As TT continues to gradually lift its public covid19 restrictions, national athletes are gearing up for an anticipated return to elite training.

With the Tokyo Olympic Games just eight months away and a packed schedule of regional and international tournaments scheduled for early 2021, athlete-preparation remains top priority.

This was the sentiment shared by Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe during a meeting of the nation’s top sport administrators at the ministry’s Nicholas Tower office, in Port of Spain, on Monday.

“Preparedness must be high on our agenda for sport. As such, we need to address the issues that directly and indirectly affect our athletes especially as we re-strategise to get them back into training,” said Cudjoe.

Also present at Monday’s meeting were Sport Company of TT (SporTT) CEO Jason Williams and chairman Douglas Camacho, TT Olympic (TTOC) president Brian Lewis and National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) president Ephraim Serrette.

Cudjoe was supported by the ministry’s permanent secretary Angela Edwards and acting director of physical education and sports Patrice Charles.

During his address to the minister and other sporting administrators, Camacho said based on the SporTT’s analysis and trajectory, most sporting facilities are ready for athletes to return but with very strict protocols for use.

He said use of the facilities will be properly controlled and with processes and infrastructure in place for sanitisation.

As it relates to high-performance athletes, Camacho said SporTT continues to focus on offering services and support to them and intends to pay more attention to providing support in the area of sport psychology.

“We need to work with athlete right throughout their development, not just for tournaments,” he said.

Additionally, Lewis reminded members that even as they deliberate a return to sport and the revamping of TT’s sports calendar, attention must be placed on the impact of covid19 on the welfare, performance and health of all athletes.

He said, “We have an inherent responsibility to safeguard the health of athletes in our efforts to support their long term growth and career development.”

The meeting also discussed upcoming qualifiers, training programmes, and the administration of the Ministry’s Elite Athletes Assistance Programme (EAAP).

With the Olympics high on the agenda, Serrette spoke to the organisation’s development agenda and preparation for Carifta Games as a lead up to the 2021 Summer Games.

The NAAA president shared his organisation’s ongoing thrust to attract sponsorship from both the private and public sectors. He praised National Gas Company (NGC) for its continued support.

However, he indicated there was a need for other companies to come forward and partner given the potential of both the NAAA’s Youth Elite Athletes Programme and the Kids Athlete Programme.

Serrette was also pleased to see the merging of the sport portfolio with that of community development under one ministry. He reiterated the need for greater attention and investment in training coaches to support school and community programmes.

Minister Cudjoe commended Serrette for his service to the national sporting fraternity, and expressed the ministry’s commitment to working with the NAAA, TTOC and all sporting entities towards maximising the full potential of sport development in TT.


National teams allowed to resume training

National athletes can finally get back to some semblance of normal training activities after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a relaxing of restrictions for Trinidad and Tobago teams preparing for international competition.

However, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis...


The T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) continues to push for national sporting organisations (NSOs) to practice good governance, so on Saturday at its annual general meeting (AGM), the committee presented its governance report and made recommendations to ensure the sustainability of each member organisation.

TTOC president Brian Lewis, his executive and members gathered virtually as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which forced the postponement of the AGM which was due at the end of April.

Using the good governance commitment of seven points presented by the TTOC executive to the affiliates for approval and adoption at the AGM back in 2016 as a result of a series of interviews and a workshop by Professor Leigh Robinson, the expert from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it was revealed that the shortfall in management skills which was seen in 2015, is still valid today.

According to the report: "Activities such as marketing, planning and performance assessment are short-changed or even neglected in favour of the more technical aspects of the sport such as coaching and competition and NSOs are also very much in need of leadership training."

Last year, the TTOC conducted an audit of the NSOs in relation to the 2016 good governance commitment. This report was set out to establish a baseline measurement of the extent to which the seven elements of Professor Robinson’s proposed commitment to good governance have been adopted.

Based on the discussions held and questionnaires completed during last year's audit, it was noted that within the three-year period since the commitment was made, only two of the elements have been implemented by a significant number of NSOs. The first is a constitutional review and the second is, having role outlined for board positions.

As a result of these findings, the TTOC made a further commitment to the code stating: "As we approach another year when the World continues to face so much uncertainty let us make use of this opportunity to reflect and create the strategies to honour our commitment to the seven codes of 2016 to ensure the sustainability of our organisations and the practice of good governance."

Lewis enhanced this statement saying: "I predict the TTOC Governance report will become an essential and anticipated report by Sport Industry TT stakeholders. We will continue to work with sport governance experts such as Dr Leigh Robinson to improve the reporting mechanism.

"We also have the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) Universal standards and IOC governance standards."

Noted in the annual report was the significant increase in the number of requests to settle disputes between athletes and their respective NSOs which has made the thrust by the TTOC for good governance, even more relevant.

Under the heading mediation/arbitration it said: "Over the year, the TTOC has experienced a significant increase in the number of requests for mediation/arbitration between athletes and their respective NSOs. For the period January to December 2019, the TTOC facilitated six arbitration hearings and three arbitration appeal hearings. Each hearing lasts approximately two hours and requires a hearing committee of at least three persons.

"All hearings facilitated by the TTOC were successfully resolved."

Good news but the TTOC feels that it could better serve these organisations by developing strategic goals and direction, help the respective boards monitor the performance of its organisation to ensure it achieves these goals, and basically ensure that the NSO acts in the best interests of its members.

"It was clear from the audit interviews that, while affiliates read and even reviewed their constitutions, they were not always aware of what implications the language might have on their operations. In some instances, the language was more legal than practical, and in others, it was vague and left room for misinterpretation," the report stated. "Our first recommendation, therefore, is to ensure that all NSOs are adequately equipped and informed to understand, interpret and amend their constitutions."

The report advised that this can be accomplished through a series of practical workshops, within which organisations, grouped according to their size or similarity of sport (e.g. team sports), are educated, trained and advised by qualified persons on each aspect of their constitution.

"It is a process of engagement and facilitating," said Lewis. "In my view, it's important that we not use the report as a stick or punitive or to name and shame. We build awareness and create opportunities for improvement."

The report suggested that NSOs are also very much in need of leadership training. The priorities of NSOs are the day-to-day operations of their sport, while the more strategic activities are given attention mainly for reporting purposes.

In an effort to encourage better practices, the TTOC is considering implementing a mechanism that rewards affiliates who produce measurable evidence of good governance within a particular funding or other avenues that can act as external motivating factors for NSOs to lead in good governance practices or follow the examples of those who do.

"Eventually it will get to the point where the report will be used as a credible reference point on governance by the Ministry of Sport, Sport Company and Corporate T&T," said Lewis.


Dasheen is among a family of root crops or “ground provisions” grown on the islands of the English-speaking Caribbean, dating back to the early 16th century. Also known as taro, blue food and kalo, historians say that the crop arrived to the Caribbean aboard Trans-Atlantic slave ships, along with African food culture and agro-ecological knowledge.

Stories are told of African slaves foraging for the large, elephant ear leaves of the dasheen plant to make a stew called callaloo or in cassava fufu, a popular West African staple. Steeped in the trials of a colonial past, dasheen is one of a handful of crops that made their way into diets as a product of resourcefulness and making do with little.

Given its historical roots, the starchy tuber has not traditionally been associated with fine dining. Nor has it typically received any degree of noteworthy acclaim, despite its influence on local culture, and substantive nutritional, environmental and economic value.

But with the advent of more conscious eating patterns, the trendiness of farm to fork dining and an upsurge in demand for authentic culinary experiences and indigenous foods, the tuber has been experiencing a global resurgence.

Callaloo, the national dish of Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica, has become the most common recipe associated with dasheen leaves, and is enjoyed throughout the region and around the world. Introduced to a global audience in the 1980’s, as one of Dr Heathcliff Huxtable’s favourite foods in The Cosby Show, callaloo is thought to be an adaptation of a West African stew called palaver or palaya sauce and is traditionally served with a protein such as crab, salt fish or oxtail.


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) is converting its #10Golds2024 athlete welfare and preparation fund into its Team TTO Foundation as part of efforts to better financially support athletes.

