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The following is an excerpt from the 2018 Budget Statement “Changing the Paradigm: Putting the Economy on a Sustainable Path” as it relates to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs. The 2018 fiscal package was presented by The Honourable Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance on October 02nd, 2017.

“Madam Speaker, we view our sport sector as being vital for contributing to youth and economic development. Our recently-commissioned world class sport facilities, in aquatics, cycling, tennis, hockey and cricket have joined our football stadia as the foundation for the country becoming a hub in sports tourism.

We are now positioning sports tourism as a viable incipient industry for economic diversification. We have already won international acclaim and positive reviews from the sporting fraternity for hosting a series of major competitive domestic and international sporting events at these facilities. We are continuing to secure such sporting events.

Madam Speaker, we are putting in place attractive user rates for these facilities. The revenue generated, including through the introduction of naming rights, will ensure their adequate maintenance.

We plan to focus on three major revenue generating avenues: sport services, sport events and sport infrastructure, given that those areas require very little capital investment, as a result of the already existing infrastructure.

These facilities will serve as the foundation for our youth as they strive for excellence on the international stage and bring the international spotlight on our country.

Our national community, with events to celebrate on a continual basis, will benefit from the outflow of patriotism and pride and in the process serve as a cohesive force for nation building.

The recent performance of our athletic teams at the 16th IAAF World Championships and the World Para Athletics Championships in London, England is illustrative. We were given the opportunity to listen to our national anthem with our national flag being raised in victory for all the world to see.

We will continue with our strategies geared towards the development of sports, such as the Elite Athlete and Coach Development Programme, as well as to implement a new talent identification framework for high performance athletes; but we would appeal to the private sector and to our citizens to expand their support for our sporting activities on a sustained basis, whether through attendance at events or financing activities and programmes, in order to play their part in this national effort.

We are now reviewing the governance structures and systemic arrangements for the delivery of sport services with a view to increasing efficiency and streamlining processes. We are putting in place the Sports Commission for Trinidad and Tobago and developing requisite legislation which will address issues such as sports events management, sport dispute resolution and management of national sporting bodies.”

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