FORMER PORT OF SPAIN MAYOR Raymond Tim Kee was described as a giant of a man, honest, honourable and a patriot who was a mentor and friend to many.
The former People’s National Movement treasurer and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president died early yesterday morning at the age of 71.
Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis said Tim Kee quietly and without much fanfare was “a big brother and mentor to many people from all walks of life.”
“I for one benefited from his counsel and advice both in the insurance industry where I made my career and sports in Trinidad and Tobago,” Lewis said, adding that Tim Kee proved a class act, facing a myriad of challenges with dignity. “I well remember how determined he was to institute constitutional reform in local football.”
Lewis recalled that just two Saturdays ago, Tim Kee, former WIPA CEO/president Dinanath Ramnarine (who served on the TTFA Constitutional Reform committee alongside Tim Kee) and himself, enjoyed a lime at Manos, a popular restaurant and bar located on Park Street.
“Ray was happy, laughing and so positive about the future. He has always been a quiet inspiration to me. I will miss him,” said Lewis.
Current president of the TTFA, William Wallace, who acknowledged the tremendous support Tim Kee gave him during his campaign for the post, said: “He was first and foremost my friend. He was a good human being, who cared for his fellowmen. As an administrator, he never micromanaged but instead allowed guided initiative. He had the game at heart and was one of those persons who hurt over the last couple years.”
Wallace recalled that initially he was to serve as vice-president to Tim Kee on a slate before Tim Kee decided not to run. “He threw his full support behind me,” Wallace added.
Former Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris said he was deeply saddened to wake up to this sad news yesterday morning. “The last time (Mr T) as I call him... we spoke ...he reminded me of the importance of transforming grass roots football and Futsal which will provide our national teams with talent as in the good days,” Morris explained.
“He also stated the persons and inmates that were involved in the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) Futsal programme had a role to play in the development of the game,” adding, “I am very proud to have had the opportunity to have coached under his leadership as president of the TTFA, to work along side him at the UTT Outreach MSP Futsal programme with such a humble individual.”
“He would surely be missed. Condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace,” Morris said.
And on the TTFA website, ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop, in an immediate reaction to the news, stated he became more familiar with Tim Kee as an administrator and man through their work at the TTFA.
“Inheriting a thankless task he set about restoring dignity to the position. I found Raymond to be honest, forthright and honourable in every way, in each of our interactions. It is with a heavy heart I write this. I will always hold Raymond up as an example, remembering him as the person he proved he was to me.”
The PNM is also mourning the passing of the former PoS mayor, who served an active member, their treasurer and several party committees and groups.
“Mr. Tim Kee distinguished himself in his professional career within the Insurance Industry, winning many awards and accolades during his tenure,” the PNM correspondence stated. “The PNM celebrates the life of Mr. Raymond Tim Kee — a giant of a man, a gentleman and a patriot — and we are grateful for his service.”
Tim Kee’s departure from the mayorship was occasioned by protests from activists and a call from the national community arising from his comments following the death of Japanese masquerader Asami Nagakiya, also a pannist, in February 2016.
Back in the football arena, the TTFA stated that Tim Kee was kind-hearted, devoted and committed to serving his country the best way he could.
“His commitment, intellect, sense of humour but above all the simple and straightforward manner of relating to all of us will be a lesson always on modesty and humility,” the TTFA release stated. It further added that whether on the public stage or away from the cameras, Tim Kee’s passion for life and sport, more so football, and his deep desire for a better world shone through.
“Raymond was known throughout local arenas not just for his inspirational eloquence but for his human warmth, who showed the skills of leadership and great determination,” the TTFA stated. “His charisma was remarkable and there is no doubt but he was a formative influence on those around him. He always identified with those who were less fortunate, or those experiencing hardship, no matter where they came from—and he translated this into a forceful articulation of the need for those with power to do more. He was an efficient and competent corporate man. He was a true Warrior.”
Tim Kee was elected TTFA in November, 2012, and served until November, 2015. Under his reign, the T&T senior men’s team qualified for two CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals, in 2013 and 2015, and finished second in two Caribbean Cup Finals, also advancing to the Hexagonal Final Round of 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Also during his tenure as TTFA boss, the women’s team came within one point of 2015 World Cup qualification, becoming champions of the Caribbean in 2014. Mr Tim Kee served on the FIFA Futsal committee and the CONCACAF Associated Championships Committee during his tenure.
Off the field, Tim Kee will also be remembered for bringing closure to the 2006 World Cup bonus dispute.