The TTOC approved the change, which President Brian Lewis said should be completed by the end of the year, during its recent Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Fuelled by the TTOC’s annual marathon walk and merchandising, the fund has helped raise money for Olympic-bound athletes since it was created in December 2014.

"The lawyers are currently working on the necessary documentation for the conversion to a foundation," Lewis said.

"That is anticipated to be done by the end of 2020.

"This was presented inside the annual report which was approved."

The TTOC launched the #10Golds2024 initiative as part of the organisation's goal of winning 10 Olympic gold medals by the 2024 Games in Paris.

The National Olympic Committee also approved a considerable overhaul of its marketing strategy during the meeting.

Its marketing committee has been disbanded, with another group established to assess its strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused financial problems for organisations across sport and the Olympic Movement.

"The new marketing working group was formed with a view to establish a couple companies within the TTOC," Lewis said.

"One of which will be Team TTO Marketing Ltd and the other, Team TTO Media.

"We’re currently in the process of doing the necessary business plan and legal steps.

"The AGM was informed that we will be coming to them with more details in the coming months.

"We felt that was an important strategic imperative."

Lewis, also the President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, warned there was "a lot of work to do" regarding governance after a report on its national sports organisations was presented at the meeting.


A complete overhaul of its marketing strategy and the conversion of its 10 Gold by 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund were some of the major decisions made at the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) Annual General Meeting on Saturday.

But first, 32 delegates voted unanimously passed two amendments to the TTOC's constitution.

A new clause (Clause 22A) was inserted into Article 29 of the constitution to allow the staging and/or conducting of all meetings via teleconference.

The clause states that “any meeting, hearing or related activity which is being conducted in accordance with the committee’s constitution can be facilitated by any electronic or other method (which is facilitated by prevailing technology), which permits each attendee to view the other during the meeting without having to appear physically and in the same geographic location.”

Additionally, another amendment was inserted under Clause 16 "Executive" which removed personal liability for executive members and members of any committee or the arbitration tribunal for any decisions they make for the TTOC.

It states, “Members of the executive committee or any committee, body or group (such as the results management committee, arbitral tribunal/tribunal and any other association sponsored or organised by the committee) established by the committee is not personally liable for the debts, liabilities, claims or obligation of the committee.”

Each recommended amendment was passed unanimously.

Also, the TTOC’s 10 Gold by 2024 Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund will now be converted into the Team TTO Foundation. This fund is fuelled by the TTOC’s annual marathon walk and merchandising to raise funds for Olympic-bound athletes.

Lewis said, “The lawyers are currently working on the necessary documentation for the conversion to a foundation. That is anticipated to be done by the end of 2020. This was presented inside the annual report which was approved.”

In addition, TTOC’s marketing committee was disbanded and another group formed to reassess its marketing strategy during the pandemic. The TTOC executive decided that in order to facilitate the many radical changes and marketing transformations, with the sole objective of driving sustainable revenue, this has become necessary.

Lewis continued, “The new marketing working group was formed with a view to establish a couple companies within the TTOC. One of which will be Team TTO Marketing Ltd and the other, Team TTO Media.

“We’re currently in the process of doing the necessary business plan and legal steps. The AGM was informed that we will be coming to them with more details in the coming months. We felt that was an important strategic imperative.”

According to Lewis, the 2019 annual report would have informed the strategies for 2020, an Olympic year, but that was affected by covid19 and its economic negative impact.

TTOC’s first-ever good governance report was also presented at the AGM. At its last AGM in 2015, an amendment was made where the membership and affiliates unanimously agreed to abide by a good governance commitment.

The governance report was presented inside the annual report. As part of the annual report, the governance report was also part of the governance audit.

“The surveys done in this report, 26 of the 42 affiliates completed the report. This looked at things like reviews of the constitution and certain recommendations. Overall, there was still a lot of work to do in terms of governance,” said the TTOC head.

TTOC’s AGM was supposed to be held in April but was postponed because of the pandemic.

Lewis added, “The overall theme, in context of the annual report, was very transparent about sharing the challenges and risks that the TTOC would be facing. The annual report has been appraised so all the initiatives have been approved. It was successful...but we had to be very real with the member affiliates due to global health crisis.”