ATTORNEYS representing two-time Olympian Njisane Phillip have called on the TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) to account for the $1,000,000 grant issued by the Sport and Culture Fund to the local fraternity on November 19, 2019.
These funds were disbursed to buy equipment for the national cycling team, including Phillip, Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne, Keron Bramble and Teniel Campbell, on their Olympic qualification journey.
In a letter, Phillip’s attorneys – Kristy Mohan and Jagdeo Singh – asked TTCF general secretary Jacqui Corbin on Tuesday for an account of the fund’s beneficiaries.
Mohan said if the TTCF fails to do so within 28 days, “our client (Phillip) has been advised to pursue his rights and remedies for breach of trust and fiduciary duty against the TTCF,”
Before their request, the letter said the TTCF applied for $1,207,710 in funds on behalf of the five athletes, in October 2019. Attached to its application was an estimated expenditure sheet which outlined the items and equipment for which funding was required.
On November 14, 2019, the management of the Sport and Culture Fund told the TTCF its application for funding for the athletes had been approved in part.
Five days later, then TTCF president Larry Romany and Corbin were presented with a cheque for $1,000,000 to assist the five-member team.
However, on January 22, 2020, one of the five cyclists’ domestic club managers wrote to Corbin enquiring about the use of these funds. The manager claimed one of the cyclists, who had already qualified for the Tokyo Summer Games, was yet to receive any funding from the Sport and Culture Fund.
“As a member of the TTCF, I am requesting a statement on the utilisation of funds from this particular grant and precisely which cyclists are to benefit.”
On Thursday, Newsday spoke to the cyclist's manager, who said he is yet to receive a response from the TTCF.
Similarly, Mohan’s letter said one of the five cyclists was unable to buy equipment from the million-dollar allocation “because of the said failure and/or refusal of the TTCF to release funds from the grant.”
She also said the TTCF’s objective is to promote cycling, and, to support and protect the interests of its cyclists and hold the granted funds in trust to be used for the sole benefit of the athletes named in the funding application.
“By virtue of this trust, the TTCF is under a fiduciary duty to ensure that the granted funds are being utilised for the athletes, as beneficiaries, and for the intended purpose of purchasing equipment for use by them.
“It is the corollary right of the athletes as beneficiaries, to have the trust duly administered by the TTCF, in accordance with the provisions of the trust instrument – in this case, the limits of the grant. In addition, the TTCF is under a duty to ensure that the purport of the legislation governing the fund, is satisfied,” Mohan added.
Newsday contacted TTCF attorney Keith Scotland for a response, but he said he is yet to receive this correspondence from Mohan or Corbin. When contacted, Corbin directed all questions to TTCF president Joseph Roberts.
Roberts said, “I am not available at this time, I will provide you with some feedback a little later tonight or earlier in the morning. I have not looked at the document as yet.”