The office of the Deputy Sports Minister Henry Yonton has refuted allegations by the Liberia Amputee Football Federation and Sport Association (LAFASA) that the ministry worked against Amputee Lone Star’s participation in the Amputee World Cup that comes on next month in Mexico.
LAFASA president Cooper Melvin Gotteh, in an interview with the Daily Observer recently pointed accusing fingers at the Deputy Minister for Sports for poor handling of the association’s trip for an international friendly in the United States as well as the tournament proper in Mexico. Mr. Gotteh also wrote Minister Lenn Eugene Nagbe and the chairman on the Committees on Youth and Sports in both Houses of the National Legislature against Minister Yonton’s role in their failure to travel for the matches as well as the packing of the amputee bus.
The Chief of Office Staff of the Deputy Sports Minister, Mr. Bryant McGill and the Director of the Bureau of Sports Navarro M. Saykie, Sr., told the Daily Observer yesterday said that they were utterly taken aback upon the allegations by LAFASA Secretary General, Samuel Solomon Eastman III and Cooper Melvin Gotteh.
They said as part of the ministry’s mandate, which among other things provide annual subsidies to federations licensed and de-licensed, regulate and coordinate their activities and does not work against association’s interest.
The prevailing state of affairs in the wake of the EBOLA outbreak, they said the government’s primary focus is to fight the EBOLA epidemic and therefore all other activities of the ministry remain secondary but does not mean that the bureau works against any federation.
They said: “We are aware that the bus was presented to enhance the movements of the amputee by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf but it is in no way suggests that the bus can’t be regulated if it is established that it’s being used incorrectly.”
They said if some aggrieved Amputees complained that the bus is not being used for its intended purpose and the bureau investigates the complaint and suggests that the bus be parked while an investigation into the matter is conducted there should be an y wrong in that.
Meanwhile, the Sports Bureau is urging LAFASA leadership to stop going to media houses to express their sentiments but must contact the ministry for further cooperation.
The Sports Bureau said they remains grateful for the amazing strides the federation has brought to Liberia on the local and international scenes.
“Technically, the bureau has sought to provide under the supervision of the Deputy Minister of Sports a functional and a well coordinated system,” Saykie said.
Assistant Minister for Sports, Murvee Gray in a brief telephone interview yesterday called on the leadership of LAFASA to dialogue with the ministry to curb any misunderstanding.
Minister Gray, the longest serving senior official at the Sports Ministry intoned that the Amputee Lone Star is owned by the Liberian people so it is the responsibility of the Ministry to take charge and work with the Association.