The most recent letter signed by Mr. Neil Kumar `When was the last time the GLTA submitted an audited financial report to the National Sports Commission? SN April 30, 2011) convinces me that but for the political route, people like he, Mr. Kellawan Lall and Mr. Kwame McKoy do not deserve and could not have achieved public office in this country. Mr. Kumar, Director of Sports and CEO of the defunct National Sports Commission signed a letter, ostensibly in response to a Business Page article on the considerable resources inefficiently and improperly managed by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
Because of our experience with the vindictiveness of the Ministry, I do not wish to draw the GLTA into this matter but since integrity and truth are being compromised publicly, I have no choice but to deal with the misrepresentations and distortions of substance raised by Mr. Kumar. This exchange provides the Minister with the ideal opportunity to rise above the petty vindictiveness of which so many sporting and arts bodies have been victims.
Specifically the column challenged, among other things, the Minister’s failure to account for World Cup money since 2007 and to account to the National Assembly and to taxpayers for hundreds of millions of dollars allocated to the Arts and Sports Development Fund which is operated secretly like a slush fund, away from the knowledge of the intended beneficiaries. Rather than the Minister responding to what is a serious allegation touching on public accountability and impropriety, Mr. Kumar exposed his little understanding of the issues and embarrassed himself by putting his name to letters he cannot defend, quoting secondhand information he cannot support and referring to secondary legislation that does not exist.
Common sense should have cautioned him to check whether there is such a thing as “National Sports Commission (NSC) … regulations” before asking the question under the caption referred to above. Had Mr. Kumar any idea or appreciation of the generally coercive nature of legislation he would have known that no sports organisation, including the GLTA, would have any obligation, as a matter of routine, to submit audited financial statements to the NSC.
On the other hand because the NSC is a statutory body (in receipt of hundreds of millions of public funds), its governing legislation requires it to have its report of activities together with a copy of the statement of its accounts audited and laid before the National Assembly not later than the thirtieth day of September in each year (emphasis supplied). Since Mr. Kumar did not understand the question I asked in my letter of April 24, I am now putting it to his Minister to tell the public the last year for which the report and audited financial statements of the NSC were laid before the National Assembly. Just parenthetically, the audited 2010 financial statements of the GLTA were approved unanimously by its membership in March 2011. Out of courtesy to the Minister and Mr. Kumar, I will ask the GLTA’s Treasurer Ms. Anita Rampersaud-Sawh FCCA to send them copies immediately.
On the issue of what the GLTA demanded from the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, since Mr. Kumar was not at the meeting with the Minister I am proposing to make public my entire notes of that meeting. But the Minister must do likewise and not rely on others coming to his defence with amateurly written letters as we have seen recently. Those notes will clarify two other matters which Mr. Kumar misrepresented in his most recent missive: one, the person who undertook to arrange a meeting of the Ministers of Education and Sports and the President of the GLTA in connection with a Schools tennis co-ordinator, and second, that by early 2010, the life of the NSC had expired more than two years earlier. To save Mr. Kumar from another factual misrepresentation and embarrassing exposure, I caution him that any appointment/re-appointment requires publication in the Official Gazette.
There is no useful purpose to be served in any further engagement with Mr. Kumar who is advised to write the Secretary of the Guyana Tennis Association for any information or clarification he may require in connection with the Association. The issues first raised in Business Page and in this letter involving billions of dollars of public money as well as the governance of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport are addressed to the Minister under whose portfolio they fall, not Mr. Kumar. Hopefully the Minister will now address them with the same speed with which he pursued correspondence with the CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board concerning its team selection policy.