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June 03, 2020

Do not flinch in the face of adversity

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement that phase three of the reopening of the T&T…
June 03, 2020

An open letter to sport #BlackLivesMatter

Citizens across the world have mobilised to stand up for equal rights, for freedom, fairness,…
June 02, 2020

Rolf Bartolo - A man of integrity

Tributes keep pouring in for Rolf Bartolo from different quarters in Trinidad and Tobago. On…
June 01, 2020

Lewis: Sport can be key in covid19 recovery

BRIAN LEWIS, president of the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC), says that sports can play a…
May 31, 2020


May 28, 2020

TTOC to roll out covid19 relief to athletes

The TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) is currently finalising the criteria needed for athletes to benefit…
May 26, 2020

OpEd: The IOC Stands in Solidarity With All Athletes and All Sports

Much has been written lately about the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s finances. Some of these…

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Do not flinch in the face of adversity
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"T&T as the sports hub of the Caribbean. Why Not?"

This was the theme of FI­NA pres­i­dent Dale Neu­berg­er’s pre­sen­ta­tion at yes­ter­day’s Sport In­dus­try TT Con­fer­ence which was host­ed by the T&T Olympic Com­mit­tee (TTOC) at the Hy­att Re­gency in Port-of-Spain.

The con­fer­ence in­clud­ed a num­ber of pan­el dis­cus­sions as well as ad­dress­es from var­i­ous pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor ex­perts on ar­eas from fi­nance, tourism and hos­pi­tal­i­ty to so­cial me­dia, brand­ing and mar­ket­ing as well as event man­age­ment pro­fes­sion­als.

Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith was al­so present to make a pre­sen­ta­tion on the "Im­pact of Crime on Tourism and the Im­pact of Sport on Crime".

Neu­berg­er’s pre­sen­ta­tion was es­pe­cial­ly thought-pro­vok­ing and one such mo­ment oc­curred when the Amer­i­can en­cour­aged the gath­er­ing to re­peat the fol­low­ing af­fir­ma­tion: "T&T, the sports hub of the Caribbean."

He said, "Be­cause once you say it and once you be­gin to think about it, it ac­tu­al­ly could hap­pen."

The na­tive of In­di­ana, USA, gushed that this was not his first vis­it to T&T, reel­ing out a se­ries of sport­ing facts about this coun­try as he mar­velled at our rich cul­tur­al and sport­ing his­to­ry and tra­di­tion, which he says makes the twin-is­land re­pub­lic a spe­cial place to vis­it.

Neu­berg­er was es­pe­cial­ly com­pli­men­ta­ry about the abun­dance of ded­i­cat­ed and World-class sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties at T&T’s dis­pos­al.

"When I think about these in­cred­i­ble fa­cil­i­ties that you have and all that is pos­si­ble not on­ly for the youth of your coun­try but al­so for oth­ers from around the Caribbean and around the world, it's re­al­ly spe­cial," he said. "Many of the places that are try­ing hard to de­vel­op a sports in­dus­try are fa­cil­i­ty poor. But al­so, peo­ple have a chance to come here and just do some plain ac­tiv­i­ty and have fun. And if there’s any place in the world that I know that peo­ple know how to have fun, it cer­tain­ly is here."

How­ev­er, what Neu­berg­er al­so not­ed is that oth­er coun­tries around the re­gion may have al­ready be­gun to de­vel­op their sports in­dus­tries based heav­i­ly on tra­di­tion­al tourism, which makes it im­per­a­tive for this coun­try to think out­side of the box.

"It's more than sports tourism. That’s a part of it but not all of it. And that’s what your spe­cial op­por­tu­ni­ty is - how do we take this from be­ing what oth­ers are do­ing and that we can do well too and take it to the next lev­el and do some­thing that makes us the cen­tre of ac­tiv­i­ty.

"So what we hope to have hap­pened is that T&T is where cham­pi­ons are crowned and ath­letes come here be­cause this is where the ma­jor events are held. But sec­ond of all, we want T&T to be thought of as the place where im­por­tant de­ci­sions are made. Where im­por­tant dis­cus­sions take place."

Neu­berg­er al­so high­light­ed the need for the si­mul­ta­ne­ous de­vel­op­ment of oth­er ar­eas say­ing: "Part of this whole eco-sys­tem are oth­er el­e­ments too, such as sport busi­ness. Think of all the ser­vices that are nec­es­sary for those events to take place. If there are a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of events, those busi­ness­es can re­al­ly thrive. Busi­ness­es that are al­ready here, they get stronger as a re­sult and al­so new busi­ness crop up."