Action speaks louder than words. Now is the time for Caricom leaders to take urgent and decisive action – Sport Matters.
The Sporting Services sub-sector will play a vital role in addressing the crime challenge of violence as a public health issue.
I attended the 83rd special meeting of the Caricom Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) - Services, which took place on January 31, 2020, preceded by a Preparatory Meeting of Officials, including sector specialists and experts from academia, from January 27-28, 2020. Meetings were held at the Caricom Secretariat's Headquarters, Turkeyen, Georgetown, Guyana.
To create and operationalise a single space for Services under the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME), Caricom Member States had agreed to prepare a regional strategic and implementation plan for Services, with funding support from the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
During the period 2017-2020, more than 20 meetings were held to prepare Strategies and Implementation Plans for seven sub-sectors that were given priority: Financial Services; ICT Services; Professional Services; Cultural, Entertainment and Sporting Services; Health and Wellness Services; Education Services; and Tourism Services.
The main objectives of the 83rd special meeting of the COTED Services were to: (i) examine in detail, the recommendations of the Regional Services Project Steering Committee (RSPSC), in particular, the Draft Strategies and Implementation Plans, and the Master Strategy and Implementation Plans; and (ii) amend, as deemed necessary, and endorse the recommendations for onward transmission to the Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Services in the Caricom Quasi Cabinet. It was a comprehensive and detailed effort by the RSPSC and Timothy Odle, Deputy Programme Manager for Services at the Caricom Secretariat.
At that time as the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president and the Sporting Services sector specialist, I asserted the importance of Sporting Services in addressing the deleterious effects of youth unemployment in Caricom Member States.
Reading for my Executive Masters Degree in Sport Management Thesis on Governance in Trinidad and Tobago Sport, the literature review was influential and instructive, in particular, papers written by Dr Roy Mcgree, sociologist and Senior Fellow at SALISES (the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine. His seminal paper on the general exclusion of sport from official and dominant notions of economic development and transformation in the Caricom answers the question, of why the process of moving to the implementation phase of the services sector strategic and implementation plan is "pedantic".
Frank and honest conversations about the causes of the crime challenge, is a critical success factor.
At the Hyatt Regency (T&T), a Caricom Regional Symposium on "Violence as a Public Health Issue- the Crime Challenge" hosted by Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. the Hon Dr Keith Rowley attending are Caricom Heads of Government and regional experts, are taking place. The two-day event started yesterday (Monday) and continues today (Tuesday). It is important that the Caricom Heads of Governments prioritise the implementation of the Caricom Services Sector Development strategic plan.
Dr Mcgree posits that for sport to become an integral part of the Caribbean economy: "the Colonial derived, received and orthodox view of of the historical roles assigned to sport must shift to new conceptions of sport, the athlete and the economy on the part of Caribbean states, the business sector and Caribbean peoples on the whole."
The continued exclusion of sport from official and dominant notions of economic development and transformation in the Caricom contributes to youth unemployment and a dependency syndrome, which is to the detriment of the youth and young people in the Caricom Member states.
Another must-attend is the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Black Power Revolution of 1970. It is a collaboration between the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and SALISES. This conference is this Thursday and Friday, from 8 am both days at the Daaga Auditorium, UWI, St Augustine.