Structural adjustment or recession, whatever the experts choose to call it, the reality is there is not enough money flowing in the system here in T&T. How do we create more cash flow? What can we do?
What is never in recession is the human spirit, creativity and imagination and mankind's ability when faced with adversity to emerge triumphant. For sure it’s going to be traumatic for some, especially those who lack the self belief. Some are already predicting, if not doom and gloom, dark times.
You may say it’s wishful thinking but I don’t believe things will be as dire as some may have us believe. What I do believe is that we will be tested and put to the test. But it’s a challenge we should all relish since adversity builds a nation and I have little doubt that T&T will be better for the experience.
Many will be facing structural adjustment or recession for the first time. How to do without and cut back will be uncharted waters. But no matter what, the opportunity to emerge stronger is something we should not discount. Sport and those involved in sport will either sink or swim.
Adaptive will be the word used to describe the sport organisations that will stand tall. The organisations that are not adaptive will find themselves in a distinctive tail spin and for some, survival will be their priority.
It’s in stressful times that an organisation’s mission, vision and purpose provide the buffer against danger. National sport organisations will have to revisit their mission, vision and purpose and seek the inspiration and motivation that will embolden their determination to overcome the rough seas of austere economic circumstances.
That we are in an environment where sport is not seen as necessary and urgent may not please some but don’t be lulled into a false sense of comfort.
Sport for many may seem as a luxury and therefore surplus to requirements but regardless of what the views may be, sport matters on a number of fronts and may well turn out to be the saving grace for T&T.
It is not only national sports organisations that will have it all to do, since the Ministry of Sport and the Sport Company are both facing tall mountains. The challenge facing all of us is to spend time building the capacity to trust one another so that we can marshall the collective will and drive to forge a sustainable growth path for sport.
How do we prioritise? How do we allocate reduced resources? How do we balance the quest for medals with the efforts to grow participation and by so doing foster healthy living.
The challenge of embracing sport as a business while at the same time appreciating that just participating for social and recreational objectives is what the majority of people want to be able to do is real. We have to ensure there is no mismatch between policy and practice.
Even as hard decisions are made, inequality and marginalisation are the unintended consequences. There are unknown risks and challenges and responding to those threats will be essential. Leaders across all walks of life will be tested like never before but that’s why they have been given the mantle of leader.
Get it right and sport will assist in the economic recovery.
• Brian Lewis is president of the Olympic Committee (TTOC). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.
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