Shabazz: Football's opposition politics, bitterly obstructive.

John-Williams is not Moses but he is cer­tain­ly not the shai­tan

On No­vem­ber 24 the T&T Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (TTFA) held its hat the An­nu­al Gen­er­al Meet­ing (AGM) at the UWI Fac­ul­ty Lounge -The Fac­ul­ty of So­cial Sci­ences, UWI, St Au­gus­tine but af­ter on­ly reach­ing nine items on the agen­da the meet­ing was ad­journed to Sun­day 9 De­cem­ber 2018 at 10:00 am.

Nine items on the agen­da were com­plet­ed, name­ly:

* Roll Call

* De­c­la­ra­tion that the An­nu­al Gen­er­al Meet­ing has been con­vened and com­posed in com­pli­ance with the Con­sti­tu­tion.

* Ap­proval of the Agen­da.

* Ad­dress by the Pres­i­dent David John-Williams.

* Ap­point­ment of del­e­gates to check the min­utes.

* Ap­point­ment of scru­ti­neers (for the Pres­i­dent’s Ad­dress)

* Sus­pen­sion of ex­plo­sion of mem­bers (Noth­ing for Dis­cus­sion).

* Au­dit re­port pre­sent­ed by Au­di­tor and ap­proved by the Gen­er­al Mem­ber­ship

* Elec­tion of the Mem­bers of the Board of Di­rec­tors (Rayshawn Mars [North­ern FA), Ban­dele Ka­mau [East­ern FA], Col­in Par­tap [Cen­tral FA], Sharon War­rick [WOLF] and Ju­lia Bap­tiste [TT Pro League].

Out­stand­ing items for the re­con­vened meet­ing are as fol­lows:

* Mo­tion of No Con­fi­dence in the Pres­i­dent

* Ap­proval of the fi­nan­cial state­ments for 2017

* Ap­proval of the 2019 Bud­get

* Pro­posed amend­ment to the Con­si­tu­tion

* Busi­ness aris­ing from the Ap­proval of the min­utes of the pre­ced­ing gen­er­al meet­ings (In­com­plete as the meet­ing was ad­journed dur­ing this process.

* Oth­er Busi­ness

Fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the first half of the meet­ing, Guardian Sports spoke to the for­mer na­tion­al coach and gen­er­al coun­cil mem­ber of the TTFA Ja­mal Shabazz about his views on the meet­ing. He de­clared to us, "That in my ef­forts to be trans­par­ent, I must de­clare be­fore an­swer­ing any ques­tion in this in­ter­view that I am a friend of David John-Williams and I cam­paigned for his slate in the 2015 TTFA elec­tion.

Q. What was your gen­er­al sum­ma­riza­tion of last Sat­ur­day's TTFA AGM?

Any ex­er­cise that al­lows the stake­hold­ers in our foot­ball to meet and dis­cuss is wel­comed by me. At times the meet­ing was bru­tal but it's bet­ter we bat­tle our dif­fer­ences in one room than wash foot­ball's dirty linen in pub­lic.

The dif­fer­ence of opin­ions is healthy I ac­tu­al­ly learn a lot from the process.

Q. Is Pres­i­dent David John-Williams work­ing for foot­ball or for David John-Williams from what you have seen from the ad­min­is­tra­tion since he be­cause of Pres­i­dent?

Pres­i­dent David John Williams has made gen­uine ef­forts to take foot­ball for­ward and I will bring ex­am­ples. But our cul­ture in or­ga­ni­za­tions have been to rock back and let a sav­iour do all the work, then when they start be­com­ing uni­lat­er­al in their de­ci­sion mak­ing we then try to cru­ci­fy the sav­iour.

This ad­min­is­tra­tion has been the first in our his­to­ry to ac­tive­ly make an ef­fort to ad­dress debts that they came and met.

They have en­sured that the Se­nior Na­tion­al Men's Team play on all the Fi­fa Match dates in­clud­ing play­ing against some top op­po­nents.

They had on con­tract se­nior women's foot­ballers re­ceiv­ing a month­ly salary for a year and a half.

