Heading to Manchester, but have No Place to Stay

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Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

IN this week’s edition of “Things That Don’t Make Sense,” we will be exploring the rapidly unfolding saga of the Jaric Titans Sports Development Club – a Tobago based football club that took a “leap of faith” and arrived in the UK, for the Manchester International Easter Football Cup without securing accommodation.

Oh, what a heart-breaking situation it was first painted to be. A club from the tiny island of Tobago denied its request of $1.6 million from the Sport and Culture Fund under the Office of the Prime Minister. One hundred children, 55 adults, left out in cold, no where to stay, seemly abandoned by their nation, forced to solicit funds via Go Fund Me and a series of sad calls.

When the story broke, other than the “blame de government” crowd, the majority of populations’ BS alarms began to ring. No right-minded adult was sending their child out of the country without knowing where they were staying, and in no way was UK immigration going to let 150 plus third-worlders stroll into their country without proof of funds or accommodation.


Also $1.6 million, for a weekend? I smelleth something and it’s not roses. And then came Minister of Sport and Member of Parliament for Tobago West, Shamfa Cudjoe- Lewis. Before any more the “eat grass, is PNM country” morons could join the dialogue, my girl came out swinging receipts.

In a social media post, Cudjoe-Lewis confirmed the club never came to her in her position as an MP nor did they come to the Ministry of Sport. The club approached the Office of the Prime Minister for funding on February 28, in other words less than month away from their trip. She pointed out that pertinent information was missing from the application that led to it not being approved. This information included, signed quotations from suppliers and a signed letter of invitation to event.

Speaking to the Newsday, Cudjoe-Lewis said, “After examining the case, the Sport and Culture Fund was not convinced this was an initiative that would help in the development of the sport based on the way they sold the story. It somewhat looked like, I don’t know, something of a joyride, and they couldn’t explain why Sport and Culture Fund is being asked to fund everybody.”


She said what we are all thinking “Something of a joyride…” .

On her personal social media, she also provided a copy of the club’s budget… and folks fasten your seatbelts. Firstly, the total budget for this trip was over $3 million! Funds totaling $25,200 were budgeted for supporters’ uniforms. Supporters? Come again? Additionally, why was the club responsible for covering supporters’ accommodation, food, taking tours etc.? And can we look at the ratio of adults to children, it’s one adult for every two children, which is strangely high. And why is a three-year-old going

More and more it seems as though this really was fun little vacation for some, hoping it would be covered by the government.


Players were required to cover $10,000 and it has been alleged that some players paid and didn’t get to go.

In a follow-up article, it appeared coach Brian Browne realised public sympathy was not on his side and in efforts to save face added some details he left out the first time around. The players are not out in the cold, they are currently staying in a Hilton and are scheduled to be moved to a Holiday Inn. Browne said these arrangements were made with the EuroWorld Sports organisation after he reached out to them.

It doesn’t take a genius to deduce that Browne knew his team was covered by EuroWorld Sports, and that they would have accommodation upon arrival. He spoke about having to repay EuroWorld Sports, but I have strange feeling that’s going to be a whole other ordeal.

The unfortunate part of this situation is Browne has now made it more difficult for other sports teams to travel internationally. All this fracas is not going to go unnoticed by local and international sponsors and international sport organisations in charge of inviting countries and teams to participate.

It’s embarrassing. We have a number of talented sportsmen and sportswomen in our country, who would give an arm and leg to have the opportunity to compete internationally. To not only let their talents shine but pave the way for other young athletes to be seen.

The actions of Browne and his team have tarnished our nation’s standing in the athletic world. Why must there always be bobol. It’s irresponsible actions of adults that once again have caused damage to the future of the children.



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