CHARLES KONG SOO
The banners yesterday bore ‘Angel’ before Christopher Mohammed’s name.
Gov't to rescue team
Fed up of being ignored, two parents have pulled their children out of the T&T team to contest the Carifta Swimming Championships in Jamaica from March 31- April 3.
Yesterday, Michael Nelson, whose sons Marquise and Malik Nelson were scheduled to be among the travelling party to Jamaica on March 30, has decided to pull them out because of the hefty $15, 000-plus amount he is being asked to pay.
Joseph Mc Leod, the former president of the Amateur Swimming Association of T&T (ASATT) also confirmed yesterday that his son Michael Mc Leod, who competes in the 14-16 age bracket, has been pulled out of the team, saying he will inform the ASATT executive via email.
Parents of the swimmers were asked to pay $9,000 which entailed $6,100 for airfare and $2,900 for jerseys/uniforms and to cover costs for seven officials. But parents were reluctant to cover the cost for officials and asked that they pay for themselves.
Nelson said because his request for clarity on the breakdown to parents on Monday was ignored, he could not budget his finances.
"I have had to pay monthly for my boys' to swim ($650, for gym $600, vitamins $700, to eat well, and for lessons $1, 000) as they spend a lot of time away from school. All I asked for is to be informed of how much I will have to pay for my sons, so that I could have made the necessary adjustments, but not even that was forthcoming. Therefore, I had to stand as a man and make a decision in the interest of their careers," Nelson explained yesterday.
Guardian Media Sports understands that due to the concerns raised by the parents the Sport Company of T&T asked for a meeting with them on Saturday at 9 am at the National Aquatic Centre in Couva. From the overall cost for the team to go to the Carifta Games, SporTT agreed to cover the cost of accommodation at $112,000, and last week it added a further $60,000, specifically to cover the costs for officials. However, this information may not have been communicated to parents.
Yesterday, Jason Wickham, ASATT's Public Relation's Officer said while it was unfortunate that swimmers had to be pulled out of the team, his association had to be guided by what is before them. He said ASATT is still to receive a cheque from government to cover its bills, including the additional $60, 000 promised for officials' cost.
"Last week our secretary addressed the parents and told them of the ministry's intention to cover the cost for officials, but to date we have not received any cash in hand," Wickham explained.
He believes it would be misleading to give parents an overall cost when they cannot back it up. "As such the amount will remain at $9,000 for each parent," Wickham said.
According to Wickham once the government gives the $60,000, then parents will have only airfare to pay for their children.
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