A good governance commitment report will be presented at Saturday’s TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) virtual annual general meeting (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.

This amendment was made after good governance workshops facilitated by Dr Leigh Robinson, head of sport studies, University of Stirling, Scotland. This was a collaborative project between the TTOC and Olympic Solidarity.

Coming out of that process of consultation with all stakeholders including Sport Company of TT, Ministry of Sport and all the member affiliates of the TTOC, it was tabled at the 2015 AGM to make such an amendment.

TTOC president Brian Lewis said Thursday, “Part of that commitment included reporting and a commitment to review constitutions every four years. This is the first time that the report will be presented. It has taken at least four years but it’s an evolutionary step.

“But we believe that the issue surrounding governance in sport and the Olympic Movement requires that the TTOC implements the whole commitment that was made by its members. That is going to be an important aspect of the first virtual AGM.”

Additionally, Saturday’s virtual AGM will feature an amendment to strengthen the mediation and arbitration process of the TTOC.

Prior to the start of the meeting, another amendment to the constitution is expected to be moved to allow virtual council and AGMs.

Once successful, the AGM will be held at 9.30am. Among the items on the agenda are the presentation of the audited financial statements and the annual general report.

Lewis added, “It’s all about digitalisation and digitisation. The TTOC has accelerated its digitalisation and digitisation transformation. It all augurs well for the future. The TTOC will really be taking the whole digital virtual process extremely seriously. The intention is to transition the TTOC to a paperless operation.”


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) is expected to amend its constitution to accelerate the organisation’s transformation to a more digital environment and present a Good Governance report when its AGM comes off from 9.30 a.m. this morning.

The AGM will also move an amendment to strengthen...


The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) is committed to making Long-Term Development the industry standard for their sport system, and recently teamed up with Sport for Life to put on a six-part web series available to industry professionals. Aimed at addressing identified gaps in their athlete pathways, the Zoom meetings were ultimately a well-attended success.

Reflecting on the experience, TTO Olympic Committee Secretary General Annette Knott said this latest collaboration is just the latest development in a relationship that’s been growing since Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) participated in a Sport for Life pilot project in 2015. She’s thrilled to see the relationship flourishing. 

“With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing all of us to rethink how we operate, the TTOC grasped this opportunity to upgrade our coaching education and use the additional time afforded to all at home to upgrade skills. The webinars introduced the concepts to some and to many they became a welcomed refresher course on Long-Term Development,” she said. 

“Thanks to the experts from Sport for Life and our team here on the ground in Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Marcano and Kion Williams, we are renewed and refreshed in our motivation and vision for ensuring that our sport, education and health systems acknowledge, encourage and integrate. the concepts of  Long Term Development as a way of life.”

Addressing drop-out at the Train to Train stage

Sharon Bravo-Phillip knew what she needed to learn before even signing up for the webinar. 

Earlier this year, the Trinidad and Tobago (TTO) Gymnastics trustee and public relations officer registered for Sport for Life’s Zoom six-part series on how to properly implement Long-Term Development into her sport organization. She’d already identified a problem within their structure she wanted to address: there seemed to be an unusually high drop-out rate at the Train to Train stage. She wanted to understand the issue better so that she could help keep the athletes engaged.

“I believe in continuous learning, so I participated in the Long-Term Development webinar. I was hoping to get an overview based on the data as to why this drop off at the Train to Train stage was happening, and most importantly recommended steps to correct it or prevent it from happening,” she told Sport for Life. 

“I truly appreciated and enjoyed all the selected instructors as they shared their knowledge and experience on the topic. The webinar helped immensely by identifying the gaps I have to address as a coach and then also as an organization to truly ensuring physical literacy is a part of every program.”

The class also clarified her thinking about one of the issues TTO is facing: the lack of supportive community infrastructure. Seeing the juxtaposition of some of the sport programs in Canada and comparing them to the existing ones in her country made for a stark comparison. On the other hand, fun exercises and ice-breakers “reminded us of our rich culture that we sometimes take for granted because it is what we are used to.”

