By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler and a coach within the Ministry of Sports, Kenneth Benjamin, has hit back against claims he has been receiving monthly salaries from the government’s treasury but has not been carrying out his daily functions as a coach within the schools.
Speaking recently on the Good morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin said he has been doing a significant amount of work in some communities and has duly informed both the Director of Sports, Heather Samuel-Daley and Permanent Secretary within the ministry, Sarah Stuart, of his undertakings.
“I designed a couple of practice facilities, one out at New Winthorpes, one out in Urlings and I assisted a couple in terms of finding and ordering their nets and so forth, and I was also doing some work with Sea View Farm. I submitted that to the director [Heather Samuel Daley] and to the PS [Sarah Stuart] letting them know that this is what I am doing and that’s what it is. I didn’t have to do it, but I figured that rather than not doing anything (I am a community man so if you ask me, I would prefer be working in the communities because I believe that is where the real work is needed),” he said.
Benjamin, who was earmarked to head up a revived community sports and games department announced by then sports minister EP Chet Greene in 2018, said he has had several conversations with current minister of Sports Daryll Matthew on his situation.
“I actually went to the minister [Daryll Matthew] and told him that they were paying me and not giving me anything to do. When I came back from South Africa with the under-19s [West Indies] I went to him again and had a meeting with him and the Director of Sports [Heather Samuel Daley] and he asked me what would I like to do. I said to him that I would like to do an under-13 programme, male and female, in the primary schools and he said fine, present your stuff and you know what happened after that? COVID,” he said.
“I presented the document and I gave the PS [Sarah Stuart] a copy, I gave Heather a copy and the fact that there was the COVID and there was nobody in school, I decided I was going to go into the communities and assist the community organisations,” he added.
President of the Liberta Sports Club, Benjamin explained how he would have arrived at a situation where he was no longer working in the schools.
“When I was employed first I was the assistant to Rolston Otto so you know how long ago that was and Rolston was the cricket coordinator, so I was assisting as a sports officer. Obviously after that, I went into coaching in the schools and so forth but that [position] was never changed,” he said.
“I was taken out of the schools when I did my level three [coaching course] because they wanted me to come in as a technical person and then when EP took over [as sports minister] he wanted me to be the coordinator for community development sports & games but that never materialized and so because of that I was just floating,” he added.
The former national and Leeward Islands fast bowler has been at loggerheads with Greene for some time now, with the foreign affairs minister and MP for the St Paul constituency accusing the cricket coach of having a political agenda, a claim Benjamin denies.