Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2017 Contents A38 sports
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Williams/T&TGF lawsuit set for end of year
Gymnast Thema Williams' mul-
T&T Gymnastics Federation is set
to go on trial at the end of the year.
During a case management confer-
ence of the case at the Port-of-Spain
High Court yesterday morning,Justice
Frank Seepersad gave attorney repre-
senting the two parties deadlines for
them to file their witness statements
in the case.
the last being on September 29, were
met the case would be able to go to trial
in late November or early December.
He scheduled a pre-trial review on
October 3, when the fixed dates for the
trial will be determined.
The controversial dispute between
the athlete and the federation began af-
ter Williams was replaced by Marissa
Dick to represent this country at the
Olympic Test Event at Rio de Janeiro
event in April, last year. Her initial se-
lection was basedon her performance at
the World Artistic Gymnastics Cham-
pionship in Glasgow, Scotland on Oc-
tober 23, 2015, where she placed higher
Williams claimedthat her coachJohn
Geddert was informed by thefederation
that she was withdrawn because she
was injured, a claim which she denies.
Alternate athlete Dick was selected to
participate in the event instead and
eventually qualified becoming the first
person to represent T&T in gymnastics
at the Olympics.
In her claim for almost $11.38 million
in damages, Williams is claiming com-
pensation for her "loss of opportunity"
and damage to her personal and pro-
fessional reputation allegedly caused by
the "harsh and oppressive" actions of
the federation's executive.
Her attorneys are contending that
by failing to be given an opportunity
to qualify for the last year's Olympics
in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, she suffered
a huge loss of opportunity of endorse-
ments, motivational speaking engage-
ments and repeated business opportu-
nities as well as a full scholarship to the
Michigan State University, which she
forewent in her bid to represent T&T
The federation had initially applied
to have the case struck out as it said
that its by-laws provided a method of
arbitration to resolve such disputes.The
application was rejected by Seepersad
who said that the clauses prescribing
arbitration were imprecise and could
not be consideredas an effectivedispute
He also ruled that based on Williams'
complaints against the federation and
its officials,it would be unlikely that she
would be given a fair hearing before the
federation's disciplinary committee.
Williams is being represented by
Martin Daly, SC, and Keith Scotland,
whileJustinJunkere is representing the
federation. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj,
SC, and Ronnie Bissessar are represent-
ing the four executives.
SporTT launches probe
into traffic woes at BLCA
A post mortem is to be conducted
today into the opening of the Brian
Lara Stadium last Friday night,
and on the table will be the traffic
gridlock which saw patrons taking
between three and four hours to get
into and out of the Stadium. Issues
of signage and security will also be
addressed during the post mortem.
Chairman of the Sport Company
Dinanath Ramnarine confirmed to the
Guardian Media Sports that the post
mortem, "will review every detail of the
opening,frombeginning to end,key peo-
ple who were involved in the event will
participate in the post mortem when we
will identify the positives and also the
problems which were encountered."
Following the post mortem Ramnar-
ine said a report will be compiled "and
we will come up with an action plan in
the shortest possible time."
Reports are that on the night of the
opening patrons heading into the sta-
dium met with bumper to bumper grid-
lock traffic at both points of entry into
the stadium, at Point-a- Pierre and the
Reform entry from the Solomon Hochoy
While the Ministry ofNational Securi-
ty has launched an investigation into the
traffic created by the protest at the Couva
Hospital which it said was responsible for
the massive traffic pile up leading into
A statement said, "the Ministry be-
lieves that in a bid to score cheap political
points by mounting protest action at the
opening of the Brian Lara Cricket Acad-
emy at Tarouba, last Friday, the Opposi-
tion and its cohorts instead created chaos
and confusion on the nation's roadways.
It is very worrying that ordinary com-
muters found themselves trapped in
the massive traffic pile-up since they
were simply seeking to make their way
to the event, or to their homes in the
But patrons who attended the event
told the Guardian Media Sports that was
a small part of the bigger problem that
had nothing to do with the protest.
Guardian Media Sports was told that
there was virtual standstill traffic from
the two entry points at Point a Pierre and
the Reform exit off the Solomon Hochoy
Highway, where a bottleneck was creat-
ed and it took patrons in some cases just
under two hours to get into the facility.
One official admitted to the Guardi-
an Media Sports that they had received
complaints from patrons who indicated
that while it took close to two hours to get
into the stadium, it took almost the same
length of time to get out of the facility
after the game which ended shortly after
11pm on Friday night, with bumper to
bumper traffic to get out.
Asked whether he was aware of this,
Ramnarine said he had also received
complaints. But he declined further
comment on the traffic issue pending
today's post mortem.
Adviser to UDECOTT with regard to
matters pertaining to the Academy,for-
mer Sports Minister Manohar Ramsaran
said he is aware that UDECOTT spoke
to the Minister of Works and "they are
pursuing another access road." He said
work had actually started on another
access road, but it was not completed
in time for Friday's opening.
Ramsaran said given the current situ-
ation and the problems encountered by
patrons with traffic on Friday night, "I
have advised them that we should not
hold any other major event until the issue
Friday night's opening and game was
attended by over 10 thousand patrons.
Ramsaran said in his view until the access
road issue is addressed "no major event
with more than five thousand people is
Communications Manager of
UDECOTT Roxanne Stapleton admit-
ted that she was also aware of the traffic
problems. She told the Guardian there
was always a plan to expand the "points
of entry and exit into and out of the Sta-
dium. There are plans to further develop
the road that leads to the Tarouba link
road and that will definitely take care of
Stapleton said there is already "some
infrastructure in place for the road, and
while it could not be completed in time
for the opening of the stadium, it will be
However, she could give no timeline
as to when the road would be completed.
Guardian Media Sports also sought
answers from the Ministry of National
Security on the planned investigation
into the protest at the Couva Hospital
which it said caused the traffic.
The Guardian submitted several ques-
tions to the Communications Manager of
the Ministry of National Security Marcia
Hope seeking clarification on the nature
of the investigation and the timeline
involved. But at the time of writing this
story no response was forthcoming.
CPL Officials attended Friday night's
opening and inspected the facility and
are reported to have had discussions
with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
who attended the event.
Also in attendance were Chief Justice
Ivor Archie, and several members of the
Cabinet. Patrons witnessed a scintillat-
ing and crowd pleasing performance
from the man after whom the stadium is
named Brian Charles Lara who scored an
unbeaten 44 before retiring his innings.
In the intermission of the game be-
tween the Lara eleven and an Interna-
tionaleleven, a man carryingahuge PNM
flag walked on top the ground and started
waving the flag. He was only removed
when he returned to the field with the
flag during the game, and shortly after
West Indies Batsmen Evin Lewis hit a
six. It was one of the five sixes and four
fours which Lewis hit in a knock which
A well-placed source told Guardian
Media Sports that the man who knew
Lewis well had indicated to security of-
ficials that if Lewis made fifty he would
go out on to the field,it was exactly what
he did. But he was then escorted out of
the stadium by security officials.
The ease with which the man got on to
the field will be looked at in the context
of security when the post mortem is held
Former West Indies and T&T captain Brian Lara bowls the final over of the
innings during last Friday's exhibition match for the Brian Lara XI against an
International XI to formally open the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.
T&T Gymnast Thema Williams
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