TEAM TT may not have a men’s table tennis team at next week’s Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
This is according email correspondence from the TT Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) legal counsel Dave Williams to TTOC president Brian Lewis.
In his letter to Lewis, Williams said he was asked to respond on behalf of the TTOC on whether the four players selected by an ad-hoc committee of the TT Table Tennis Association (TTTTA) to represent this country at the CAC games in Colombia can be ratified.
The chosen players were: Curtis Humphreys, Aaron Wilson, Yuvraaj Dookram and Arun Roopnarine.
Williams said the arbitral tribunal of the TTOC ruled on Monday the process adopted by the selection committee of the TTTTA was flawed. It was advised that a new selection committee be convened to select a four-member men’s team for the games and to communicate the outcome no later than 4 pm on Tuesday. This was not done.
Williams pointed to correspondence from the TTTTA’s Sarita Maharaj who said, in keeping with the tribunal’s ruling, an ad-hoc committee of three, comprising Verna Edwards, Ray Fermin and Dave Ramoutar, was disadvantaged and did not have time to do the research.
She said all players would have met the criteria outlined in the selection policy and the ad-hoc committee trusted the last committee would have done the research to determine the composition of the team, and on that basis it agreed with the previous selections.
Williams said in the circumstances, the process adopted by the ad-hoc committee in ratifying the names of the earlier committee “would not only have been contrary to the TTTTA’s constitution, but also would be in breach of the Arbitral Tribunal’s award of 9th July, 2018.”
Williams noted that it was “unfortunate” that a men’s team could not be constituted to represent TT.
“The true losers in this regard are indeed the players,” he said, adding that the TTOC had to abide by the law.
He suggested the parties meet in an effort to arrive at an acceptable position in the interest of the sport and the players.
Williams’ advice came after attorney Matthew Gayle sought confirmation from the TTOC on behalf of his client, France-based player Dexter St Louis, that the latest team of four selected by the TTTTA will not be accepted or endorsed by the TTOC on the basis that it was not in compliance with the orders of the arbitral tribunal.
The 2018 CAC games will be held in Barranquilla, Colombia, from July 19 to August 3.
In his challenge, St Louis, the two-time CAC silver medallist, claimed the committee ignored TTTTA policy and selected players who were able to pay their own travel costs to participate at a qualification event in Cuba between February 28 and March 3.
The TTTTA maintained its selections for participation in tournaments were based on merit.
It said that only local players attended the qualification event in Cuba and that both local and foreign-based players were then invited for trials. The TTTTA claimed that only the local players responded by the deadline and were selected.
St Louis and his step-daughter Rheann Chung, who was put on the women’s team when local player Aleena Edwards became unavailable for the games, previously took the TTTTA to court over its selection policy for last April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.