It has been a tumultuous year for sport. There is just so much that is wrong with the “industry” in this country that a 500-page novel would be required to disseminate some of the pertinent information.
Recent events like the shooting of national footballer Keron Cummings shines a poor light on sport.
It seems like there is little or no recognition given to representing your country.
One would have thought that Cummings was well known in the area, and the respect, honour and pride he and others like him bring to this country, would have meant something.
It matters not who you are and what role you play from rich to poor man, from beggar to thief to industrialist, there should be only one distinction, that is we are all citizens of this country and we celebrate when our sporting personalities excel.
For this to happen to Cummings is not only a dastardly act but also disturbing if indeed there was an intent to ruin his playing career.
This is the sad reckless abandon that symbolises the mentality in this country which affects more than just those in the streets or on the roads, but also those in administration in T&T.
And while no one can say that the reckless disregard by the Cricket Board (TTCBC) to listen to the wider world, where one man one vote is now becoming a reality from the days of dictatorship, it is very much the same thing, without a bullet, and threat of life as the consequence.
Within the last few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion on the paucity of the West Indies cricket, and a lot is being made of the fact, that while other teams are not hindering players who play international T20 cricket, the West Indies Cricket Board are doing just that.
It appears now that Suruj Ragoonath and the TTCBC are following the leader with bad consequences for our cricket. They have dropped Reyad Emrit as captain of the national team and terminated the contracts of some other players.
It is this pettiness that shows the ineptitude of the TTCBC, although there are those that believe that the current president Azim Bassarath, is not involved because he has other affairs to deal with.
However, as the “Boss,” he must be held accountable otherwise he will be caught with his pants down and have to pay for all of this.
Football is on another pathway with new strong leadership under David John Williams. However there continues to be a trend in this sport of a lack of funding which appears to have no solution.
It is incumbent that the Minister of Sports Daryl Smith starts to act soon in ensuring the players are happy and contented and their payments up to date.
This must be a priority for Smith.
Like most of the country, I have absolutely no faith in the Ministry of Sports, nor the Sports Company under Michael Phillips but I do believe there is hope.
John Williams’ new administration has inherited a lot of bad debts and needs assistance. There is no doubt that should the national men’s team progress to the next round of World Cup qualification, the entire country will be in a better mood, as well as if our women’s team can also gain assistance and advance to the Rio Olympics for the first time ever, this country may forget many ills.
Other sports, like basketball, gymnastics, swimming, cycling and boxing, both professional and amateur, continue to be mired in maladministration and with leadership issues which stifle the progress of our sporting sons and daughters rather than allowing the respective sports to exhale.
A change in leadership of all of these institutions can only help, providing they allow for free and fair elections.
When one examines the three sports that operate efficiently, it is no surprise, given their quality of leadership, athletics under Ephraim Serrette continues to lead the way in both performance and results.
Their success is measured and planned and most importantly continuous.
Likewise both netball under Pat Butcher and hockey under Douglas Camacho, have quietly and smoothly gone about their business without much fanfare, other than prudent effective management and this has certainly worked for their respective sports.
At the same time, it is no coincidence that the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, under current president Brian Lewis, continues to set the benchmark in terms of proactive thinking and forward marketing, while also ensuring both transparency and accountability.
It is no surprise that many of the sporting organisations in this country have to engage the services of the TTOC, as mediators in many of their matters.
It is hoped that the lessons that are taught by the TTOC will soon enable other sporting organisations to make better informed decisions.
Those who dare say ten or more Gold Medals by 2024 is a dream, really do not understand the value of sports and its impact on the minds and hearts of a society like ours.
And with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio less than eight months away, everyone must unite around the TTOC as they seek to encourage our athletes to be successful and improve on their performances.
A couple of Gold Medals in 2016 is quite a pleasant thought for this country, whatever lies ahead.
Happy and prosperous New Year to all.