Friday, April 22, 2016

A Gold Medal for Cronyism

Like most Trinbagonians, I want to extend congratulations to the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastics Federation (TTGF) on its treatment of gymnast Thema Williams. The TTGF’s plan to pull Thema Williams from the Olympics, in favor of fellow gymnast Marisa Dick is a fine example of those proud Trinbagonian traditions of nepotism, cronyism, and bad mind. It also proves that if destroying the hard work of others to fulfill your own selfish ambitions were an Olympic sport, Trinbagonians would surely dominate.
 According to the TTGF’s own rules, Miss Williams who placed higher than Miss Dick at last years Olympic qualifying meet, should have automatically been T&T’s Olympic representative. But who could not have been impressed with the TTGF’s brilliant head spinning somersault; suddenly changing the rules and demanding both gymnasts compete two more times in order to qualify. It was a dazzling maneuver that surely caused those working at the licensing office to shed a tear in pride.

The TTGF didn’t just utilize classic textbook backstabbing moves. They also demonstrated a real flair for bad mind. For example, when one “gymnastic enthusiast” discovered tastefully shot photos of a barely nude Miss Williams on her social media account, the TTGF promptly decided to conduct a disciplinary hearing, charging Miss Williams with possibly breaching her contract and causing Trinbagonians to suddenly take notice of local gymnastics.

It’s here where we also have to acknowledge the TTGF’s shortcomings though. Their disciplinary hearing didn’t have the desired impact. Firstly, as it turned out, their favored athlete Marisa Dick also had similar photos, and secondly, people who went looking for these photos felt disappointed in that you could see more naked female flesh inside a mosque.

Here is where the TTGF should learn from the more experienced cronyism pros in the country. If you want to tarnish your opponent’s reputation you don’t need facts or evidence; just insinuations. For example, instead of tame pics, the TTGF would have been better off simply presenting emails showing how Miss Williams plotted to murder Miss Dick. Who’s to say if they are fake or not? Or maybe simply say that they were pulling Miss Williams because they were tired of cleaning up vomit on the balance beams.

And all seasoned pros know that you don’t need to waste time explaining your decisions to the public. If you want to hire your nephew to work in your constituency office, award state contracts to your boyfriend’s dummy company, or give 70 media workers HDC homes, people understand that you’re doing it purely out of the best interests of all parties involved. Especially yourself.

Of course the TTGF’s shining moment of glory came this past week when they finally cut Miss Williams out of her Olympic qualifying meet in Brazil, based on a sketchy report from her coach, alluding that Miss Williams was injured and struggling to perform. Or as the TTGF called it; a free hit.

Using all their focus and concentration, the TTGF replaced her with Miss Dick, who as luck would have it, was already on her way there from Canada, even before the TTGF had informed Miss Williams of their decision. Miss Dick then went on to qualify for a spot at the Olympic Games later this year, becoming the first Trinbagonian, born and raised in Canada to do so.

All Trinbagonians should relish this moment. Just a few months ago gymnastics was just like Scalextric racing; a weird fringe sport nobody except pedophiles cared to watch. Now, gymnastics is right up there amongst our other proud sporting achievements; like failing to pay the Soca Warriors on time, Life Sport, and the Brian Lara Stadium.

I am disappointed to read though that Miss Williams may take legal action against the TTGF. To me that goes against the Trini spirit of fair play. After all, she was shafted fair and square. Miss Williams should accept her losses and the fact that she was beaten by the better self-serving sport administrators. 

Miss Williams is young and there is still time for her to learn and develop. With hard work, dedication and embracing the crushing realization that it’s who you know that really helps you to get ahead in T&T, I’m sure one day, she herself will make it to an Olympic games.

1 comment:

De_observer said...

Great commentary... Yuh hit de nail on de head, not once, but several times!