Post Life Sport, what do we need to do to achieve sustainable development of sport, recreation and physical activity? What must we do to make real the aspirations of 10 or more Olympic Gold medals by 2024? How do we promote world class standards in sport? Press re-boot and make structural and systemic changes including mindset and culture?

Should sport be decentralised from Ministry of Sport, and Sport Company (Sportt). National Sport Organisations  (NSOs) have a direct relations with Tobago House of Assembly, Regional and Municipal Corporations, Ministry of Education and other partners within the institutional framework as defined in the national sport policy. Is the solution a Sport Commission? 

The national sport policy established in 2002 provided a systematic framework. Managing, administration and leading their respective sports is the responsibility of the various NSOs. Sportt is responsible for facilitating the execution of the mandates of each NSO.

Established under the companies act Chapter 81:01 in 2004, Sportt is a special purpose company created to implement the national sport policy. It is the delivery arm of the Ministry of Sport for sport services and is mandated by Cabinet to do a number of things. First on the list is to establish the Sport Commission of Trinidad and Tobago. 

What ever became of that? Why no progress?  

Is red tape and bureaucracy causing unintended problems in the sport system?

It is a matter of public record that no national sport organisation or governing body was involved in the 500 million  Life Sport debacle. Lifesport was not the fault of two individuals. It was a systemic failure.  Tarouba did not involve any NSOs. 

A system of constant dialogue and feedback with NSOs and their stakeholders enhance synergies, integration, collaboration and respectful cooperation and build the capacity and capabilities of NSOs. Decisions on what are priority areas require genuine consensus. Forward thinking future back vision and agenda will create a step change and breakthrough for sport in T&T. 

But it will not happen in a “me first and to hell with the rest” culture and mindset. Sport matters be it youth criminality, gender equity, social development, youth development, social justice and sustainable development, small business development and entrepreneurship.

Undue and unfair criticism of national sport organisations without a clear understanding and appreciation of what the issues are is not productive or constructive. Building institutional capacity, improving productivity, efficency and effectiveness of national sport organisations is a key priority.

Empowering, enabling and improving national sport organisations will foster sustainable sport development. Let’s ensure that our programmes promote sustainable sport development. Physical activity, high quality physical education, school sport all matters. A balanced and healthy lifestyle attracts and develop the sporting stars of tomorrow. Build a brighter future for the young people  through sport.

Sport stakeholders please  examine the various manifestos and evaluate them to see what are the plans, policy prescriptions and initiatives  for sport. Get a clear understanding of what the future may hold. Let the sport vote make a difference. Once you have played sport at a  competitive level, you learn that if you doubt yourself you have already lost. Its not a cliche.

As we strive to create sustainable excellence in sport there will be many bad days. What we must never lose is our self belief. Those who believe that 10 Olympic Gold medals by 2024 and that the sport vote can not make a difference in a general election in Trinidad and Tobago are many. But thats okay. Sport matters. One day T&T will accept sport as more than leisure and a pasttime. 

Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic 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

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