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Source: www.newsday.co.tt by Walter Alibey

Chee Ping: I want to help youthsFORMER national rugby player and coach Rhett Chee Ping has said he is elated at his appointment as chairman of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Sportt).

Yesterday the 44-year-old Chee Ping, who guided Trinidad and Tobago to the Caribbean Rugby Championship both as a player and coach, said he wants to make a difference in the lives of many young people through the avenue of sports.

Only two days ago he got the nod from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for the post as Sportt Company chairman, along with numerous others including former manager of the national cricket team Omar Khan, who has been appointed as chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (TTEC).

Chee Ping told Newsday he sees the appointment as an opportunity to make a difference.

“So many people talk about making a difference but when they are given an opportunity they back out. I am not going to be like that,” Chee Ping said. “There is a lot of talent in TT and the challenge is to turn this into something valuable. It’s about how can we develop the youths in TT holistically.”

Chee Ping carries a strong background in the field of sports, having began as a swimmer at the age of nine and graduated to rugby soon after completing studies at the Barry University in the United States in 1990/91 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management.

He was forced to give up his position as coach of the national rugby team because of the increasing workload and responsibilities as a counsel member of the Caribbean Shipping Association; and on the board of directors at Medway Ltd — a local and regional shipping company.

In addition to being the president of the Shipping Association of TT, Chee Ping is also a director of Gordon Grant and Company Ltd.

He believes that while other responsibilities such as being at the helm of clubs in the domestic rugby league might be a challenge, he holds closely to his heart the duty of national coach as one that cannot be compromised.

“It’s much easier to make time for your club teams, but the difficulty in shouldering that responsibility as coach of the national team, is that you may have to keep people waiting for you etc, because of other responsibilities.”

As such he is still coach of rugby giants Trinidad Northerns, a team that has, along with rivals Caribs RFC, has dominated rugby in Trinidad and Tobago. He is hopeful of using his strong management background, as well as his ability and knowledge of moulding talent, to take development of the youth and the country by extension, to another level.

He explained that while accountability is critical, one can hardly put a price tag on the development.

He is awaiting the completion of a special audit being done on the Sportt Company before work can be started. “I intend to change things around. A simple assignment will be to recognise people’s intention to work at the company through their applications. We must at least say that we have acknowledge their applications.”

He noted that despite the scandal that has tarnished the reputation of the sport company, he will enter with a pure mind. “I will be expecting nothing when I go there to start work,” Chee Ping concluded.