Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2014 Contents A49
Wednesday, December 24, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
President of the Trinidad and Tobago
Cricket Board (T&TCB) Azim Bassarath
has added his voice to the call recently
made by Communications Minister Vasant
Bharath for a ministerial review of the
special audit into the Sports Company.
He did so in a fiery speech delivered at
an end-of-year function of the Christian
Conquerors Sports Club of Rio Claro last
weekend, when he reiterated the need for
action to be taken against the former board
of Sportt, which was fired in light of the
Life Sport scandal, where millions of dollars
were paid for ghost programmes.
Bharath has recently described the find-
ings of a special audit by the Office of the
Auditor General into the operations of Sportt
as "alarming." He also serves as a Minister
in the Ministry of Finance. Line Minister
Larry Howai has since ordered a ministerial
review of the report s findings.
Bassarath said that while hundreds of
millions of dollars were misspent by SporTT,
cricket has been the biggest loser as more
than $23 million pledged to the national
organisation over the past four years has
been withheld, which has seriously affected
their youth development programmes.
He called on Minister Howai to extend
the investigation into the activities of the
fired board of SporTT, under whose noses
the acts of financial impropriety allegedly
The board of directors of SporTT com-
prised chairman Sebastian Paddington,
Reynold Bala, Norris Blanc, Nisa Dass, Anyl
Gopeesingh, Sabrenah Khayyam, Matthew
Quamina, Annan Ramnanansingh, Kent
Samlal, Milton Siboo and Harnarine Singh.
Bassarath also pointed to two former
national cricketers who were employed with
SporTT as consultants for over two years.
He said it was yet to be determined what their accom-
plishments were and who benefitted from their tenure.
The local cricket boss, serving his second consec-
utive term of office, said the duo, supported by a
disgraced ex-minister, actively sought to undermine
the elected officials of the cricket board and were
recently implicated in a plan against the women s
administration, which failed miserably.
Bassarath alleged that strategy sessions aimed at
ousting the elected officials with the support of a
couple of women s clubs were regularly held at the
university office near Arima, where one of the ex-
He further alleged: "We have also been reliably
informed that the two officials, while at SporTT,
arranged for the purchase of a sizeable number of
cricket kits which were ordered from India and handed
out to selected clubs who supported them. But the
whereabouts of the bulk of the kits is a mystery,"
He called on Government to pay keen attention
to the quality of individuals that are recommended
for positions as it relates to sports, pointing out that
local cricket is a major success story which has put
T&T on the international map.
Bassarath said despite the tough challenges they
face, the board has applied prudent financial strategies
and forged valuable partnerships with corporate T&T
to ensure that the young people all over get a fair
shot at maximising their potential on the cricket
He said the auditor general s report into SporTT
showed that officials failed to report several litigation
matters it became embroiled in after a shake-up of
staff in 2011 and did not inform the Ministry of
Finance as required.
The report further states that SporTT s dismissal
of staff resulted in compensation in excess of $2.5
million for nine settled cases and, in financial year
2014, has provided a further $4 million to cover
Bassarath said he was happy that Minister Howai
has ordered the review process, which will involve
ministry officials drawing up recommendations after
their own meetings and queries with officials at the
Ministry of Sport and SporTT.
Bassarath also gave his audience an update on his
board s recent meeting with Minister of Sport Rupert
Griffith whom he described as honest and straight-
forward and who has shown a willingness to address
the issues he is faced with in an atmosphere of open-
ness and transparency.
"Our discussions were frank and amicable and we
are hopeful we can work with the minister to resolve
our problems for the benefit of cricket and the many
thousands it offers hope and a future for on and off
the field," said Bassarath.
Azim Bassarath, right, with former minister of Sport
Anil Roberts in happier times.
Cricket chief: Probe officials of SporTT
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