PRESIDENT of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath has echoed the call by Communications Minister Vasant Bharath for a ministerial review of the special audit into the Sports Company.
Bassarath, in a speech delivered at an end-of-year function of the Christian Conquerors Sports Club of Rio Claro last weekend, again called for action to be taken against the former board of Sportt which was fired in the light of the Life Sport scandal where millions of dollars were paid for ghost programmes.
Bassarath, who also serves as a Minister in the Ministry of Finance, recently described the findings of a special audit by the Office of the Auditor General into the operations of Sportt as “alarming.”
Line minister Larry Howai has since ordered a ministerial review of the report’s findings.
According to a Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board release yesterday, Bassarath said that while hundreds of millions of dollars were mis-spent by Sportt, cricket has been the biggest loser as more than $23 million pledged to the national organisation over the past four years, has been withheld which has seriously affected its youth development programmes.
He called on Minister Howai to extend the investigation into the activities of the fired board of Sportt .
He also called on Government to pay keen attention to the quality of individuals that are recommended for positions as it relates to sports.
Bassarath said despite the tough challenges they face, the board has applied prudent financial strategies and forged valuable partnerships with corporate T&T to ensure that the young people all over get a fair shot at maximising their potential on the cricket field.
Bassarath said that it was telling that the Auditor General’s overall conclusion is that Sportt is not giving sufficient attention to financial planning and risk management in the development and implementation of important projects, which has impacted the economy, efficiency and efficiency and effectiveness of delivery of sporting facilities.
Bassarath also gave his audience an update on his board’s recent meeting with Minister of Sport Dr Rupert Griffith whom he described as honest and straight-forward and who has shown a willingness to address the issues he is faced with in an atmosphere of openness and transparency.
“Our discussions were frank and amicable and we are hopeful we can work with the minister to resolve our problems for the benefit of cricket and the many thousands it offers hope and a future for on and off the field,” said Bassarath.