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Central FC’s Dwight Quintero, right, and W Connection’s Mikheil Williams battle for the ball during one of their meetings during last year’s Digicel T&T Pro League at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva. Photo: Anthony Harris
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On 5 February 2016, three days after former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team striker Dwight Quintero hobbled out of a W Connection training session following a rough tackle, he received official news of the damage.

Dr Sergiy Adonin, a specialist orthopaedic surgeon from the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic in St Clair, declared that the injury was serious and “likely to need surgery as soon as possible.” He recommended “urgent pre-operative on the right ankle” to determine the extent of the injury and “an orthotic device as soon as possible.”

“Please help to organise the aforementioned procedures on urgent basis,” stated Adonin.

Quintero’s attorney, Fulton Wilson, forwarded the information to W Connection chairman Renee John-Williams. His aunt, Tamara Fournillier, phoned Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier on several occasions—copies of her phone records were sent to Wired868—without success.

Annoyed, Quintero’s family paid to begin the medical procedures on the Connection employee.

On February 8, the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic presented an invoice to “Team Quintero” for the necessary medical procedures, which totalled TT$48,700. This was also forwarded to Connection.

Again, according to Team Quintero, there was no response.

On February 15, Renee responded via email and asked for a second opinion with a doctor of the club’s choice.

“I have been in receipt of the medical reports regarding Dwight Quintero,” stated Renee. “We have made arrangements for him to be assessed by Dr (Terence) Babwah on Thursday at 10.45 am at his clinic.

“Can you advise if this date and time works so that we can move forward with the necessary treatment?”

As Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) team doctor and with Renee’s father and ex-Connection chairman, David John-Williams, as TTFA president, Dr Terence Babwah’s role in this matter raises several questions.

Was he paid by Connection? Did he diagnose Quintero for free as a favour to the TTFA president?

Was the cost of the visit meant to be repaid in cash or kind by the local football body?

Wilson agreed to send Quintero to see Dr Babwah but aired his displeasure with Connection’s behaviour.

“You may or may not be aware that this, unfortunately, is the first kind of any communication made by anyone representing the Club with respect to our client’s very serious injury,” Wilson told Renee. “Our client indicated that no one from the Club took him for medical attention immediately after the injury was inflicted and that remains the case up until today, notwithstanding the fact that he is effectively immobile.”

Renee responded that she had discussed the matter with W Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier and assistant coach Earl Jean, although she got the time of the injury and Quintero’s trip to the hospital wrong. She said she had been on maternity leave.

“Earl did copy me on his response to you following receipt of your email however I have been out of office on maternity leave,” said Renee. “(…) Earl said that he did attempt to contact Dwight, however there was no answer.

“We would like for Dwight to have the necessary treatment done as early as possible to so that he can be back on the playing field… We will follow up with him as well as with the Dr after his appointment.”

On February 19, Wilson rebutted Renee’s suggestions.

“Mr Quintero’s aunt, Tamara Fournillier, called Mr Charles-Fervier on many occasions on (February) 3rd to provide him with an update with respect to Mr Quintero’s condition,” said Wilson. “However those calls went unanswered. The Club’s response to my client’s injury to date leaves a lot to be desired. The situation was aggravated by the inaccurate report provided to you by officials of the Club. It is most unfortunate.

“Our client says he received no calls from the officials from the Clubs. If calls were made from any Club official no messages were left.

“Please see the scanned version of the receipt with respect to a MRI taken by Mr Quintero and kindly make arrangement for the reimbursement of same.”

Renee, according to Wilson, did not respond to the MRI receipt or a follow-up email. Nor did she authorise reimbursement for Quintero’s expenses.

On February 25, Dr Babwah recommended surgery for Quintero.

“Due to the diastasis of the tibia and fibula he should see the orthopaedic surgeon again,” wrote Dr Babwah. “(He) may need a screw to hold bones together.”

Although Connection recommended Dr Babwah, it was Wilson who had to forward his diagnoses to Renee on February 25. Wilson asked for confirmation of receipt of the email but, again, there was no sign of a response.

On February 29, Quintero had a review consultation at the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic and was advised to undergo surgery by a third doctor, Dr Derrick Lousaing. He was advised that the Clinic’s foot and ankle surgeon would be in Trinidad from March 4 to 9 and he should operate then.

“It is my view because of his professional career, he requires an arthroscopy and syndesmotic assessment and possible distal tibiofibular joint stabilisation in order to return to sport at the highest level,” said Dr Lousaing. “(…) I have suggested, however, that our foot and ankle surgeon will be here from March 4 to March 19, 2016 and he should be seen by him…

“If there is concurrence on the same, then we will proceed with the arthroscopy and syndesmotic stabilisation on Wednesday March 9, 2016.”

Wilson emailed Renee again on the same day and, this time, copied Jean, Fevrier and the TTFA president.

“I am still awaiting an acknowledgment of receipt of my previous emails,” said Wilson. “Attached is the latest medical report concerning my client which is self-explanatory. Kindly let me know whether you are still on maternity leave.

