“Preparedness must be high on our agenda for Sport, as such, we need to address the issues that directly and indirectly affect our athletes especially as we re-strategize to get them back into training.” This was the sentiment expressed by the Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister of Sport and Community Development as she met with representatives of the Ministry, Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT), Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), and the National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAA) on November 2, 2020, at the Ministry’s Nicholas Tower head office. SPORTT was represented by Chairman Douglas Camacho and CEO Jason Williams, TTOC was represented by President Brian Lewis, and NAAA was represented by President Ephraim Serrette. Minister Cudjoe was supported by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Angela Edwards, and the Acting Director of Physical Education and Sports, Mr. Patrice Charles.
SporTT Chairman, Douglas Camacho apprised the meeting of the state and status of all the sporting facilities managed by SporTT and advised that based on the company’s analysis and trajectory, most facilities are ready for athletes to return but with very strict protocols for use. He stressed that use of the facilities will be properly controlled and with processes and infrastructure in place for sanitization. The TTOC President indicated that even as we deliberate on our return to sport and the revamping of our sports calendar, we must pay specific attention to the impact of COVID on the welfare, performance and health of all athletes. He stressed that “we have an inherent responsibility to safeguard the health of athletes in our efforts to support their long term growth and career development.”
As it relates to high-performance athletes, Mr. Camacho indicated that SportTT continued to focus on offering services and support to them, and intends to pay more attention to providing support in the area of sport psychology. Mr. Camacho stated that “we need to work with athlete right throughout their development, not just for tournaments.” The meeting also discussed upcoming qualifiers, training programmes, and the administration of the Ministry’s Elite Athletes Assistance Programme (EAAP).
With the Olympics high on the agenda, the NAAA’s President, Ephraim Serrette spoke to the organization’s development agenda and preparation for CARIFTA Games as a lead up to the Olympics. Mr Serrette, also a Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, former athlete, shared the NAAA’s ongoing thrust to attract sponsorship from both the private and public sectors. He praised NGC for its continued support, however, indicated that there was a need for other companies to come forward and partner given the potential of both the NAAA’s Youth Elite Athletes Programme and the Kids Athlete Programme.
Mr. Serrette expressed that he was pleased to see the merging of the Sports portfolio with that of Community Development under one Ministry and committed to supporting government the Ministry’s efforts to advance community sports across Trinidad and Tobago. He, however, reiterated the need for greater attention and investment in training coaches to support school and community programmes.
Minister Cudjoe commended Mr. Serrette for his steadfast service to the national sporting fraternity and expressed the Ministry’s commitment to working with the NAAA, TTOC and all sporting entities towards maximizing the full potential of sport development in our country.