Sport and Youth Affairs minister Darryl Smith has apologised to all young people for the negativity in sport today and called on the local fraternity to cleanse the varied ills at home.

Speaking at the Secondary School Cricket League North Zone Awards at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Sunday, the minister said sport was going through extreme turmoil, not just locally but across the world. “It’s not just in the ministry of Sport, but with West Indies cricket, with Fifa, every single day is some form of embarrassment. And you know what? Most of it is not the fans. Most of it is not the players or the athletes. It’s the coaches, the ministers, the PS, (permanent secretaries), the administrators.”

Smith said he captained a number of team successfully over the years and now considers himself the captain of sport in T&T. “I am promising you here today that I will not let you down, I will lead by example. It will have ethics, it will have transparency, but most of all it will have a minister who will not be trying to select teams in varies NGBs (national governing bodies). I always say leave the stars to the astronomers and what I have seen here tonight, I think cricket at the secondary school level in the north zone is in good hands.”

Smith said the culture of making decisions based on race will be outlawed from his ministry. “In school, you always learn that the quickest way from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ is a straight line, but sometimes in politics, politicians tend to deviate from that. From the time you start to do that, you go off course and make wrong decisions.”

Smith added, “You are going to be seeing a lot of improvements with regard to the ministry. I am not an expert. I am going to need advice from people. You are going to get a minister that listens. The time has come for decisions intended to benefit sport to be made using empirical evidence and not using the breeze. We need to make decisions based on proper data collection. We make decisions because it feels good or because it’s the in-thing. We need to collect data in sport: in cricket at secondary schools, look at it analyse it and made decisions so we could get the best bang for our buck.”