Where is Uncle Jack?
For all his purported faults it was universally acclaimed by one and all that Jack was a man who was always willing to help, especially during his years as a politician. Many of his supporters have dismissed his alleged thievery as “fine” because he was never afraid of spending money on those in need. A modern day Robin Hood one could say. In fact, one speaker at an ILP rally even famously said “Well, if he thief money from white man, what’s wrong with that?” as part of a speech aimed at showing how much he helped his people.
With the news that Oliver Camps, former TTFA and TTFF President during Jack Warner’s long association with T&T football, is in danger of losing his home to pay off a bill from during that period, you would expect an action man like Jack Warner to help out , at least a little. I mean, this is his “riding partner”( or “partner in crime”, whichever description you prefer to refer to this dynamic duo as) for about forty years ! In an interview with Irving Ward in 1999, Camps himself said about Warner “We have a very, very good working relationship which goes way back since he became general secretary of the TTFA which is somewhere in 1975. We both worked together and have the same kind of vision for the football. We always talk, so that he can even speak for me because of the fact that I have given him authority to do certain things after discussing it. When you see he says something, it is because we have discussed it.”
Let’s be honest, Trinidad and Tobago. Yes, we can feel sympathy for Ollie Camps’ predicament because we know who was really calling the shots. We know who hired Beenhaaker and subsequently Rijsbergen because the special advisor has never been shy about taking credit for getting us to the world cup in 2006. Camps has admitted being a little naïve and has now got left holding the bag.
The meetings to hire actually took place in Berlin and a report submitted to the TTFF afterward detailing their duties as reported in a TTFF press release in 2006 :
The report listed the duties of both Beenhaaker and Rijsbergen with Beenhakker expected to resume coaching duties in 2008 and Rijsenberg to be the interim coach until then. The document was ended thus:
Based on the above, it would seem that the remuneration and budget were already set but would not be for public viewing and thus in another document. It is a bit disappointing that Uncle Jack has not seen it fit to come to his friend’s rescue.He did actually make an appeal in 2014 to then Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissesar to help out, but that was when he was no longer in the inner circle of the UNC. Why has he not assisted in his personal capacity though? Is it that his well known wealth no longer exists? In this season of fete, a former AG has been seen still moving large and in charge while an infamous former Sport mInister recently resurfaced, allegedly boasting of the wealth he accumulated while in office as alcohol loosens tongues. Surely, if they can still have good money in the coffers Jack should not be that bad off. Maybe the FBI really has seized all his assets? Yet, rumours circulate surface regularly of his sons not living hand to mouth in the USA. Perhaps the IPL has sucked him dry? Their failed attempt at local government elections says otherwise in terms of funding. Maybe he just does not see the cause as worthy enough to lift a finger to help his friend. That’s the price you pay for squealing, possibly as Camps has made the statement in an interview with UK Channel 4 that "He [Warner] made me do wrong"
Many compare the other debts that the TTFA have intervened with to this one. Sadly, those other debts would affect the football programme directly if they are not settled. Unfortunately, if Wim does not get his money or Camps loses his home…our football programme would not be affected either way. It would be affected if funds that are earmarked to pay player salaries or develop grass root programmes are diverted. It would be affected if we lose an asset such as Russell Latapy to the sport because he is disenfranchised. That’s the sad reality of the situation for Mr. Camps and his family.
It is left to Azim Bassarath of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board to assume the mantle as the hero by setting up a fund to try to assist the ailing ocotogenarian. However, being the statesman that he is, Camps has come forward to say the debt should not be settled by the public. He is to be lauded for that move. His lawyers have stated that the family may settle by selling “one of their properties”. Which one is to be decided but Camps has done well to restore his reputation by recognising that the fault does not lie in the general public, or even with the tax payers.
Half a million US for a property. From where I sit, that’s the price to be paid for the ‘blacklist’ right after the World Cup campaign of 2006 that deprived Rijsbergen of working with many of our best players as we looked “to build” on that achievement. Whoever was in charge of the incorporated entity known as the TTFF (not the national sporting association known as the TTFA) was solely responsible for that blacklist. When you answer to no-one for your decisions, you sometimes have to stand the consequences on your own as well.