You have three types of friends—True friends, bandwagon friends and fair-weather friends. There is a difference between a truth-teller and a critic. A critic drags you down to make themselves feel superior and a truth-teller corrects and instructs out of a desire to see you be better.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget what someone did to us or that we become best friends with them. Forgiveness is about making peace with your past so you can move forward into your future. If you cannot forgive you will allow bitterness and resentment to write your story. Leaders cannot afford to hate, as it gets in the way of strategy.
“No wheel moves without friction.” Those words were said by Raymond Tim Kee in our many conversations over the years. I knew Raymond as a colleague in the insurance industry and sport. I also knew him as a mentor but above all a friend who I fondly called “Big Brother.”
Raymond was a serious man who brightened our lives with his smile. He believed sport was integral to our culture and he transformed that belief into action. His service to the youth and young people through sport is immeasurable.
He regularly reminded me—A rising tide lifts all boats, the real power of sport lies in the hearts and minds of the youth and young people—the football players, the athletes, the sportsmen and women.
“Give people a fish and you feed them for a day, teach people to fish and feed them for a lifetime.”
We must teach people how to fish and then support them with everything we’ve got. Raymond believed in the power of seeing the best in people and that everyone deserved an opportunity. A leader’s duty, obligation and responsibility is to make things better for, in particular, the vulnerable and less fortunate.
He walked his talk. He brought to sport his distinctive insight that sport should be a force for good, making a positive difference and not a force for poor governance, corruption, abuse of office and to facilitate people with hidden and selfish agendas. He wasn’t afraid to fail. He gave extraordinary energy, time and ideas to sport and football in particular. Raymond sincerely believed that sports wasn’t only about sports politics but the larger forces that shape our society. When others may have chosen the easy option, become bitter and resentful, Raymond was resilient in the face of immense adversity and that regardless of how others may behave towards you, you can still have grace, dignity, forbearance and be a class act.
You didn’t break him in life. He looked ahead, remained focused and indomitable in doing what he believed needed to be done or had to be said, even if he would be misunderstood or mischaracterised. He was a truth-teller and true friend to sport, football and national life.
Raymond’s life is a song whose lyrics sing about what is possible if we continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example to never cease working for a better, fairer and more just and equal T&T. Those of us who grieve his passing are left with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dreams he kept alive.
There are many things for which Raymond will be remembered but what we will never forget is his spirit of patriotism, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, respect for others, his love of family, his service, integrity and stewardship. Those attributes will live within us forever and continue to be a beacon of hope. Even though he has ceased to be with us physically, his spirit lives in our hearts and in our memory.
God bless you Raymond. We love you and we always will. Farewell warrior leader, till we meet again.
May you rest in eternal peace.