Keeping kids active without breaking the bank

The webinar was delivered by Long-Term Development expert Adam Decker, with support from Sport for Life team members such as facilitator Drew Mitchell and Kabir Hosein - who is also from TTO - as well as Carolyn Trono and Tom Jones. With nearly 100 attendees at each webinar so far, the series has proven to be a hit in the Caribbean. Decker has worked with sport organizations all over the world, but said it was an exciting new experience to be exposed to TTO culture. 

“It was refreshing to hear that a lot of the issues they were having to establish Long-Term Development were similar to issues we’ve faced in Canada. Their culture in TTO is different but in the big picture we’re looking at similar themes in terms of the system challenges that were taking place,” said Decker. 

“We spent a lot of time talking about the high rates of athletes dropping out, and the reasons are the same in TTO and Canada — things like coaches focusing too much on winning rather development, not enough time for school or a social life, and too much training that leads to mental and physical burn-out.”

Decker covered daily monitoring strategies, sensitive periods of training, and organizational issues that can lead to athlete disengagement. A common theme was how to accomplish some of the loftier goals on a shoe-string budget.

“The financial barriers came up a lot. That exists in Canada as well, but it’s amplified in TTO, and that’s not something you would naturally assume. I think many people picture it as this glamorous and wealthy place, but that’s not necessarily always the case. So we discussed solutions and alternatives that will give them the ability to keep kids active without having to break the bank.”

Two of the elements that made the web series successful, according to Sport for Life’s Senior Manager of Operations and Newcomers Engagement Kabir Hosein, was that facilitators used examples from TTO while using an interactive PDF guidebook that participants could fill out and make relevant to their operating context.

“In each module the facilitator would give a Canadian or theoretical example, then I would add a TTo example and in some cases I asked participants to unmute themselves and add to it, which added a local flavour to the classes that I think was appreciated.”


When he set out the economic future of TT in the reading of the 2020/2021 budget on October 5, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the country's development "must be anchored on the newly emerging digital model."

Government's steps to the updated development model include the removal of taxes on devices including laptops and cell phones, allowances to businesses that invest in tech start-ups, businesses in tech solutions and those that create jobs in the tech industry. These fiscal measures take effect on January 1, 2021 and the budget reserves $3 million for each business model, an indication that government is further integrating information communication technology (ICT) in the operations of the state and daily lives of people.

The minister also said the government has budgeted to provide approximately 45,000 students across TT with mifi modems which will allow them to have access to the internet. The mifi provision programme will be reinforced by another drive where internet cafes throughout rural TT will be supported with infrastructure to ensure people have internet access.

Further ICT integration is evident in plans outlined in the budget to create and maintain an electronic population registry as well as support digital money solutions such as Wipay, which allows people without bank accounts or credit cards to experience the convenience of digital banking solutions including online purchases and digital money transfers.

To support these initiatives, which are in alignment with the national digitalisation thrust, the government said it intends to ensure there is free public wifi, nationwide 4G and 5G network connectivity and the development of a national digital database.

The expanding ICT thrust is evident in initiatives such as the ICT education five star plan highlighted by Imbert. He said the programme, which was initiated in 2015, met the needs of teachers and students to ensure familiarity with hardware and software to integrate these forms of media into school systems.

Between 2015 and 2020, he said approximately 2,300 teachers in rural areas have completed the ICT teachers' development programme which aims to fulfill the same need.

In an effort to expand the scale of such projects, the government has budgeted approximately $50 million to assist students in need with computers. The distribution and training are a joint effort between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation and the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services.

Journalist, photographer, Newsday contributor and technology journalist Mark Lyndersay said he doesn't think the government can make technology a priority in 2021. The man behind TechNewsTT.com said, "What it can do is to restart a process it began twice before, 17 years ago with Fast Forward and more recently with Fast Forward II."

The Fast Forward programmes were initiatives of the ministry of public administration and information and were organised with the intention of fast tracking TT's ICT integration.

