The ugly, dark side of sport has come to the forefront again with news emerging that Tarandath Sammy, coach of the U-19 Trinidad and Tobago side sexually abused and/or sexually assaulted an opening batsman of the squad. The T&T side had just finished competing in the regional under-19 three-day tournament early in November and were scheduled to play the one-day tournament next.
The news broke via a call that came through regarding the incident after the completion of the three-day tournament and was reported by Caribbean News Now.
Shockingly, it appears that the matter has been brought to the notice of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, the West Indies Cricket Board, the Child Protection Unit in Trinidad but none of these bodies have taken any appropriate action yet.
Things only became worse when it emerged that not only is the accused the coach of the under-19 team but also the coach at a school.
According to various reports filed, the coach is said to have invited the opening batsman into his room for a massage to ease an injury suffered during the three-day tournament, and during the course of the massage, made sexual advances on the player.
The caller who broke the news stated that the matter had been brought to the attention of the Kerwin John, manager of the U-19 team who is also the president of the Tobago Cricket Association. He is said to have forwarded the matter to Azim Bassarath, President of the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board, but no action has been taken from him either.
Bassarath was contacted via Whatsapp after a second caller had called reporting the same incident, but Bassarath just ignored the messages.
It escalated to the CEO of the T&T Cricket Board due to Bassarath’s silence on the matter and he responded saying, “There are certain matters that I will not discuss with the press. Be assured that all matters reaching my desk is dealt with.”
The allegations of sexual abuse have been confirmed by parents of other boys, who mentioned that there had been a considerable drop in the team’s morale as well as a source close to the victim.
A report was presented to the T&T Cricket Board prior to the start of the tournament about the coach’s behaviour, who seems to have had a history of abuse. Yet, the board took no action whatsoever. The coach is said to be a close aide of Bassarath, the President of the board.
Finally in December, the matter was brought to the attention of the West Indies Cricket Board. A representative responded saying, “We got word of this but the WICB cannot at this time take any action to sanction the coach. He was a member of a team representing Trinidad and Tobago in a WICB sanctioned tournament, and no official report has been sent to us.”
These matters are very sensitive issues due to the stigma the victim feels and the biggest concern is that this is a not an isolated incident but a much larger issue and this is the only case that has been reported.
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