Here’s the truth
By Edison Jefford
Anyone who read my article that appeared on January 3, 2010 in Kaieteur Sport will struggle to admit that there are racial sentiments and that a “vicious attack” was what the writer perpetrated against Anil Nandlall.
Kaieteur Sport does not have the space to repeat the content of the article that was captioned “Handpicking Presidents…” since the idea now is to address the diversions in a letter that appeared in Chronicle Sport on January 12.
The letter to the Sports Editor that was headlined “Sports Hall Superintendent clears the air” has many fundamental inaccuracies that I wish to categorically address. It is obvious that the intention is to stray from the facts.
Basheer Khan’s letter, which I understand he did not write since he has disowned it on at least two occasions, addressed the National Sports Commission’s spending of a budgeted sum of $90 million last year in its second paragraph.
Kaieteur Sport was not at the press conference when it was revealed that the Ministry had spent some $139 million to develop sport and programmes last year, $90m of which they spent to train coaches and other sport officials.
I quoted that from Stabroek Sport and made it clear when we referenced “another section of the print media”. A letter was never written to address what was printed in Stabroek but one came when Kaieteur News picked up the serious matter.
In my article, I asked the Ministry to give a breakdown as to how they spent so much on training coaches and officials when most national associations do that on their own with some assistance from their international affiliates.
This was not the same piece that dealt with Nandlall, however, since Khan’s letter made that issue its second paragraph and since I made my intentions clear to categorically address its inaccuracies, this subject is first on the list.
The Sports Commission said it had $90m to spend on the things listed in the letter, but at no time figures and breakdowns were given as requested in my article on the “Phantom Spending” within the Ministry last month.
Let us, though, take it that the Commission spent $90m last year out of the budgeted sum of $150, 945, 000. This leaves some $60, 945,000 that was not accounted for in the letter that appeared in the Chronicle under Khan’s name.
In addition to that Current Expenditure on $150, 945, 000, which are monies fixed every fiscal year for definite expenses, the National Sports Commission received $270 million for Capital Expenditure in 2009 for three areas.
Capital Expenditure is the money set aside for special projects and the ones that the $270 was expected to handle include “Construction of Swimming Pool, Upgrading of Sports Facilities and Purchase of Sports Gear and Equipment”.
No one knows how much of that $270m was spent, and on what. The evidence of the much talked about Olympic-size Swimming Pool has been in construction for over two years and remains a pond of mud at Liliendaal.
So what Khan’s letter should really address, in this regard, is the amount of money that is left from the $270m added to the $60, 945,000 and cost breakdown for the $90m that the Sport Commission claims to have spent.
Secondly, the letter went on to say that I made “derogatory” statements about Nandlall in his capacity as President of the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) and that I only “singled” him out “because he is a member of the PPP and particularly because of his ethnicity”.
The letter was dealing here with the article that appeared on January 3 and dealt with how handpicking Presidents for national associations could backfire. Nandlall was a principal example used to make a general point.
At no time in that article did I say or allude to anything derogatory about the character of the GTTA President.
I criticised his function within the confines and office of the GTTA President, absolutely nothing “derogatory” appeared.
I am quite certain that if anything defamatory or libellous about the character of Nandall, the Attorney-at-Law by profession would have been quick to threaten legal action. However, it was established that I was within my limitations.
I will ignore the fact that the letter actually inadvertently refer to me as an anti-PPP racist and one with an alternative agenda. If that can get pass the Sports Editor at Chronicle, we must accept that it is good for readership, sadly so.
Thirdly, the letter said that under Nandlall, the GTTA held its National Championships after almost 10 years. That is not true. The association did not host the championship last year but rather promised to do so this year. What is also not true is that Nandlall has consistently intrude his pocket “very often” to help players compete overseas.
Nandlall had done so on one occasion when he assisted Michelle John to travel to a foreign engagement.
At no point in my essay did I question the relationship of the Sports Commission and the GTTA. What I actually observed was that the two enjoy a good relationship because the sport performs at both the local and international levels.
Everything else in Khan’s letter is moot points and a serious newspaper cannot afford the wastage of space on addressing triviality. If Khan responds to this article, he must tell tax payers what the Commission did with over $200m of their money.