"A tremendous amount of work was done to design ICT development programmes for this country. Some have been done by the private sector because they represented a business opportunity, but there's a lot more to be done. Appointing Hassel Bacchus to ministerial level is a good start, but he isn't the first capable technocrat appointed to a senior position in government to guide ICT development. Hopefully, he will be the first they actually listen to." Bacchus was the chief technology officer at majority state-owned TSTT before joining the government after the August 10 general election.

Lyndersay said he thinks the sector needs a czar, a commanding, authoritative leader, and the times favour the acknowledgement of such a position in governance.

"Nothing gets done unless the person asking that it be done has the confidence and support of the PM and his Cabinet. If Bacchus wins their ear, he certainly has a lot to tell them."

Protecting information in a digitalised society

UWI faculty of law lecturer Justin Koo said while great progress may be made to a greater thrust in getting hardware in the hands of people across the nation, the digitalisation process will require much more than free devices.

"It is noteworthy that online government services are being rolled out on a regular basis covering essential services like booking appointments at government offices, ordering national certificates for major events such as birth, death, marriage, as well as non-essential services like the registering of companies and trademarks."

The intellectual property lawyer said that to become a more digital society, internet access has to be increased, as there are still many places in TT that do not have access, or the service is poor.

"While the covid19 pandemic has forced us to move online for services such as education, and our general response as a nation has been admirable, the reality is that access to resources and digital readiness is wide-ranging across socio-economic backgrounds."

Asked how the intended accelerated digitalisation transition might call for closer attention being given to intellectual property protection, Koo said with the increase in the use of computer technology, in whatever form, there is a definite need to raise awareness on intellectual property.

He said online dealings almost always involve some element of copyright works. "Copyright protects literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Simple acts like downloading or sharing files on the internet can attract copyright liability. Where a [written or artistic] work/file is on the internet, just because it is freely accessible does not mean that you have permission or a right to share that work."

Copying and use of content have become a particular issue when looking at sharing books for educational purposes. "With the shift to online education, schools and teachers have resorted to sharing scanned copies or digital versions of texts. This amounts to an act of reproduction and communication to the public. These are two separate and independent exclusive rights under copyright. Therefore, the simple act of copying work and sharing it can amount to two infringements of copyright."

Koo said TT has generally had a laissez-faire attitude to copyright infringement that will only be exacerbated in an increasingly online environment. "We have moved from the days of bootleg CDs and DVDs on the roadside to the open sale of android boxes on national media. The reality is that the average citizen does not know and, moreover, has no appreciation for the laws of copyright and intellectual property. We need greater education on intellectual property at a national level."

He said another issue that is likely to increase is the import and sale of counterfeit goods. Internationally, there is already a problem with the sale of counterfeit clothing and devices which have made their way into the local market.

"It should be noted that there are many counterfeit Beats, Samsung and Apple headphones on the market. This involves trademark infringement as these counterfeit products all bear well-known trademarks without the authorisation of the brand owner. Furthermore, the aim of counterfeiters are to deceive consumers into buying products that resemble the legitimate product."

Asked to elaborate on examples of the most common forms of intellectual property that may be vulnerable as TT becomes a more digital society, Koo listed copyright, trademark and image rights.

Regarding copyright, he said the use of copyright works online in all contexts raises infringement issues. The simple sharing of music, he added, is an infringement. "Watching pirate football streams online, using an Android TV box – and even the sharing of educational books involves copyright infringement. Where the owner of the work has not been contacted and authorisation provided, chances are, there is some form of infringement occurring."

Koo urges the public to bear in mind there are no pre-requisites for copyright infringement. Doing the prohibited act is enough for an act to be considered an infringement. "There is no ‘for-profit’ requirement, no need for the author to mail themselves a copy of their work, no registration. Copyright subsists once the work is created and as such, the exclusive rights of copyright flow from the point of creation."

Another notable issue highlighted by Koo is in relation to copyright infringement by the airing of live online concerts, events, lectures and parties. "Similar to traditional fetes, these events also require licensing from the relevant collective management organisation, most probably the Copyright Music Organisation of TT (COTT). Once music is being played in public to a gathered audience at public live performance or online, and that audience is of a public nature and indeterminate nature, there will be a need for a copyright music licence."

