Despite a national budget of close to $60 billion, sport organisations, athletes and laudable programmes must scrap among themselves for a measly $57 million. You read right! It’s not a typo - $57 million is correct.

There are those who will point to the capital and social sector, Ministry of Sports and Sport Company of T&T goods and services expenditure to support their contention that the public sector and Government is taking sport serious.

The numbers don’t add up. Something is wrong with the sport investment formula.

Good governance, checks and balances must be compulsory. National sport organisations that aren't in compliance with basic requirements shouldn't get one cent from the public purse.

There are plans to revise the national sport policy. But how can you revise a policy that has not been fully implemented, monitored and evaluated.

This is another call for open discussions and dialogue.

A number of national sport organisations have found themselves battling for their existence as the financial and economic shackles can’t be broken.

As an organisation and institution, the Olympic Committee must remain nonpolitical. However, it has a duty to comment on the important issues that affect sport.

There are decisions being made that may not necessarily be in the best interest of sport in the country.

If we have to leave a positive sport legacy for our children and grandchildren, sport stakeholders must speak out and continue to speak out on issues that are fundamental to the sustainable development of sport and a sport industry.

Sport should not be classified as a drain on the treasury. The need for constructive and purposeful dialogue with national sport organisations is now urgent if the local sport system is to undergo a radical change from the dysfunctional realities.

We have to support new behaviour. Some of the actions that must become part of our daily behaviour patterns include:

- Consistent attention to execution and implementation

- Appropriate action must be decisively taken

- Fully account for and report on all public monies received

- Funding decisions must be fair and transparent

- Justify why projects and programmes should be funded

- Sport stakeholders must be told why their projects and or programmes are selected or rejected

- Criteria should be informed by policy

As local sport seeks to tackle difficult, complex issues an important element is to avoid the blind spots. Clearing away any blind spots requires a clear understanding of:

- The decisions that need to get made

- Within what timeframe will decisions happen?

- What are the key decisions that will be made that will make a significant difference

- Were all the options considered?

- Is there the capacity, resources and expertise to influence all of the decisions?

- What are the disincentives or barriers?

Investments in sport are crucial and urgent. There is need to create a larger pool of participants.

T&T should make sport development an integral part of the national economic development master plan. Sport and a sport industry is a means of job creation and can lift many families out of poverty. And be an engine of economic development, poverty eradication and reduction.

Sport enhances T&T’s national image, brand value and international status.

The positive benefits of sport outweighs the negatives - be it professional, amateur or recreational/social sport.

T&T must tap into the unlimited potential of sport. Let’s get serious about sport and sport development in T&T. There are significant barriers and issues that need to be confronted not tomorrow, today.

Brian Lewis is the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the national Olympic committee.

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