Today the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) joins the rest of the global Olympic Movement in celebrating Olympic day. The occasion will be marked by a number of activities at Olympic House, 121 Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain. Various schools will be hosted at Olympic House. Members of the public are invited to visit and join in the celebrations. Olympic day in T&T comes against the backdrop of troubling times for local sport.
Sport is at a critical juncture and transition, decisions can either harm or help the sustainable development of sport here. Decisions that impact directly on the national sport organisations and their capacity to develop and run their sport require transparent two way discussions. Any perception of a lack of transparent discussions in and of itself damage claims of a commitment to good governance.
In some quarters, the argument is still potent that both the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company has not done enough to calm fears and allay concerns in respect of good governance. Post Life Sport, the local sport community remains troubled. International bodies are intolerant of government interference.
As the focus was put on a few individuals who may well have had less to do with the entire Life Sport debacle than the public has been led to believe. For certain individuals it’s business as usual and it serves a purpose to perpetually sing the song that national sport organisations don’t know what they are doing. Hence the refrain that Ministry of Sport and Sport Company is the solution.
Take away the fear of a loss of funding or access to funding there is need for broad discussions in respect of the sport system. Somethings aren’t as above board as some purport. Why is the Sport Commission and the establishment of the Commission on the back burner? What are the policy perspectives and imperatives informing the sidelining of the sport Commission? Who decided and why?
Has there been open and transparent consultation in respect of the way forward? What is the vision and strategic imperatives driving decision making? As the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company hold the microscope on national organisations and the Olympic Committee, there is a saying fix your own house first.
There are a number of extremely capable and honest individuals who make a hugely positive difference inside the Ministry of Sport and Sport Company. They have a clear sense of what needs to be done and why respecting the national sport organisations is a critical success factor. They know the hidden truth and need to be given a fair hearing. Ministers of Sport, generally, aren’t the intractable problem. Short term thinking overides the policy cycle.
In countries perceived as best practice, the public sector functions effectively and efficiently on the basis of policy and a policy cycle. What the sport community wants to understand from the political parties contesting the upcoming general elections is a loud and clear perspective on how will sport be integrated as a key pillar in their respective economic and national vision and development plans.
Resource allocation of$57 million dollars to national sport organisations is not adequate and reflective of a sustainable approach to sport development.
Brian Lewis is the president of the T&TOlympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee. Support #10 Golds24 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund make your donations to any branch of Scotiabank account number #171188. Share and support the Olympic Dream.