Another concern is that of trademark, which involves the use of counterfeit products. He said the use of these products is likely to increase as more computer devices are imported. "Unfortunately, counterfeits are increasing in number and quality, which makes it harder to determine if the products are real or not."

Then there's image rights. The rise of local social media influencers will soon lead to disputes concerning content being categorised as paid for advertising – where the influencers may not declare that they have been contracted by a company to promote a particular product or service. "This is problematic because people may be tricked into thinking that the influencer is personally recommending a product/service."

With widespread access, there will inevitably be an exponential increase in the body of digital content online. Because of this, Koo believes the use of photographs of people without their permission to promote products/services will increasingly become a greater issue. "The person in the photograph, however, may have some legal recourse under the Protection Against Unfair Competition Act or under the law of passing off."

Infrastructure makes exponential growth possible

Operations manager at Food Drop Ayanna McLean said in the same way the conditions of 2020 allowed the company to see exponential growth while many others closed their doors – TT may see exponential growth once the necessary infrastructure for digitisation is put in place and accessible by as many as possible.

Food Drop is an internet-based company that collaborates with restaurants and other food vendors, facilitating home deliveries from a range of food and beverage suppliers. Customers place their orders via the Food Drop app and the delivery is picked up by a registered Food Drop driver and brought to the customer.

The app allows the customer to monitor the journey of their meal from the restaurant to their hands.

"Last October is when we launched Food Drop following the model of Uber and how they went into Uber Eats and how they reached out to restaurants."

She said in the initial launch the company reached out to a number of restaurants, pitching the concept, sharing the international concept that has been reshaped by technology. "Some restaurants came on board quickly, while some took time."

McLean said the team's groundwork during the initial setup in October 2019 increased as covid19 restrictions were introduced. "A lot of the restaurants that took longer to get on board started knocking on our doors. Business activity has been exceptional, though unfortunately, not many businesses can say the same at this time."

The number of app downloads since October has more than tripled with over 70,000 downloads. McLean said with the growing demand, the company has expanded its team – creating job opportunities in a time where many companies have downsized.

"So, it is not just us growing that we are seeing, we are helping to keep business going for many restaurants while creating job opportunities – which is something we are excited about."

McLean said the Port of Spain-based company sees the most activity along the East-West Corridor but clientele has been spreading to central Trinidad, especially in Chaguanas and Couva.

Asked how budget promises regarding ICT and creating greater opportunities for widespread access to infrastructure and hardware might affect web-based businesses, she said it can only lead to further exponential growth and may even result in an evolution in the business model.

"We are always thinking of what could be our next step. Just having a wider base of people having access to the internet would be positive for us. If we just look at the models of the US systems and other digitalised societies in how businesses that move products and provided services online – we will realise we have to continue expanding our networks and ensuring internet access is available in rural areas."

The Food Drop group is seeking to expand services to collaborating with retailers for a wider range of products, beyond the food and beverage industry. "We have pushed our plan for the Drop Hub platform forward, which we hope to launch in time for Christmas shopping."

She said TT has to become more electronic and digitise to have businesses stay alive and have consumers make the best of current circumstances.

"Our growth is attributed to the consumer base and how much they need these products and services. So it really is up to the government to ensure people not only have access to devices, but access to the internet. If we are more digitised it will make processes easier and will benefit the economy."

Asked how Food Drop has protected their intellectual property in a space that becomes more digitised, McLean, who worked in the US for a number of years, said as TT aims to become a digitalised society greater emphasis must be placed on intellectual property management and protection. She said it is also becoming progressively more crucial for there to be follow-through in penalising those who participate in intellectual property law infringement.

"Some of our direct competition at Food Drop came to life in that way – by our information being shared after pitches were made to companies with which we hoped to collaborate."

McLean said until laws are enforced and offenders are punished, there will be challenges in safeguarding information.

