SPORT MINISTER REFUTES CLAIMS BY UNC MP
The Ministry of Sport and Community Development would like to make it clear that no National Governing Body of sport (NGBs) is treated differently, preferentially or with prejudice in the disbursement of funds and allocation of managerial attention for improvement of their operations.
Not for the first time this month, we are forced to reply to allegations related to our inability to provide timely funding to sporting organisations which have submitted an application for funding late.
Unfortunately, the latest untoward public statement comes from an opposition Member of Parliament, who clearly does not understand the process and who is eager to promote folly for political expediency.
On June 10, 2022, the National Basketball Federation of Trinidad and Tobago (NBFTT) submitted an INCOMPLETE application for funding to participate in a tournament in Nicaragua. SporTT immediately made queries and requested the additional information. On June 28, 2022, mere three weeks before the tournament, NBFTT submitted the outstanding information to complete the application. Sporting Bodies are well aware that they are required to submit their requests for funding support at least three (3) months before the scheduled event or programme.
It is important to note that at this time, the National Basketball Federation (NBFTT) is delinquent in providing to SporTT (the agency under whose remit the Federation falls) its audited financial statements for the years 2020 and 2021. Audited financials are key in providing accountability and transparency within an organisation. While these documents remain outstanding the NBFTT will not be fully compliant with the protocols of The Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago. Being in compliance ensures that the governing body, in this case NBFTT, the managing body, in this case SporTT, and the government can be fully accountable, responsible and transparent when it comes to spending taxpayers’ monies. SporTT provides both technical and financial assistance to NGBs toward ensuring that their audited financials are of an acceptable standard. NBFTT should make every effort to access these much-needed services.
The NBFTT needs to acknowledge the fact that their funding request was submitted outside of the prerequisite submission timeframe, and despite this, SporTT still reviewed the submission and made attempts to secure funding, even at this very last minute. The Federation was informed of the unavailability of funding and that alternative attempts are being made through the Ministry of Sport and Community Development (MSCD). To date, SporTT is still working with MSCD and the Ministry of Finance toward servicing the NBFTT’s late request and other similar requests from other sporting organisations.
The Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago and the Ministry of Sport and Community Development by extension, continue to work diligently to support all national governing bodies in their pursuit for sporting excellence. However, we urge all NGBs to do their part and properly play their role in meticulously managing the business of sport, practicing discipline and orderliness in the conduct of their internal affairs, and complying with SporTT’s humble request to submit their applications for support in a wholesome fashion and on time.