Digitisation and Digitalisation and Technology can create economic and financial opportunities for youth and young people in Sport. Caribbean Sport Leaders must put interest of athletes and sport ahead of personal self interest and ambition.

As changing spending patterns push companies to e-commerce and digitalization, the Caribbean’s economy will be impacted by the change in consumer behaviour.  The economic and financial landscape will be even more competitive.  There will be an acceleration of the implementation of new technology. There will be greater business-to-business e-commerce, on-line payments and mobile e-commerce. Digital marketing is growing in popularity.  The benefits of digitisation is real.

Leveraging digitalisation to improve the sport environment should be a priority.  There are a number of stumbling blocks.  Overcoming these stumbling blocks will require removing the obstacles of red tape and addressing inefficiencies and the factors that lead to these inefficiencies.

Last Friday (31st July, 2020) the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) celebrated CANOC Day - the 17th Anniversary.  It was held virtually.  In my capacity as President of CANOC, I made the point in my feature address that it is a dawn of a new era for the Caribbean Olympic Movement.  The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has accelerated the digital transformation strategy.  If the Caribbean Olympic Movement is to fulfil its potential, it has to embrace the digital revolution to remain relevant to the youth and young people of the region.

I acknowledge, it is easier said than done, as it represents a sea change in mindset and attitude - set against the backdrop of no Tokyo2020 as scheduled.  The original plan was to celebrate CANOC Day 2020 in Tokyo - but it was not to be - and it makes little sense to lament on the what ifs.  With a number of negative variables present, the leadership of CANOC cannot take the easy solution of pessimism. Hence the embrace of digital.  It is my firm view that adopting a digital mindset and way of thinking will unearth and uncover new opportunities and next generation solutions.  It will present a new way of looking at long standing problems and obstacles.

As the Caribbean Olympic Movement, comprised of 29 countries, focuses on 2021 and beyond, it is important to empower the strength of a shared vision and goals.

In the changed world of ‘new normal’ there are opportunities to break barriers and ceilings built by inequalities and in some instances, systemic denial of economic and technological resources.

Sport, youth and young people have a natural synergy that the Caribbean Olympic Movement must operationalise.  For too long sport has been overlooked as an economic driver.

2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic provides context for transformation.  Assumptions made are that what is in the best interest of sport and the Caribbean Olympic Movement and the youth and young people takes priority, as well as the leadership of Olympic sport in the Caribbean will not allow self-interest and sport politics to supersede the best interest of the youth and young people.  The root cause of most of the infighting and controversy has nothing to do with the best interest of the athletes and sustainable development.

I believe that digitalisation can enhance good governance, transparency and accountability.

The importance of addressing systemic racism, racial discrimination and inequalities in international sport and the Olympic Movement. The economic, social and financial opportunities that international sport provides to the youth and young people, must not be denied them because Olympic Movement sport leaders in the Caribbean are comfortable pursuing self-interest and personal ambition at the expense of our region's athletes.  If the Caribbean Olympic Movement sport leaders fail to learn from history, we will repeat the evils of Colonialism and Slavery.

Why are some global athletes able to leverage the economic and financial benefits and opportunities while others do not or cannot, speaks to a deeper conversation and understanding of how we in the Caribbean have been socialised.

Brian Lewis- President of Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC)