The impact of good governance on sport

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Recently a member of the business fraternity asked me with a great degree of exasperation: “Why is there so much confusion and bacchannal in local sport and what is the TTOC and Ministry of Sport doing about it ?” My response to the above question is captured in today’s column.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) included a good governance commitment in its constitution. The amendment was approved at the TTOC’s AGM in April 2016.

It was another step forward in the push to improve sports governance and will require all affiliated member sport organisations to adhere to basic universal governance principles.

Professor Leigh Robinson facilitated the TTOC’s “Good Sport Governance” week in November 2015 and returned to conduct another governance workshop on April 28 this year.

The TTOC also signed a MOU with the Sport Integrity Global Alliance in its effort to improve financial integrity and governance in local sport. A key aspect of the TTOC’s “Good Sport Governance” week was the consultation aimed at including sport stakeholders’ views in the good governance commitment.

Professor Robinson, head of sport studies at the University of Stirling, provided expertise in sport governance. The TTOC appointed its first Good Governance Commission in 2015.

To provide ongoing capacity building, the TTOC conducts at least five sport administration courses annually charging no fees and offering attendance opportunities to all sport stakeholders

A feature of the TTOC’s sport governance reform and modernisation advocacy and lobby is the intentional involvement of both the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company.

Robinson heard the views of a wide cross section of sport stakeholders. Her recommendations were a reflection of an inclusive process that afforded athletes a voice.

Having amended its constitution to include a good governance commitment, it would be a waste of time and a futile exercise without compliance and a sincere commitment.

A point candidly made by Robinson to the Ministry of Sport is that by continuing to fund national sport organisations who don’t adhere to universal principles of good governance — the ministry was rewarding poor governance.
Live free or die - Josiah Dunham

Last Saturday, I visited the Caribbean Centre for the Expression and Memory of the Slave Trade and Slavery, known as the Memorial ACTe.

Opened in July 2015, the interactive permanent exhibit intertwines the history of slavery with contemporary art and photography covering the theme of African diaspora. UNESCO has deemed it important enough to make it part of its Slave Route Project. The visit to the Memorial ACTe by delegates attending the 14th Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) General Assembly in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe provided an opportunity to reflect on the sociocultural and socioeconomic meaning and reality of the fact of slavery and the ongoing importance of Caribbean history.

The visit to the Memorial ACTe may well force CANOC to confront the impact of modern day slavery in its varied forms on sport in the region, and the role of sport and Olympism in addressing poverty reduction, income and wealth inequality and social injustice.

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

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