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T&T Budget lacks details on sports
« on: September 15, 2014, 07:53:26 AM »
T&T Budget lacks details on sports
 
Anand Rampersad
Published: Guardian
Monday, September 15, 2014

As much as it was laudable for the budget statement 2014/15 to acknowledge sport development as the sixth (6th) component for establishing an inclusive society, it regretfully fell short of providing important details as to how this development will take place. The information does not provide a basis as to assess the developments that have made as well as a means to assess the plans for the future. Maybe the Minister of Sports in his contribution to the budget debate will provide some of the following detailed information:

i) To what extent is the enabling framework comprising of infrastructure, management and coaching, talent building, the welfare of athletes and sport tourism has been completed? What is the model that is informing the formation of this framework?

ii) Is there a clearly defined conceptualization and plan to promote sports tourism? If so, how is this plan to be rolled out over the next fiscal year in the first instance? What activities have been used over the past fiscal year to promote sports tourism? What have been the benefits and the challenges? What measures are to be undertaken improve over the previous year?

iii) How much monies have been expended on the elite athlete programme? How many athletes have benefitted? Which sporting discipline/s has received the largest support and why? How is the return on the investment being measured?

iv) With the 2016 Rio Olympics 2 years away, what funding is be allocated to the athletes who are more likely to not just participate in the Games but are actually likely to medal? Is there an active working arrangements with the TTOC that clearly identifies a strategy to win medals in 2016?

v) The annual $36.2 million to be expended to support the development of football throughout the country is welcomed. However, no other sporting disciplines must be deprived of funding to develop their sporting infrastructure and sport.

vi) What were the estimated costs and actual costs of upgrading the 5 multi-purpose stadia? Is there proper oversight in these projects? Is there a maintenance plan for these facilities and others being built so to reduce any unnecessary costs of upgrade in the future? Given normal usage when is the next schedule of maintenance to take place?

vii) How much financial assistance have been provided to national sporting bodies? Which sporting bodies have received the bulk of the assistance and why? Are sporting bodies efficient in providing their respective budgets and accompanying documentations?

viii) How many sporting groups have received financial assistance over the last fiscal year? Who are these groups and what have the assistance been?

ix) The increased participation in various sporting disciplines as stated in the budget requires quantification. Is there any robust reliable data that shows how much participation has increase or decrease by in various sporting disciplines across age, gender, social class, geography and ethnicity?

x) What is the plan to utilise the increased number of upgraded recreational grounds with floodlights throughout the country to increase participation in sports and physical activities? If sports is to play a role in creating a more inclusive society, then sports for development must have a clearly identifiable plan with targets and measurement of progress.

xi) More details of the proposed Trinidad and Tobago National Games have to be provided. For instance information has to be provided as to its purpose, intended benefits, and why only cricket, football, netball, basketball and athletics. Will it be doing anything new from what already exist? Duplication of scarce resources is uneconomical. Are other sporting disciplines to be included?

xii) When are the National Aquatic Centre, National Tennis Centre and the National Cycle Centre are to be completed? Are these mega projects within budget? Are the plans afoot to market these facilities to attract international athletes on a continuous basis so as to contribute to their overall management? Are there plans to construct 4-5 star hotels, shopping areas among other amenities in the vicinity of the National Aquatic Centre and National Cycle Centre in Couva? These will be required to form part of any marketing strategy when approaching international athletes and teams to choose the facilities for their training. Additionally, these supporting facilities will be required when hosting international events.

xiii) What is the status of the Brian Lara stadium? Is it an official expensive white elephant to constantly remind taxpayers that grandeur ideas may not always bear fruits!!! What guarantees are there in place to ensure the three state of art sporting facilities that being constructed will not be another the Brian Lara stadium?

xiv) What were the sporting benefits of the LifeSport programme? How much monies have been spent on the Hoop of Life Programme? What are the tangible benefits of the programme as related to its objectives? Was the programme necessary?

Detailed information on the aforementioned comments and questions should provide a starting basis for establishing a long-term development of sports and sports for development programme for the country.