Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement that phase three of the reopening of the T&T economy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions began on Monday was met with welcome relief by many citizens but mostly the business sector.

The coronavirus brought the entire world, not just T&T to its knees, unprecedented and uncharted. Many lives were lost. Several Public Health systems were tested to the point of failure. Social and Economic upheaval led to bankruptcies and an uncertain future for many businesses.

Sports faced unimagined challenges and shut down. No country, no sport was spared including the Olympic Games scheduled for this year.

Where do we go from here? How do we recover and rebuild? What aspect of life including sport will be forever changed? In certain aspects, there is no going back.

Recently, I had the opportunity to give the keynote address at an International Virtual Event hosted in Australia. The theme of the event centred around Every Crisis Creates Opportunity (ECCO), a Think Tank forum, by the founder of The Brand Builders and social impact leader, Vickie Saunders (Australia).

My keynote address entitled “Opportunities within Crisis” focused on my point of view on coping with the COVID-19 restrictions, surviving the many changes and assessing the opportunities presented during the Government ordered stay at home and how do we all thrive beyond the global pandemic.

I focused on the idea that reflection is important. Asserting that if we didn’t use the stay at home downtime to reflect and change the way we look at things, we would waste the COVID-19 Pandemic crisis.

The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) office was closed and staff were working from home. How did the TTOC pivot and adjust? By accelerating its digital transformation. Online courses back-to-back. Upcoming events will be virtual. The TTOC will not return to business as usual or operational status quo. Since 2013 digital and virtual transformation has been a strategic objective but making the quantum leap forward has been incremental even reluctant. Then came the virus and the quantum leap had to be made. There were no longer any culture, mental or emotional barriers it was a matter of embrace the new normal or be consigned to dinosaur status.

Self-reliance is the name of the game as economic dark clouds gather. Being overwhelmed and intimidated by uncertainty and unknown variables surrounding the COVID-19 became an accelerator rather than an inhibitor.

As I reflected on every aspect of life, not just sports and business, I found clarity in the discomfort and chaos. The coronavirus provides everyone with an opportunity to make the changes that must be made to be empowered, to survive and eventually thrive in the current COVID-19 and post COVID-19 world.

Self-reliance, determination, courage, discipline, transformation and innovation will be important watchwords post COVID-19. It is a period in time for fearless choices and the courage to try new things. We mustn’t be afraid to step away from an old dream and create a new one. We must not flinch in the face of adversity.

Editor’s Note:

Brian Lewis is the president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the views express are not those of the organisation.