“The Club’s response to my client’s serious injury has been extremely poor.”

On March 1, Renee responded to say the diagnosis was “duly noted” and that she was handing the matter over to her father and the TTFA president, John-Williams.

“Your correspondence has been received and its contents duly noted,” said Renee. “Yes, I am still on maternity leave. Mr David John-Williams will handle this matter going forward.”

It was 28 days after Quintero’s injury and three weeks since the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic recommended an “urgent” operation for the footballer.

Still, despite the dire warnings of the threat to Quintero’s future career, Connection apparently remain silent.

On March 8, the day before the operation, Wilson emailed John-Williams and urged him, on behalf of Connection, to take responsibility for the pending medical bill. He attached clause eight of Quintero’s contract for ease of reference.

Clause eight of Quintero’s contract with W Connection states: “Any incapacity or sickness shall be reported by the Player to the Club immediately and the Club shall keep a record of any incapacity.

“The Player shall submit promptly to such medical and dental examinations as the Club may reasonably require and shall undergo, at no expense to himself such treatment as may be prescribed by the medical or dental advisers of the Club in order to restore the Player to fitness.

“The Club shall arrange promptly such prescribed treatment and shall ensure that such treatment is undertaken and completed without expense to the player notwithstanding that this Agreement expires after such treatment has been prescribed.”

“Mr Williams, I have taken the liberty to forward this email sent to me by Tamara Fournillier, Mr Quintero’s aunt,” said Wilson. “I have also sent an extract of Mr Quintero’s contract for obvious reasons. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

“Kindly liaise with Dr Lousaing with respect to payment for the cost of the surgery as a matter of urgency. Thank you.”

The TTFA president responded via email just once and it was a knife to the heart of the player and his family.

“Dear Sir, unless we have a discussion about this matter we cannot accept responsibility for paying the proposed bill,” John-Williams told Quintero’s attorney. “There are a lot of grey areas to be clarify. I am prepared to meet as early as tomorrow to sort out the grey areas.”

Wilson said he could not meet on March 9, due to court appointments. Since then, he claimed to have tried unsuccessfully to get the TTFA president to explain what grey areas he referenced as a reason not to take care of the Connection player.

On more than one occasion, the two parties could not agree on a mutually acceptable time and place.

The last email from the club, shown to Wired868, was on March 14. Once more, Renee advised Quintero’s attorney that her father would represent Connection.

“Mr Wilson, Mr John-Williams is available to meet with you any time after 4 pm once your schedule permits,” stated Renee. “Kindly advise.”

Wilson replied that he was unavailable and unwilling to meet anywhere but in Port of Spain. And the communication trail went cold.

“The injury was sustained when he was working for W Connection,” said Wilson, “and the clause said ‘we will take care of all medical cases’. There is no question in my mind that they have breached their contract with the player…

“What are the grey areas when a player sustains an injury while with the club and needs medical attention? They are throwing red herrings.

“A player is injured, he needs treatment, it is your responsibility, sort him out! It is a very straightforward issue.”

John-Williams declined comment when asked why Connection was not footing Quintero’s medical bills and why he, as TTFA president, was representing the club on the matter.

Wilson sees no way but litigation for the matter now while Quintero’s family try to raise funds to get him the operation that should salvage his career.

Connection have paid Quintero’s salary in the interim. And, should the player recover from injury, he would be obliged to rejoin the club.

If Quintero tries to use their supposed breach of contract to free himself from the “Savonetta Boys”, his case would be heard by the Pro League and, potentially, the TTFA. John-Williams wields significant influence in both organisations while he also used the TTFA’s vote to ingratiate himself to the new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

“It is sadly disappointing that someone who is responsible for the running of Trinidad and Tobago football and the well-being of the country’s players,” said Quintero’s aunt, Nathalie Fournillier-Reyes, “can treat someone like this.”

Quintero, according to Fournillier-Reyes, was born to play football.

On 20 January 1994, she held her newborn nephew for the first time and named him after her then friend and Trinidad and Tobago football icon Dwight Yorke, who was an Aston Villa player at the time.

“(Quintero) was my mother’s first grandchild and, when I held him for the first time in the Port of Spain hospital, he literally dribbled a lot,” said Nathalie Fournillier-Reyes. “I used that figuratively to say he would be a great football player. I was a good friend of Dwight at the time and I named him after (Yorke).

“From the time (Quintero) started walking, he was always obsessed with football.”

Quintero’s favourite player as a boy was Russell Latapy. But he became a striker like his namesake.

“From as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a professional player,” said Quintero. “From since I was in Blanchisseuse Primary School.”

Quintero went to El Dorado East Secondary in 2006, just months after Yorke captained the Soca Warriors at the Germany World Cup. And, at just 12 years old, he chose his path.

His parents lived in Blanchisseuse and he would not be able to attend training or play games for the school team and still be able to get transport home. So, for every year during the football season, he moved in with aunt Tamara at her rented home in Arouca.

