First Citizens has come on board as a tier one, a platinum partner of the T&T Olympic Committee towards its #10Golds24 initiative.
The partnership was announced by Karen Darbasie, Group Chief Executive Officer First Citizens along with a cheque presentation for an undisclosed sum to T&TOC president, Brian Lewis at First Citizens Corporate Centre, Queen’s Park East, Port- of-Spain, yesterday.
The T&TOC is on a mission to achieve 10 or more Olympic gold medals by the year 2024 (#10Golds24).
Through its Athlete and Preparation Fund, they seek to cultivate a system of excellence that clarifies the development pathway and performance management system that will holistically foster, mentor, nurture and develop Olympians and Olympic champions and First Citizens has come on board in support of local athletes in their journey towards achieving that goal.
Darbasie, in her address, likened the partnership formed between her company and the T&T Olympic Committee to a 'gayap'.
Darbasie said, "The T&TOC's invitation for partnership, draws from the exact ideals that have made the 'gayap' such a tried and true system - celebrating the spirit of unity, to achieve a shared goal.
"Today, having accepted that invitation, First Citizens has partnered with T&TOC for the very first time, as we join other corporate sponsors on the journey to achieving 10 gold medals by 2024.
She noted that there was very little opposition among her peers as to whether First Citizens should get involved when approached by the T&TOC saying: In fact, there was little deliberation over whether we should be involved in an initiative that stands to catapult the sporting status of our country and our athletes, by leaps and bounds."
"Like the T&TOC we understand the immense responsibility of taking a homegrown brand to the global stage. Some days the journey feels like an exciting dash, where the only thing that stands between you and success is 100m.
"Other days it takes 'real belly' as we say in local parlance, to stay the long and arduous course. Whatever the challenge, its all a part of the quest for glory."
She added, "Like the 'gayap' partnership is what will make these 10 golds possible and that certainly doesn't mean relying solely on the assistance will come from the Ministry of Sports. The partnership means all of us working together with our athletes, the government yes, but also, the administrators, the media, corporate citizens, individual citizens, communities, parents, family, friends, and the athletes."
Reflecting on Keshorn Walcott's historic javelin gold medal at London 2012, Darbasie said, 'I am certain we will recall that when Keshorn Walcott won gold, whether you were from Toco or Tobago, you felt like that was your gold medal too, and everyone appreciated a national holiday to celebrate a nation's hero. That's the essence of our national motto, "Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve.'
"And so the vision of the T&TOC is likewise our vision. We hope that our contribution will go a long way in helping our athletes to realize our Olympic dream.
"It's an opportunity for T&T to show the best of the human spirit, to defy the odds and to create nail-biting moments that we will talk about for generations.
Darbasie in giving her full support to the initiative told Lewis that First Citizens, it's Sports Foundation and the group that stands behind the Sports Foundation is really happy to partner with the T&TOC.
She added, "We are really happy to partner with the head sporting committee, looking forward to continuing the partnership, we have started the road and we are going to continue the road with you all. It's a big step forward and a step on a journey we intend to continue."
Lewis noted it may sound cliche but today (yesterday) is a very important day for the T&TOC as it marked the dawn of a new era with First Citizens.
Recalling the bank's history or the DNA of First Citizens which began in 1914 as the T&T Co-operative Bank (Penny Bank), followed by the Workers Bank, National Commercial Bank and then morphed into First Citizens Bank in 1993, there were many people in our society wishing it will fail, and who did not share the aspirations and dreams to lift our country and lift our people and lift the young people in particular of T&T, stated Lewis.
And it is in that DNA and shared values that the T&TOC stands and Team T&TOC stands because when we articulated ten golds by 2024, we were laughed at, but we don't take that personal we take that as an inspiration and as motivation.
We believe in the potential and talent in the youth, and we can aspire to be a global brand and symbol and motivation of success.
For us at the T&TOC it is not a job, we do it voluntarily, we do it unpaid, we do it as part of our service and contribution to the youth and young people of T&T, and it is in that regard that we stand proudly, and we are happy to embark upon a new phase of our journey with First Citizens because they are an indigenous bank, they represent and encapsulate the vision, the dreams, and aspiration of T&T.