They ac­quired land are build­ing a home for foot­ball and sig­nif­i­cant­ly in­creased the as­set base of the TTFA.

Q. Is any of the crit­i­cisms with re­gards to his man­age­ment style fac­tu­al?

DJW comes out of a suc­cess­ful club back­ground and the build­ing in­dus­try. He has grown ac­cus­tomed to be­ing ag­gres­sive in de­ci­sion mak­ing and mak­ing de­ci­sions to ex­pe­dite mat­ters and take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties with the here and now ap­proach.

The run­ning of the TTFA be­cause of its many stake­hold­ers de­mand a greater in­ter­ac­tion and con­sul­ta­tion with its Board. I think he can im­prove in that area.

Q. Is the Home of Foot­ball good for the sport or not?

The build­ing of the Home of Foot­ball is the best thing that has hap­pened to T&T foot­ball since qual­i­fy­ing for the 2006 World Cup in Ger­many.

With­out even go­ing in­to the com­mer­cial po­ten­tial the mere fact that our na­tion­al teams will now have a place to eat, sleep and drink foot­ball is a ma­jor ben­e­fit.

The work of the coach­es, play­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors to use these fa­cil­i­ties to de­vel­op our foot­ball and get re­sults on the field is what will turn this house in­to a true home for foot­ball.

Q. As some­one with a vote at the AGM, is Pres­i­dent David John-Williams open and trans­par­ent with the gen­er­al mem­ber­ship?

There were some is­sues with re­gard to mak­ing it pub­lic who was giv­en the con­tracts re­gard­ing build­ing the "Home of Foot­ball". I would have liked the Pres­i­dent to han­dle it dif­fer­ent­ly.

How­ev­er, there is a heavy lev­el of dis­trust re­gard­ing how his de­trac­tors use in­for­ma­tion re­ceived with­in the TTFA. One crew us­es it and of­ten twists it on so­cial and main­stream me­dia aimed at show­ing the TTFA in a neg­a­tive light. This be­cause there is a group in the foot­ball fra­ter­ni­ty prac­tis­ing op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics and prov­ing to be bit­ter­ly ob­struc­tive.

So far in­for­ma­tion com­ing out of the AGM is pro­vid­ing an­swers to a lot of ques­tions and shed­ding light on a lot of lit­i­ga­tion brought against the John-Williams ad­min­is­tra­tion for ac­tions of pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Q. Do you be­lieve that those who at­tend the meet­ing (AGM) are fair in their crit­i­cisms of the Pres­i­dent from what you have seen from at­tend­ing the AGM?

The op­po­nents of David John-Williams are more skil­ful than him in pre­sent­ing half of the sto­ry to so­cial me­dia. How come nowhere have they re­port­ed the scan­dal that has been un­earthed re­gard­ing a for­mer pres­i­dent and an al­leged email and sworn af­fi­davit?. I am sur­prised they have not cho­sen to buss that mark.

Q. What is your view with re­gards the No Con­fi­dence mo­tion against the Pres­i­dent?

The no-con­fi­dence mo­tion is a sham­bol­ic at­tempt by a few peo­ple who want to gain the pow­er to scut­tle David John- Williams term in of­fice. What they claim as mis­steps by his ad­min­is­tra­tion does not war­rant him to be re­moved from of­fice We have seen past ad­min­is­tra­tions made far worst mis­takes and the cur­rent de­trac­tors tongues were tied.

But there is some­thing about the Home of Foot­ball be­ing built that would show cer­tain peo­ple in a bad light that makes the at­tacks against the Pres­i­dent very per­son­al.

The AGM will de­ter­mine at the end of the Pres­i­dent has the con­fi­dence of foot­ball's stake­hold­ers or not.

Q. Would you sup­port an amend­ment to the con­sti­tu­tion for a sim­ple ma­jor­i­ty to have the Pres­i­dent re­moved from of­fice?

