Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 13th 2015 Contents A57
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A group of retired boxers who banded
together several years ago in a rally of
support for aging former T&T World
champion Claude Noel, have compli-
mented Minister of Sport Brent Sancho
for his pledge to address problems faced
by their long-time friend and colleague,
who they say has been neglected by this
country for years.
The group, however, has sought to
remind Sancho that although the state
should have been keen to assist struggling
former national athletes all along, there
is still the allegation of victimisation and
outstanding debts owed to Noel by the
T&T Boxing Board of Control (TTBBC)
that need to be addressed.
Sancho visited Noel at his home last
month after reading a newspaper article
highlighting the former national athlete s
bout with ill health, blindness and lack of
assistance, something the recently appoint-
ed minister said prompted him to take
Sancho said he was disturbed by the
fact that Noel, who represented this coun-
try with distinction during the 1970s and
1980s, was living on his own and fighting
Friends of Claude Noel thank Sancho
...Claims of TTBBC debts to former national boxer
illnesses without proper support from the state.
After reading the February 20 article, Sancho
said he went in search of the three-time Com-
monwealth Lightweight title holder, even to his
birthplace, Tobago, where he was told that Noel
moved to Trinidad in his youth.
Almost two weeks ago, the Minister finally vis-
ited Noel at his Arima home, where he got a better
understanding of his complications. He then
pledged to assist in any way the state could accom-
Sancho s visit to Noel was publicised in a sep-
arate newspaper article. After seeing this, two
members of a group of former boxers known as
"Friends of Claude Noel", visited the Guardian.
After recognising Sancho s respectable effort
in visiting Noel, the visitors, Michael Paul and
Ralph Peterkin (two of nine members) showed a
letter addressed to Sancho, seeking his intervention
on behalf of the group.
"He (Sancho) could have saved himself a trip
to Tobago," Paul quipped in showing the letter,
which was written by him.
He said it delivered to the Ministry of Sport
on April 15, two weeks before Sancho s visit to
Noel, but was never acknowledged.
It highlighted both the health issues faced by
the 67-year-old, as well as the alleged debt by
The letter read: "... he stated clearly (in the
February article) that he is in need of financial
assistance and is owed over $60,000 when he
was an employee of the boxing board of T&T. He
stated that this is due for well over a year (March,
2012 to December, 2013) of his services.
He is citing probable cause for this callous
treatment being meted out to him, eg: a personal
vendetta by an individual who held an advisory
position on the board and is (a) major promoter
for the sport of boxing today.
I am shocked and hurt that someone who has
our little country on the world map with distinc-
tion is living this way.
"I am asking (begging) you to use your honorable
office to please fix this problem which has left
a sour taste in his mouth... I ask you to consider
my plea before it s too late," the letter conclud-
ed.When Paul and Peterkin visited the Guardian,
they reiterated their appreciation for Sancho s
visit to Noel, but insisted that the TTBBC needs
to honour the debt owed to him (Noel) and to
other former employees and coaches or that the
Minister take action.
Ironically but in no apparent relation to this
case, the Ministry of Sport last month issued a
media release advising that it had commissioned
"an independent financial and procedural audit
into the operations of the TTBBC."
The release explained that "the move (to audit)
comes as members of the board approach the end
of their tenure with the TTBBC. The results of
the audit will be used to draft procedural frame-
works and processes that will map the approach
that future Boards will prescribe in terms of oper-
The group "Friends of Claude Noel" comprises
Paul, Peterkin, Walter Peters, Keith Aberdeen,
Michael Williams, Ransome Flemming, Winston
Cox, Nathaniel Jones and Isaac Thomas, most of
whom are former national boxing champions.
Paul and Peterkin said the group members have
dipped into their pockets and held fund raisers
to assist Noel with food and medical bills.
However, the state, they said, needs to give
back to a man, who has little more than a name
on a highway in Tobago.
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