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TTABA to sue TTBBC, Ministry of Sport
President of the T&T Amateur Boxing Association (TTABA) Cecil Forde says the T&T Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC) and the Ministry of Sport can expect a lawsuit after a two-week period if they do not address concerns raised in a pre-action protocol letter dealing with the non-payment of stipends to coaches and others for nearly two years between 2011 and 2013.
The letter will be delivered today and the TTABA and the other concerned parties are receiving legal representation from Annabelle Davis, a practicing lawyer and former chairman of the TTBBC.
Forde and several coaches, who worked with the TTABA, staged a press conference yesterday at a boxing gym in South East Port-of-Spain Secondary School, Piccadilly Street, during which they announced their plan to executive legal proceedings if the requests made within the protocol letter are not met.
Forde has claimed that he, some 42 coaches, other managers, coordinators, staff and even a guest house in Marabella, which housed boxers for a preparation camp for the 2012 Olympic Games, are owed money amounting to $2.3 million.
He said all funds owed to the coaches and others were for a period beginning in 2011 when the TTABA’s funding was channelled through TTBBC. Following the 2010 general election, former Minister of Sport Anil Roberts implemented a merger between the two boxing bodies, which meant that the amateur board would no longer receive funding directly from the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT), but would do so indirectly by the ministry through the TTBBC.
The amateur body subsequently returned under SporTT and while funding has been regulated again, Forde said the TTBBC and ultimately the ministry remain responsible for arrears.
“They (coaches) are frustrated. They’re all saying that this is craziness,” Forde remarked yesterday. He compared the “meagre $1,500 stipends” to the salaries of coaches in other sports “who are earning $20-$25,000 and more being paid by the ministry”.
“After the new government came into office, the board (TTBBC) went from an allocation of $10,000 to $1.5 million and then to $4.9 million,” Forde said alluding to the fact that the TTBBC, which was previously only intended to sanction boxing cards, began receiving money which would have gone towards the development of boxing and other areas controlled by the TTABA. Yet, he says, the amateur body saw very little of it.
Forde said he met with former sport ministers Roberts and Rupert Griffith and met with current minister Brent Sancho at least twice. He said Sancho did show concern but has not made any attempt to offer redress to any of the parties. One of the coaches owed is 65-year-old former WBA World and Commonwealth Lightweight title holder, Claude Noel, who is now blind.
Forde claims that a separate arrangement was made by the ministry to pay Noel $5,000 monthly, through the TTBBC. However, he claims “only two or three payments were made”. He says all paperwork was in place for the dozens of claimants to proceed with legal action.
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