Sports Minister welcomes new TTFA President

Darryl Smith, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, has indicated his willingness to meet with newly-elected president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TT FA), David John-Williams, to discuss matters affecting the sporting body as well as future plans in which the TT FA may be embarking on, the Trinidad Newsday wrote.

During a telephone interview yesterday, Smith acknowledged, “we have been embarking on something for the first time. I’ve heard no Minister has done this.

We are consulting a meeting with all the (national) governing bodies.

We have reached 30. In that short time, to meet with 30 NGBs is pretty good. We’re trying to finish all before the year end.

“We’ve already met with the TT FA, with (former president Raymond) Tim Kee at the helm at that time,” he added. “Of course we’ll have to have another meeting with the new (Sports Company) Board that has been put in place. And that will be scheduled pretty soon, before year ends we’ll meet with them again.” Smith stated that he was impressed with John-Williams’ pre-election manifesto and is keen to hear the vision set out by the new TTFA boss.

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TTFA President David John Williams

For a number of years, the TT FA has had to go “cap in hand” to the Sports Ministry for funding. Asked if the TT FA will have to adhere to a budgetary plan, Smith responded, “the TT FA has had their challenges as we all know. I’m hoping that it’s something that could be expedited and fixed.

“Whatever their internal systems and organs, hopefully that (John)-Williams and his new team could fix that because it’s a lot of last-minute requests that we’ve been getting.”

The Sports Minister noted, “just a case in point with the women team that are leaving this week. We got that paperwork in on Saturday (and) they’re leaving (today) which is it’s absurd. We’re really trying to not let the athletes and the country on a whole be held back.”

The Minister emphasised, “at the end of the day, it’s an end to all means and we’re working with a budget. We’re working with the Ministry of Finance. It’s not like we have this money sitting on a safe. We have to also account to the Ministry of Finance and request funds. “So I’m optimistic, I’m a positive person and I’m hoping that (John)-Williams could rectify and fix these systems inside of the TT FA, so that the organisation can move forward positively.”

The Sports Minister also touched on the elections on Sunday, which took place at the VIP Lounge of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. “I’m happy that the democratic process went through without any hiccups,” said Smith.

“I wish him all the best in his new portfolio in the future.

“It’s a very important year with regards to where the (national men’s team are) now and how well they’re doing under coach (Stephen) Hart,” he added. “I think he will do a good job.

“He has my full support and the Ministry’s full support in whatever capacity we can assist. We’ll try our best to do that.”