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Wickham sets ASATT record straight

Monday, March 19, 2018
Jason Wicvkham ASATT Public Relations Officer

Over the past few weeks the parents of swimmers who have been selected to represent T&T at the March 31 to April 5 Carifta Swimming Championships in Jamaica have been raising questions about the cost for their children to represent this country at the event.

ASATT has selected 25 swimmers and seven technical staff officials for the swimming competition.

Questioned yesterday about the concerns raised by the parents, Jason Wickham, the public relation officer (PRO) of the Amateur Swimming Association of T&T (ASATT), said the cost for each athlete was $9,000 (TT) which is inclusive of meals, air and ground transportion, uniforms, and a contingency fee.

Wickham, who was on the executive from 2006-2011, before returning in 2016 when he was elected to serve in the same position, said “The $9,000.00 contribution is for each swimmer and it is derived from the budget expenses estimated at $425,000.”

In 2016 there were similar concerns raised by parents for the trip to the Bahamas in which it cost each swimmer $16,000, plus each parent was asked to contribute $3,500. This year, however, the overall cost per swimmer is $13,000 of which each parent will pay $9,000, while the $2,900 represents excess for other charges after paying airfare.

Wickham, the 2006 Goodwill Team manager, said the Sports Company (sporTT) has agreed to finance the accommodation cost for the entire contingent while the ASAT&T will finance the insurance and entry fees for each athletes and official. He said, “ASATT do understand that times are hard for everyone, me too, but we just do not have the funds required as an organisation to fully sponsor each athlete while it is our desire. However, we are continuing to make efforts to reduce the burden on parents.”

Wickham made the following points:

1. Since I have been in the Amateur Swimming Association of T&T, the cost for teams are quantified in the budget. The estimated budget ($425,000) inclusive of officials is divided amongst the swimmers on the team.

2. To my knowledge, except in the case of UANA this year where this was a new meet and not really budgeted for, officials do not make a financial contribution. This is not a new phenomenon.

3. This is the first time in years that parents have received a detailed budget with all line items. Persons asked “what the $2,900 was for." The budget was then further amended to provide more clarity, and in fact, a parent even messaged me privately saying that they understood. This revised budget was sent on Tuesday (March 13, 2018) evening. Just because the "source who spoke to the Guardian Media Sports" did not understand the budget, does not mean that something is wrong with it.

4. To date, ASATT does not have a confirmed allocation from SPORTT for the year and will work with them on a meet-by-meet basis to get the maximum we can get from them for a given meet

5. ASATT's contingent of officials is based on the stipulations given in the meet summons. We did not arbitrarily come up with the number of officials and did not go with any extra due to the financial implications of same.

6. ASATT is still reeling from CCCAN 2017 with some bills still unpaid.

7. ASATT, to date, has not been very successful with fundraising. In 2017 much of our time was focused on CCCAN. Additionally, our 2nd vice president (Chantal Ross-Thomas, who resigned due to increased work commitments) was charged with this responsibility and had started the ball a rolling, resigned in early 2017 and the vacancy has not yet been filled.

8. ASATT as an organisation needs to be restructured and, to date, our by-laws are yet to be incorporated as the participation in sessions on same has been poor. Until a true partnership happens among all stakeholders, funding problems will remain inherent in the association.


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