preparing. They were excited to come, so we didn’t want to disappoint them.”

Browne said the flights had already been booked and the club “took a leap of faith” by going to Manchester without having their accommodation sorted out.

During their stay, the group moved from one hotel to another. Browne said this was possible with the help of the tournament’s organisers, EuroWorld Sports. Browne was unavailable for comment on April 1.

In a post on its Go-FundMe page, the club said it ended the tournament with impressive and strong finishes.

The club thanked everyone who contributed to the fund to help its contingent stay in England and complete the tournament. The club said it raised £6,595 of the £60,000 goal it aimed to raise and these funds will be placed in its bank account in due course.

On March 31, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Farley Augustine expressed concern about this matter.

He identified it as the trend of Tobago groups leaving these shores on private trips without the required funding and then going online to beg for assistance.

Augustine said the THA will be forced to make tough decisions in the future to put an end to this practice.

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