"Anything that the government can do to encourage growth and further integration will reap great rewards and will impact every corner of the nation."


Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) President Brian Lewis has suggested sports administrators should "sacrifice some privileges" to better support athletes.

Lewis, who is also the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee President, made the comments during online talk show Coffee Talks.

The CANOC President highlighted the challenges faced by athletes when pursuing their aim of competing at the Olympic Games.

He referenced the TTOC medal bonus scheme introduced in 2015 as part of the "#10Golds24" project as a way to support athletes.

Lewis then questioned privileges enjoyed by sports administrators, suggesting cutbacks could be made to benefit athletes.

"We don’t address the fact that the pursuit of the Olympic dream and Olympic podium dream consigns many athletes to poverty," he said, according to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

"If they want to aspire to make the podium they can no longer do it recreationally.

"Why must athletes do this for free, sacrifice everything, while sports administrators and leaders stay at five-star hotels and get per diems?

"This was one of the reasons I created the Athlete Medal Bonus for our Olympic podium placing athletes.

"These are the things we need to look at.

"Maybe we need to sacrifice some of the privileges and lifestyle of sport administrators.

"We can use the savings to afford our athletes, especially those who excel by virtue of the podium, be afforded some sort of financial dignity."

Lewis has recently questioned whether sport leaders can be trusted to act on issues such as racism and sexism.

The CANOC President has also been a vocal advocate for gender equality, with the TTOC having held an Advancing Women in Leadership Forum earlier this month.

Lewis said there was a need for more men to support gender equality within the Olympic Movement.

"While the IOC has done a lot of work with gender equality in the field of play with the athlete, and while they have made progress in the boardroom, there is still a lot of work to be done," he said.

"There is no room for complacency.

"The sporting world has been an old boys club and the succession planning pipeline is full of men.

"Because of the patriarchy that surrounds sport for centuries, being old male and white.

"There is need also for men, it can’t be a woman only battle.

"Men in the Olympic Movement must be sincere and genuine in supporting and advocating that vision.

"It may mean that some men will have to make a decision to push forward women on merit."


With over 32 years in sports leadership, there are few people who can claim to have had the depth of influence that Brian Lewis has had over the development of Caribbean sport.

Now the president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), he started out very differently, raised by a single mother in Belmont.

Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat (R) and president of the TT Olympic Committee Brian Lewis exercise around the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. - Sureash Cholai

What was it like growing up in Belmont?

Some days it was nothing but hot water, tea and a dinner mint, and you went to sleep early.

Belmont was a hotbed of social activism. You had the the Black Power Movement and (everything revolved around) the steelbands. I used to get licks for running away to join them.

All the boys growing up had choices to make. Some were vexed at the world. But growing up, you always had a lot of sports. Sports was a big thing. You’re playing cricket.

You became aware of social issues from a young age. The British used sport to transfer their social values. But along with that, systemic racism and sexism became part of the DNA of sports.

How has your experience informed how you view social justice movements and their impact on sport?

My experience is not one that I could legitimately say is one divided by race. My best friend to this day is Ian Kalloo. So I know Ian and James Camacho – a Portuguese and an Indian from Curepe. Some of my best clients are Indo-Trinidadian.

For me the issue in TT has more to do with class than race. You come from John John you’ll be looked at differently.

The way society views women – you have sexism. I am a big advocate for gender equality. My mother is my hero. I was brought up by women and I’ve always been blessed with strong independent women. I grew up in a community where the glue is the women.

All the men are, and about, saga boys. Women bear the brunt of it. But you can shape the narrative. I’ve said the next president (of TTOC) should be a woman.

You describe yourself as an activist. But for some time now you have been part of “the establishment.” What do you say to people who would criticise your role amid the establishment?

This is a purely voluntary position. But I see how it’s easy for people to develop a chip on their shoulder.

When I was younger, my pet peeve, I used to get angry (and think), 'All of them have fathers. Why not me?'

The way you manifested and dealt with those insecurities was by being aggressive – you hid behind this façade made worse by peer pressure. It then becomes easy to rationalise choices instead of changing.

