High costs of regional travel continues to hinder development of sport

TORONTO, Canada,  CMC – A regional sport administrator wants Caribbean governments to facilitate greater intra-regional travel and allowing for sport to be an avenue for development.

Vice President of Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) Keith Joseph of St Vincent and the Grenadines is warning that the high costs of travel within the region is hindering the development of sport.

Joseph, who was among Caribbean delegates attending the General Assembly of PASO in Toronto, said that in many cases, the people who are given the responsibility for sport at the governmental level are not competent and lack the understanding of its importance.

“Yes governments own LIAT (regional airline) and while we are not asking them for a free ride certainly they could facilitate greater intra-regional travel to allow for sport to be an avenue for development,” said Joseph, who is also the Secretary-General of the St Vincent and the Grenadines National Olympic Committee.

“I think within the sub-region the persons who have been put with responsibility for sport at the governmental level have little by way of understanding the dynamics of sport have little by way of understanding what sport can do for the development of their respective countries and indeed for the promotion and development of the region.”

Joseph made reference to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its attempts over the years to run a successful Twenty20 tournament.

“Suddenly a franchise comes in and look at the difference. Even the crowds have responded because the crowds know when we’re marketing a quality product. They know when we’re delivering the goods,” he said.

The regional sport administrator added: “We can’t deliver the goods unless there’s greater involvement, not only at governmental level, but also from the private sector. But again sometimes our sporting organisations lack the professional expertise to do these things and, a bit pennywise and pound foolish, we’re unwilling to look for the expertise to assist us in the marketing of our products, in the enhancement of our products and I think therein lies the problem.”

He said that Grenada offered the best example of governmental support for sport over the years and the ability to forge good working relations between the National Olympic Committee (NOC) and government.

“That may well have to do with the presence of Veda Bruno-Victor well placed as a Permanent Secretary and doubling up as the Secretary General of the NOC.

“Grenada has worked with relationship between the NOC and government relative to supporting sport development in a manner, while it is not perfect, it certainly worked for Grenada,” he said.

Joseph was among more than 300 delegates, including officials from International Sport Federations (ISF) and NOC from 41 countries attending the PASO General Assembly.

The General Assembly also selected the city of Lima in Peru to host the 2019 edition of the Pan American Games.


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