Mar 31, 2013 Sports Comments Off on Letter to the Sports Editor…GFF elections
For the first time in about 2 decades the GFF elections will be not have the presence of Colin Klass shrouding the proceedings. Thanks to the Georgetown Football Association, the process for this year’s election is much closer to being fair and transparent than any during the Klass era. However as we have seen in our local politics the “return to democracy” is a long and sometimes painful road. Four candidates have bubbled to the top. There is no stand out candidate in the group. However two are so fatally flawed that it would be disastrous (for different reasons) if either one was to win. The two are Aubrey ‘Shanghai’ Major and Christopher Matthias.
Aubrey Major is the former organizing secretary and former co-director of the Kashif and Shanghai organization. It is his record in these two positions that speaks volumes against his candidacy.
As co-director of the K&S organization Mr. Major oversaw the exploitation of Guyanese footballers for nearly two decades. This was made patently obvious when the GFA launched its end of year competition. With only a fraction of the sponsorship collected by K&S the GFA from year 1, made the decision to give substantial prize monies to teams placed 1 – 4 and provide ALL other participating teams a percentage of the profits. The GFA still managed to turn a good profit in both years as reported in their audited financial statements.
The issue of prize monies and appearance fees had been raised by teams repeatedly over the last 10 years for the K&S tournament. Save for the one year that the Jagdeo Government gave $50,000 to each participating team, Mr. Major stoutly refused to give value to the footballers who played the preliminary matches and helped to create the tournament. The referees, guards, ticket sellers, security, grounds men were all paid for every match but the players only got money for the finals and third place playoff. Teams that invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to put on a show for the K&S tournament left empty handed if they did not make the semifinals. How can Associations nominate and second some-one who is so anti developmental boggles the imagination.
Mr. Major is also the organizing secretary of the GFF that agreed to pay the Kashif and Shanghai organization (of which he is co-director) a share of the income for planning and promoting the Golden Jaguars local World Cup matches. This is unbelievable. Mr. Major as organizing secretary awarded a job to himself as Kashif and Shanghai to execute tasks that are his direct responsibility as organizing secretary. The only possible motivation is to make money at the expense of the GFF and football. The sham resignation from the K&S organization is just that, a sham. Mr. Major will never give up interest in K&S. I have two questions for Mr. Major; (1) If he was elected president how will he rule in the still unresolved issue of the two competing year end tournaments? (2) How come he has only now recognized the conflict of interest created by being an executive on the GFF and a director in an organization that promotes the second largest tournament in the country?
In my analysis Mr. Major is disqualified from holding that high office simply by having held an executive position in the Klass administration. Mr. Major was part and parcel of the injustices the GFF meted out to the GFA. An integral player in the nepotism, administrative inefficiencies, blunders and financial impropriety that characterized the outgoing administration; How then can any Association in good conscience vote for Mr. Major unless in true Klass style the representatives have been promised trips and positions.
Mr. Matthias like Mr. Major has a record that does not stand up to scrutiny. The former customs official was interdicted from duty over alleged irregularities in the execution of his duties. True to form, Mr. Matthias’ tenure as president of the GFA had an abrupt conclusion when he was unable to account for half a million dollars that went missing from the GFA coffers. Mr. Matthias was then deemed persona non grata in football. The circumstances under which Klass allowed him to run for GFA secretary is material for another article.
What Matthias has going for him however, is that he is an excellent politician. He understands people and is a master manipulator. He packages himself as various things to different people all to advance his personal ambitions. He has reinvented himself as the secretary of the GFA. He has managed to take credit for all that has gone well in the GFA and deflect blame for all that has gone wrong over the last two years. He constantly battled with the GFA president to grab the spotlight in the fight against the GFF.
The true credit for that victory goes to the resolve of the clubs and legal skills of Mr. Roysdale Forde. He claims credit for the clubs in Georgetown fulfilling all their constitutional obligations. However, you will recall that the GFF through the Gilhuys led IMC mandated and ensured that all clubs were in order prior to the election that gave Matthias the position of secretary.
Matthias has touted constitutional reform on his manifesto for the GFF. However he has presided initially as president and most recently as secretary over the GFA that has a constitution that is so hopelessly outdated that it refers to the Georgetown Football Association as the Georgetown Football League. The annual club dues prescribed in that constitution is less than $100. The true dues are now about $30,000. More importantly the constitution does not have adequate measures for conflict resolution, does not describe the duties and responsibilities of the executives currently in office among other glaring deficiencies.
The question then is do we drink the kool-aid of Matthias (like the Georgetown and East Coast Associations) and believe that he will do in the GFF all the things he didn’t do as President and Secretary of the GFA? Or, do we look at his record and say sorry Matthias we want a man of financial and moral integrity. Will the Associations allow the glib talking Matthias to use Klass like tactics to demonize and exclude those that oppose him? If so then the fight of Georgetown, the historic visit from FIFA and this whole optimism in the football fraternity will be all for nothing. For in Matthias we have found a younger and sharper Klass.
Mr. Persaud and Mr. King both have their weaknesses however they both have football at heart and impeccable character. I would support either candidate for the position.
Hopeful Football Fan
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