Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 20th 2015 Contents SEPTEMBER 20 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | SBG5
What neither Sancho nor Harrison knew is that Fenwick had
already gotten the necessary approval from Ministry of Sport Per-
manent Secretary Gillian Macintyre.
"We went to (Sancho) with the complete proposal for Ma Pau
and he gave us every possible excuse why he could not do it,"
said Fenwick. "I gave them six different ways they could back it
because of the level of funding put out by corporate Trinidad.
"Everything they said was a contradiction because we already
had an agreement from the PS and we knew that Point Fortin
had already received money before us."
The Sport Ministry contacted Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene
and advised that it chose to support Ma Pau s bid and foot its
$450,000 registration fee.
There was no consensus on why the Government went with
$450,000 and not $400,000 and, arguably, it showed a flaw in
the internal process at the ministry.
Fenwick and a Sport Minister official, who spoke on condition
of anonymity, claimed they were verbally told the fee for entry
was $450,000 while the Pro League officials could not remember
ever saying so.
Clearly, nobody got anything in writing from the Pro League
about its registration fee, yet, despite that fact, a cheque was
drawn up for Ma Pau.
Skeene, a former "Strike Squad" player, thought the incorrect
figure was an error and not fraud.
"If I had any problems with Ma Pau s application, I would not
have put forward their application to the (Pro League board),"
Skeene told Wired868. "Or I would have at least hinted (about
the problem) to the board."
Harrison, despite his role with the Sport Ministry, was present
at the Pro League s board meeting and was stunned to hear that
Ma Pau s application was supported by the Ministry of Sport.
"I went to the Pro League meeting to present info on the delays
in their subventions and so on," Harrison told Wired868.
"The chairman said there was an application to enter the Pro
League when they opened up the meeting and presented a cheque
(from the Sport Ministry). I said I knew nothing about it at all
and neither does the minister."
The Pro League clubs did not support Ma Pau s bid and, ironically,
there was grumbling by club representatives that Fenwick had
used his influence with Sancho and Harrison to gain an unfair
In truth, Harrison was fuming and he sped straight back to the
Ministry s PS, Macintyre, for answers. The English football admin-
istrator claimed that he and Sancho implemented a system in
which Harrison reviewed any cheques issued by the Sport Ministry
for over TT$20,000.
"Once a cheque is issued, I would review the file to ensure all
the processes are followed," said Harrison. "This is something we
put in place when we came into the Ministry because of the Life
Sport thing to make sure we don t issue money to the wrong
Was Fenwick the "wrong people?"
Harrison questioned Macintyre about the Ma Pau cheque and
asked her to withdraw it.
"When I went back to the Ministry, I saw the PS and asked
if she issued a cheque for $450,000 to Ma Pau and she said yes,"
said Harrison. "And I said it was declined and you can get it back.
When we then looked at the file, we realised there were a number
of discrepancies... So the PS decided to take it to the police."
Macintyre ordered Fenwick to return the cheque, which he did.
Although the PS, herself, signed off on the file, the police began
interviewing Sport Ministry officials on the application.
The Pro League never formally rejected Ma Pau s proposal and
Skeene contradicted Harrison s report to the PS.
"I don t know where (Harrison) is getting this idea about the
finality of the thing," said Skeene. "The Pro League always continues
to assist teams and we continue to try to help Ma Pau to get into
the league... it is a continuing process."
Had Harrison overstepped his boundaries by instructing the
PS to withdraw the cheque for Ma Pau?
And had Macintyre erred by taking instructions from Harrison
rather than the Pro League chairman or CEO?
Wired868 failed to reach Macintyre for comment. Harrison
denied he was working against Ma Pau s bid.