No, I would not sup­port an amend­ment for a sim­ple ma­jor­i­ty to re­move a Pres­i­dent from of­fice in foot­ball. Bring­ing about change in foot­ball re­quires un­pop­u­lar de­ci­sions at times. So if a few peo­ple are against the lead­er­ship that's not enough they must be able to con­vince 2/3 ma­jor­i­ty of their ra­tio­nale.

A prece­dent of sim­ple ma­jor­i­ty re­moval in foot­ball's gov­er­nance could set a desta­bi­liz­ing ef­fect in the fu­ture of foot­ball.

The big­ger ques­tion is why are they so afraid of David John-Williams fin­ish­ing his fi­nal year in of­fice. John-Williams is not Moses but he is cer­tain­ly not the shai­tan they are mak­ing him out to be.

Q. For­mer TTFA Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ramesh Ramd­han wrote in a Face­book post last week that cur­rent Board mem­bers Kei­th Look Loy and An­tho­ny Haf­ford are po­si­tion­ing them­selves to re­place David John-Williams as Pres­i­dent, do you agree or not?

There are sev­er­al per­sons who want to put their hands on the pow­er in the of­fice of foot­ball and they are en­ti­tled to put them­selves for­ward via the elec­toral process. How­ev­er, the time has come for the as­pi­rants to do more than bad talk.

They must present so­lu­tions to key is­sues like how we are go­ing to ser­vice the huge debt in­her­it­ed in the TTFA.

Al­so this type of op­po­si­tion pol­i­tics be­ing prac­tised by at­tempt­ing to ob­struct gov­er­nance and ridicule the foot­ball lead­er­ship with half-truths and in­nu­en­dos it will back­fire when they come to pow­er. Wait and let's see.

Q. Is the TTFA bet­ter off to­day than it was be­fore David John-Williams be­came Pres­i­dent?

I think the TTFA as an or­ga­ni­za­tion is bet­ter off to­day in terms of ad­dress­ing its debts, in­creas­ing its as­set-based and lay­ing the plat­form for self-suf­fi­cien­cy.

How­ev­er, the poor cash flow has af­fect­ed the fund­ing and fi­nanc­ing of prepa­ra­tions for the na­tion­al teams.

So the re­sults on the field are not great at the mo­ment, how­ev­er, some­times the for­est needs to be burnt down for the grass to grow green­er and more pro­duc­tive.

Q. What would you like to see the Pres­i­dent do dif­fer­ent­ly go­ing for­ward?

I want to see the Pres­i­dent en­gage more with the stake­hold­ers in foot­ball. We should not wait on AGMs to dis­cuss is­sues faced in the leagues, clubs and mem­ber as­so­ci­a­tions. Bi­lat­er­al meet­ings and even quar­ter­ly meet­ings with stake­hold­ers will be bet­ter.

Af­ter every Board meet­ing, there must be some in­ter­ac­tion with the me­dia to keep the pub­lic abreast of what they need to know. Some­times we fear to be the bear­er of bad news, but the jour­ney in gov­er­nance will have mo­ments when the news is not al­ways good.

Q. How do you rate David John-Williams against, Ray­mond Tim Kee and Oliv­er Camps on a scale from 1 to 10?

I see no com­par­i­son be­cause John-Williams is a hands-on foot­ball in­tel­lect who is ca­pa­ble of pre­sent­ing a vi­sion and so­lu­tions to foot­ball prob­lems even at the world lev­el.

Mr Camps was a nice guy con­trolled by a pup­pet mas­ter. He had very lit­tle to do with de­ci­sion mak­ing and his naivety as to what was re­al­ly go­ing on in the or­ga­ni­za­tion has placed him un­fair­ly so; in a most pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion to­day.

Mr Tim Kee is a smooth savvy ex­ec­u­tive with lim­it­ed knowl­edge of how to take the game for­ward. His el­e­va­tion to pres­i­den­cy came about with an al­most sis­sy like de­fec­tion of his op­po­nent at that time.

When the truth comes out about Mr Tim Kee's re­liance on Shel­don Phillips as Gen­er­al Sec­re­tary, it will make in­ter­est­ing read­ing.

I dare jour­nal­ists in main­stream and so­cial me­dia to pur­sue it.