Why is the concept of a sport industry in T&T still receiving lipservice only?

Either sport stakeholders on the twin Island Republic are unwilling or unable to put their collective minds to the task. Why?

Is it a lack of the required competence to conceptualise and effectively manage the sport industry ecosystem? Why is there a perceived lack of urgency in advocating and promoting policies that will enable and facilitate a vibrant, growth oriented and sustainable sport industry?

Traditionally in T&T the tripartite process has engaged discussions and collaboration between government, private sector and labour. An umbrella organisation such as the T&T Olympic Committee ( TTOC ) can be categorised as civil society organisation.

It is an imperative in finding ways to craft the sustainable growth and development of T&T that incorporating and involving civil society organisations is seen as an essential factor.

This column is not a promoter of dependency, entitlement, patronage and handouts and negativity. It is a promoter of sustainable development, creativity, innovation, imagination, big dreams, creating the reality you want, striving for excellence, accepting no limits, living life with purpose, service to humanity, collaboration, cooperation, integration, engagement, a growth mindset and being the absolute best that you can be.

The TTOC cannot sit on the fence. It must seek to create new horizons and a new and sustainable future for the Olympic Movement and the sportsmen and women who aspire to be Olympians and Olympic champions.

Given its access to information, the TTOC grant funding and expertise must reach out to stakeholders and collaborate in building the enablers of a sport industry - entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity are non negotiable must haves and must dos, as is engaging in policy dialogue and think tanks.

As the T&T oil and gas based economy struggles to cope with the current low energy price and weak GDP growth, development of a sustainable sport industry is an important part of a national diversification strategy that will provide much needed foreign direct investment to T&T and foreign exchange earnings.

T&T has invested significant sums of money on sport facilities and some are world class. A strategic sport tourism master plan that positions T&T as a hemispheric sport hub and centre of excellence is a critical success factor.

Mass participation event such as the T&T International Marathon - now into its 34th edition can attract foreign and regional participation. There are opportunities to create vibrant events in different sports. The TTOC’s plan for the inaugural National Beach Games scheduled for 2017 is to position T&T as the beach games centre in the Americas.

Now is a good time as any to pay serious attention to the development of a sport industry in T&T. Lots of people in and out of sport talk about sport tourism and that sport is big business. It is widely acknowledged that sport can make a positive difference in children and young people. It can also encourage people to live a healthy and physically active lifestyle.

Now is the time to back up words with actions.

Victor Hugo: ‘Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come’

What is an idea but a thought?

Nothing is impossible : If we are willing to take the time, spend the energy, and absorb the risks, we will meet with ‘success unexpected in common hours.’ We must be willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC ). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.
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