It was with a great degree of sadness when I heard of the passing of Raymond Tim Kee - someone who lived to help and develop T&T in any way possible.
I met Tim Kee many years ago when I was coaching football at Fatima College and his son was representing the school. He would come along to matches to support him and also give the school the kind of assistance a coach would look forward to from a parent - not interfering, but rather saying the right things and always full of encouragement for the team.
We always kept in touch; not regularly but whenever I saw him. We would talk for long periods about different topics but sport, particularly football, was his love and he always had a good sense of humour trying extremely hard to crack a joke somewhere during every conversation.
It was in 2012 when we crossed swords as he was nominated for the T&T Football Association (TTFA) presidency. Unknown to me, I had no idea that Raymond was to be a candidate, as I was approached by two zones to also run for the top football job in T&T. I naturally accepted at that point, as I felt I could make a contribution to the sport which has given me so much in years gone by. I saw it as a great opportunity to give back to the game and since the cricket fraternity chased many of us from their closed ranks, I knew the time to help football was then.
The amusing thing is that Raymond called me to say that he never knew I was going up or he would have not run for the post and he said to me (and I know he said it publicly as well): “The TTFA should have two presidents and it is a pity one of us has to lose.”
We remained friends even though we were going to fight against one another and I have never heard him one day say anything derogatory about me. Now, he may have, but it must have been behind closed doors. As it turned out, much to the annoyance of quite a few people, I eventually withdrew my nomination.
The first thing I did after informing the people who supported me, I called Raymond to congratulate him and wished him well. He had a difficult job because he had to please his supporters while trying to bring some stability to the TTFA. He was a gentleman and his real wish was to put T&T football back on the map.
He eventually grew proud of his achievements while at the helm of the TTFA. Qualifying for two Gold Cups after taking a bold step and employing Stephen Hart as the national coach; finishing second twice in two Caribbean Cup finals and the biggest one of all - getting the senior team to the ‘Hex’ - the final round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification. He also built a great relationship with T&T’s women footballers as we lost to Ecuador in the final match and failed to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The women also became Caribbean champions in 2014.
It was in the build-up to the 2015 TTFA elections that I met with Raymond, as he called me to his office downtown one Saturday as he had taken on another near mission impossible job of mayor of Port-of-Spain. I arrived at the mayor’s office at around 3 pm and some three hours later, Raymond and some other gentlemen had convinced me to run on his slate as first vice president.
I discussed with him the plan moving forward and how he intended to get voters on his side to guarantee a win. He was confident, as he felt his track record as president would speak volumes. I warned him from my experience that he needed to put in the groundwork. But he insisted that “performance beats old talk anytime” (no pun intended). As it turned out, the voters were not interested in performance and subsequently, his slate was defeated and sadly football in this country then proceeded to hit an all-time low. Every time we met he would express his disenchantment with the state of T&T football.
Fast forward to 2019, when he told me that he was joining with United TTFA and once he was successful in going up for the presidency, he wanted me to run with him again. Just how could I refuse Raymond Tim Kee? I suppose I am a glutton for punishment? He got very upset with me when he saw my name being linked with Lindsay Gillette and it took some convincing from me that I just attended a meeting and that was it.
I knew his health was deteriorating, as I last saw him three weeks ago at the Queen’s Park Cricket Club’s (QPCC) annual dinner where his wife, who is a tremendous singer, was performing and I always joked with him that her singing would soothe and calm his nerves.
Raymond Tim Kee was always immaculately dressed, he was honest and always seemed to have time for everyone and devoted his life to serving people. To his wife Natasha, his children and grandchildren, my heartfelt sympathy to you all. May he rest in peace.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not reflect the views of any organisation of which he is a stakeholder.