A new beginning. A brighter future. As T&T celebrates Divali— the festival of lights with the Hindu community—it seems as if it’s a clear sign not mere coincidence that the topic of today’s column offers a ray of hope and light. As sport both locally and internationally continues to face a relentless barrage of sordid headlines—all symptomatic of poor governance.

It’s timely that the focus today is good governance. Why? There is good news. The battle to improve good governance in T&T received a powerful boost last week. Good Sport governance is top of mind internationally, regionally and locally. The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) hosted last week its first ever “Good Sport Governance” week.  

A series of meetings were held with national sport organisations and sport stakeholders. Professor Leigh Robinson, head of sport studies at the University of Stirling provided expertise in sport governance. Supporting, the TTOC in its ongoing efforts to build leadership and governance capacity, knowledge and skill set is Olympic Solidarity.

A key aspect of the last week’s good sport governance week was the consultation aimed at including sport stakeholders views in the proposed good governance code for sport in T&T initiative that the TTOC is championing.

One of the breakthrough benefits was a heart-to-heart meeting involving the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, Sport Company of T&T and the Olympic committee. It was the first time such a collective gathering was held and all those present including Professor Robinson expressed profound appreciation for the opportunity to share ideas, concerns and views on governance.

Minister of Sport Darryl Smith must be commended for his enthusiastic support and endorsement. Minister Smith also seized the moment and allowed Professor Robinson to share her candid thoughts while at the same time making it crystal clear that improving governance is one of his priorities. The Ministry of Sport and Sport Company and the TTOC must work together and share resources.

The TTOC hosted a good governance workshop at Olympic House where Minister Smith addressed participants and sat in on the workshop for as long as his busy schedule allowed.

Also meeting with Professor Robinson were members of the TTOC Governance Commission. Members of the commission include Rikhi Rampersad, Brian Frontin, Axel Kravatzky, Jason Juillen and Brigadier General Anthony Phillip Spencer and Jeanne Borneo.

The TTOC have taken decisive steps. The good sport governance code project is combining the efforts and competencies of a broad collective of determination. A group that is resolute that in spite of the obstacles and lipservice that is so prevalent. It is time for sport in T&T to rebrand itself on the pillar of improved governance.

What’s to come? Publication of a best practice good sport governance code for TTOC and non Olympic sporting bodies and their stakeholders. This will include a commitment to regular consitutional review, term limitation, no automatic votes for outgoing executive members, four year term of office among other best practice principles and guidelines.

Publication of template governance structures, processes, and documents that reflect different types of organisations within the T&T sport sector.

Training, education and leadership and governance capacity building support and development mechanisms to help members of the TTOC stay updated with emerging governance best practice that is applicable to their organisations. Let’s not relent. Let’s remain resilient. Sport Matters.