“It was either that or I didn’t play football,” said Quintero. “Transportation from Blanchisseuse was hard and it wouldn’t have worked out if I had stayed in Blanchisseuse.”

Remarkably, he broke into the El Dorado first team, which was essentially an under-20 outfit, at just 12 years old and while still a form one student. He played alongside future 2009 World Cup forward Jamal Gay in his maiden SSFL season.

By 15, Quintero was selected on the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team while, three years later, he advanced to the National Under-20 Team.

At 19 years old, he was considered such a hot commodity that Trinidad and Tobago’s record goal scorer, Stern John, offered to help him agree terms as Central successfully convinced him to sign his first professional contract.

Now, three years later, he is already trying save his career.

“This injury and the way everything is happening is my worst experience ever as a footballer,” Quintero told Wired868. “The clubs here always talk about players being professional. But when it is time for them to be professional…”

Fournillier-Reyes said Quintero’s family are extremely frustrated and disappointed.

“It is a serious injury being treated like a prick on the finger,” she said. “Mr John-Williams has not pursued it or made no arrangements whatsoever, even if he said he didn’t want to pay to do it at the clinic but could arrange for it to be done at the public hospital.

“The situation has not been addressed as a matter of urgency at all. It is almost as if they think they can just stay quiet and the whole thing will go away.”

At 9.24 am on Thursday March 24, roughly five hours after Wired868 revealed details of the conflict in Part One, Renee—rather than her father and the TTFA president—contacted Wilson via email.

And Team Quintero was shocked to hear that W Connection was suddenly pushing to have the player treated at a private institution. There was no mention of the “grey areas” that John-Williams referenced three weeks ago.

“Mr Wilson, the club has been working to have Dwight’s surgery scheduled with Orthopedic Surgeon Dr David Santana,” stated Renee, “who is available at 9 am next Tuesday 29th March at his clinic in St. Augustine—141 Eastern Main Road—Caribbean Body Sculpture Ltd.

“Dwight is required to fast from midnight. Dr Santana’s number is 6xx-xxxx and has requested to meet with Dwight this evening at 6 pm with his X-rays. Kindly confirm if Dwight will be attending.”

The email caused a desperate scramble by Quintero and his representatives. From his Blanchisseuse home, unable to walk unaided and without a vehicle, the Connection player had to find a taxi that would take him to St Augustine, wait and carry him back home.

The only driver willing to take the job offered him a price of TT$500.

Wilson advised his client not to pay just yet until he could confirm with Dr Santana. But it was an exercise in futility for the attorney while Quintero and his driver remained on standby in Blanchisseuse.

At 3.58 pm, Wilson emailed Renee again.

“I have attempted to contact the doctor on several occasions to see whether he can see Mr Quintero at a later time today,” stated Wilson. “(Your) email to me with respect to the arrangements was late. He is in Blanchisseuse and has to make arrangements for transport.

“I have advised (him) not to make the trip until the doctor contacts me. I left a voicemail message with the doctor and I am awaiting word from him.”

Renee responded at 5.02 pm.

“Mr Wilson, my email was sent at 9.12 am advising of the arrangements made with the Doctor,” said the Connection official. “I would hardly consider that late. It is now 5 pm.

“I do hope that Dwight keeps his appointment, keeping in mind that this is a long weekend.”

Wilson retorted at 5.23 pm:

“I am aware of when the email was sent. Mr Quintero lives in Blanchisseuse. He has to arrange transport. I have indicated to you that I have attempted to contact the doctor to no avail. I left a message on his phone…

“I cannot assume the doctor will be at the institution at the time Mr Quintero gets there. We don’t want to waste time bearing in mind that he is injured, is coming from Blanchisseuse and has been in pain since the injury occurred weeks ago. .

“You really ought to take the initiative and call the doctor as I cannot get through to him and confirm that he is at the institution and is still prepared to see Mr Quintero (who) has to use the aid of crutches to move around. I await word from you.”

As it turned out, Dr Santana was not available.

“I did attempt to contact the doctor when you mentioned difficulties in getting on to him and experienced the same,” said Renee, at 5.44 pm. “I have just been able to speak with him and he has advised that, on review of the MRI report, he would prefer to see Dwight on Tuesday morning for a proper assessment along with the MRI film at 10 am.

“He will not be available later this evening due to works being done on his office.”

Renee declined the opportunity to comment on the timeline for Quintero’s treatment and W Connection’s conduct in the affair.

“I will not comment on this matter,” said Renee.

And there the story ends for now.

With any luck, Quintero will finally have his operation sometime before the end of March. At the time of publication, it is 52 days since the former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 striker was injured at a W Connection training session on 2 February 2016.

And it is 49 days since Dr Adonin, a specialist orthopaedic surgeon from the Fracture & Orthopaedic Clinic in St Clair, advised that the former El Dorado East Secondary student had suffered “severe ligamentous injury to the right ankle.” and needed surgery “as soon as possible.”