"We said we can t find a way and he went around (Sancho and
I) and submitted an application and he got turned down by the
Pro League," said Harrison. "I certainly had no say in how they
voted because I wasn t a voting member. It had nothing to do
Was there any ill-feeling between Sancho, Harrison and Fen-
"I don t know (but) I see there is a post on Facebook calling
me a liar," said Harrison, in reference to a comment made by Fen-
wick s wife and local attorney, Reyna Kowlessar. "I was told by
two independent sources that Terry said he got money from the
Ministry of Sport without me or Brent knowing about it. And
he was laughing..."
Caledonia AIA coach Jamaal Shabazz said he abstained from
the vote when Ma Pau s application was raised before the Pro
League board. Since then, he met with Fenwick and has been
rallying other clubs to support Ma Pau.
"I had heard rumours that the regional corporation had given
the ground in our Morvant community to Ma Pau and I abstained
at that point to get more clarity,"
Shabazz told Wired868. "Now that I have information to the
contrary, I feel it is necessary for Caledonia to support Ma Pau s
entry into the League.
"The Ma Pau franchise would be able to employ at least 35 of
our grassroots people and, while politicians continue to promise,
the young people have to (be able to) eat."
Shabazz suggested that Ma Pau might win a second vote from
Pro League clubs but claimed the team s bid was being undermined
by "senior officials at the Sport Ministry."
"Each club owner has their say and their vote and, because we
own the league, we can change our minds as we have done and
amend rules according to the situations that we face," said Shabazz.
"I m hearing there are senior officials in the ministry who are
trying to put stumbling blocks. I have spoken to one or two clubs
who said that senior officials have insinuated that Terry Fenwick
did not use proper information to secure the ministry s help.
"I can understand if you stop a man from doing bad. But he
(Fenwick) is trying to do something good, so I can t see why they
want to stop him.
Shabazz suggested that the Pro League needs Fenwick at least
as much as he needs the Pro League.
"I see Terry Fenwick as a warrior like us and he brings a certain
amount of competitiveness and finesse as a coach in the league,"
said Shabazz. "He is second only to Stuart Charles (Fevrier) in
terms of winning titles in the Pro League and for that he has my
respect. Caledonia would vote in favour of Ma Pau, despite the
fact that on the field I am a fierce competitor against Terry Fen-
"We may never be friends but I think he has a place in T&T s
football. And, as a Muslim, I have a command from Allah to stand
up for justice.
However, Skeene said the time-consuming furore within the
Ministry of Sport over Ma Pau s application has probably killed
the team s chances of playing in the Pro League this season.
The Pro League competition is scheduled to begin on September
"I think there was a remote possibility for Ma Pau to come into
the league last month," said Skeene. "It was very tight. Right
now, it would probably be next season."
The new TTFA constitution---which was approved by its executive
committee but must still make it way through the regional asso-
ciations---calls for a promotion and relegation system between
the Pro League and National Super League.
When that occurs, clubs will have to earn their entrance into
the top flight by slogging it out in the Super League, which now
has two divisions. It would mean that Ma Pau and other ambitious
clubs must spend at least two years battling their way past over
30 community teams before they can even apply to the Pro League.
"The Pro League board still has to finalise the matter of pro-
motion and relegation," said Skeene.
"We are looking to have a discussion with the TTFA."
It means that local football fans might have a long wait before
they see Fenwick coaching in the top flight again.
Shabazz would miss the combative Englishman, although there
may be just as many rivals who would say "good riddance."
Fenwick, outspoken, combative and provocative, has always
split opinions in the local game, even though his titles speak for
Cox suggested that Morvant/Laventille would be the biggest
"I am really disappointed with all the foolishness that is going
on," said Cox.
"Anybody who wants to do something to uplift the grounds,
I am very grateful for it... If someone is willing to pump money
into sport, then shouldn t (the Ministry of Sport) be happy?
"There must be some underlying confusion going on that we
do not know about. I don t think any right-thinking person will
not want that to happen."
Lasana Liburd is the founder of the sport news and satirical
news Web site, Wired868, where this story was originally
published on Monday, September 7, 2015. His contact:
Read his work at: www.wired868.com
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