Don’t blame anybody. Take responsibility.

Sport became a surrogate father to me. From the beginning I thought that if I ever had the opportunity, I would use sport to make a difference. Sport is going to be my way to pay forward. Socially, economically: dream big and fail if you must. There’s no disgrace in failure.

What has covid19 exposed?

Covid19 has unmasked us, even as we must wear our masks. It is the great equaliser. You have to lie down in Caura like everybody else. The obstacle is that the State is still constructed along similar lines to the plantation model – that’s why we must privatise and improve access for our people. What I call the "grassroots," those opportunities are being missed.

We’re addicted to “buy low and sell high.”

They’re dumping the same imports which killed coconuts, coffee, and have stifled creative industries.

There’s no value for innovation and creativity. Look how we have treated creativity. Instead we thrive on conformity. Things that reflect society and its passion are buried. Sport is a $600 billion industry globally but we don’t recognise that potential here.

What we have done is marginalised people and put them in a box that diminishes passion. Under pressure you revert to type. Every entrepreneurial activity has risk but there is reluctance to back projects in sport – from merchandise to gyms.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are complacent and making money out of the existing system.

But the genie is out of the bottle. When we’re under pressure we are creative.

How can we develop the sports industry?

When we set out to gain ten or more gold medals it was also a challenge to inspire the whole ecosystem to explore new ways to monetise sports. I’ve pushed the partnership between TTOC and the University of TT because we should have, for example, sports and exercise apps. Where are the sports drinks being made from tamarind?

We have over-invested in infrastructure, but a sports sector is deeper than that. We need software, and research on nutrition and heat on athletic performance. We could be a great winter training base.

Do you know what stopped that before? International teams were ready to set up bases, but our health facilities didn’t meet their standards. But that’s also an opportunity – we can develop and market proper orthopaedic care.

It starts with the statistics and data collection, which we don’t have. What is the real economic impact of sports? We need to start with market research.

The first customer has to be myself. I’m not that unique.

Dean Ackin (of the Tribe Carnival entertainment group) took what he wanted to see personally as a Carnival player and scaled it up. Every child must play. We need a sport venture to fund that, target entrepreneurs. We need televisits and drugs development.

Is the management structure of sport keeping us back?

Everybody’s focusing on FIFA and its organisational mechanics and forgetting completely about the big picture (of how we will innovate and develop a sports industry).

There are legitimate challenges about waste and mismanagement that we need to resolve but this is also to some extent a distraction. R&D and innovation aren’t talked about enough because we are limited by our vision of diversification. Think 50 years down the road.

What lessons can sports teach us? What advice do you have to entrepreneurs and aspiring athletes?

I’ve always been a rugby man and that taught me to bounce back quickly. It’s different from football, where you might win 2-1 and have a base for the next match. With rugby you’re starting from scratch.

Sports teaches you resilience.

If we don’t wake up, some sports are not going to survive. In a life-or-death situation sports administrators should focus on opportunities instead of spending time protesting health restrictions. How can I rebrand my sport to become part of saving lives and keeping people healthy?

It is time to change the narrative. Track and field, for example, will do well emerging from covid19 as people can still train – so sports can pivot more towards individuals.

Things like penalties teach you lessons: you can’t spend 99 per cent of your time worrying about something that will impact you one per cent.

Ask "why" a lot. Think critically. As Naipaul said, we’ve been mimic men for too long.

Sport is a microcosm, a mirror image of society. This is a defining moment. There is no “how it used to be.” Everybody wants an exception but where is the sense of personal responsibility and sacrifice? Ego is detrimental to the collective good.

But we need strategic positivity. This existential threat requires revolution, not evolution.

Focus on solutions. I try not to get distracted. Sport is a tool for development like any other. It is not a depleting asset like oil and energy.

The wealth of the people is health. Believe in yourself. In the people of your country.

Kiran Mathur Mohammed is a social entrepreneur, economist and businessman. He is a former banker, and a graduate of the University of Edinburgh

Kiran Mathur Mohammed