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.