I was quite taken aback when I read Ray Roberts’ “Inside Moves” article in The Grenadian Voice Newspaper issue of Saturday, March 01, 2014 headlined, “The Hottest GFA Elections” recalling his presence at the St. George’s Clubs meeting and his silence thereafter on the bogusly run elections the previous weekend.
Now, a few days before the GFA AGM, Ray once again used his journalistic skills firstly to give full support to Cheney Joseph but most dangerously to sensationalise and create a confusing atmosphere before the Elections of another National Sporting organisation as has been done in the past.
The picture Ray painted, in my mind, is the same as he did in his reports on the chaotic 2008 election. I refer to his “Inside Moves” in the Grenadian Voice articles dated Saturday May 03, 2008 headlined “Prove yourself Ram Folkes” and May 10, 2008 headlined, “Folkes fuelling the GFA fire”.
I have no problem with Ray throwing his full support behind Cheney Joseph. I did in 2008. However, his view that under Cheney’s leadership the game has benefited the most and no other leadership can come close to rivaling the quality of work that Cheney Joseph has done in the last four years, is viewed as an insult and disrespect to me and some of my council colleagues.
I was further taken aback a day or two after when I saw the GFA President’s invitation to the media to attend a Press Conference on March 3, 2014 at the GFA Secretariat where he will discuss 12 listed items.
After Ray’s excellent-rating of the Executive in the press the week before, I was anxiously awaiting reports from the media this week, because the twelve items listed all referred to and analysed in the 39-page Annual Review 2013 highlighting his Executive’s performance based on the FIFA Grand Barbados Resort Resolution April 17, 2011 – a document that makes Ray’s excellent rating laughable.
Not belonging to, or directly giving support to any special group, I will list a few of my personal references and comments on the maladministration and bad management by the Cheney Joseph-led administration.
(1). Ray’s excellent performance rating and this weekend media account of the President’s Dynamic Leadership is plain and simple propaganda to support Cheney as a charismatic leader.
What we are failing to see is the toll the charisma and profiling have had on the development of players and game. Our administrators get appointed to Regional and International bodies, our coaches, referees and administrative staffs get better wages, while the most important requirement in FIFA’s Mission Statement is ignored by the GFA Executive.
“Development of the Players and the Game”. Imagine a friendly against Jamaica which was advertised for weeks on the Jamaica and Grenada websites to be played in Grenada on March 5, 2014 had to be taken to St. Lucia because we have no national team in training or otherwise.
(2). After FIFA’s financial and administrative support 2009-2010 re the setting up of the Interim Normalisation Committee that successfully managed the affairs of the GFA and completed the mandate to ratify and adapt the Statutes in July, 2010.
FIFA further invested in GFA administrative reform by bringing the entire GFA Executive and Secretariat Staff to Barbados where they participated in a training exercise labeled ,”The FIFA Grand Barbados Resort Resolution April 17, 2011″.
Within a few months, resignation, secretariat management and poor executive leadership have plagued the organization.
(3). Most GFA meetings held between 2011 and 2014 did not meet the requirements for the proper staging of meetings as required by the Constitution. However, constitutional breaches were of no interest to the majority of club delegates at Council meetings and when the occasions arise a majority vote was always taken irrespective of the irresponsible and unethical practices of the Executive and promoted as democracy at work.
(4). The Executive put together its own integrity from the onset. The coming together of the Cheney Joseph and Paul Roberts factions was an agreement relating to the post of General Secretary. The ulterior motive was simply to get rid of Folkes and I said it then and I say now Cheney’s impatience and ego for leadership defy the qualities of a good leader.
After the demise of Jack Warner and the US$40,000.00 scandal involvement of GFA officials, the golden opportunity came to fire the General Secretary. The Technical Director acted as General Secretary for quite some time. Then a General Secretary was constitutionally appointed but resigned the post within a few weeks and replaced by the present Ag. General Secretary. Four General Secretaries in Four years!
Every AGM held over the past three years, at least three paid Secretaries and two sets of Auditors were engaged with pay. Yet documents for meetings as prescribed in the statutes are never on time. This was manifested in the GFA 2013 AGM which went on for more than 10 hours over a three-day period.
(5). According to the Audited Financial Statements produced by PKF Accountants and business advisors GFA received FIFA grants totaling $3,612,790.00 for the period January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012 under Joseph’s leadership and FIFA grants totaling $2,082,270.00 for the period January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2009 under Folkes’ leadership.
These figures reflect a significant increase in funding yet there has been little or no development of our players and national teams. We will invest more in the Players was the delivery promise in 2008 by the Executive.
The upcoming elections will be a test of our character in Council. Are we going to continue the bad practice of not observing the Statutes or are we going to heed the advice of the UEFA Counsel given in his address to the GFA Council earlier this year?
Let me quote from the GFA website: “UEFA Legal Counsel, Veron Mosengo-Omba has called on the General Council of the Grenada Football Association (GFA) to make sure integrity, honesty, solidarity and transparency is their watch words at all time in Grenada’s football.
“Grenada Football Association should strive to be the beacon of transparency, honesty, solidarity and integrity at all times, he warned.
“The governance of football requires all persons in your association to respect your statutes not some of the time, but all the time” the UEFA Legal Counsel advised”.
Similar sentiments were expressed by the FIFA Development Officer who was the guest speaker at the recent Awards Ceremony of the GFA.
All the focus is on Article 30 (m) and little attention to Article 29. Given Ray’s prediction and his source in making it, I am advocating that football loving Grenadians take the responsibility to analyse the facts on the true situation as it relates to GFA and publicly demand better representation by the delegates from the clubs in their parishes and at the upcoming AGM.
George “Goatie” Robinson