PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Speaking at a Media Conference on Wednesday, December 17th
Trinidad’s Honourable Gary Hunt Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs presented a check for the sum of
$2,188,500 to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.
This is part of the Government approved sum of $8,754,000. These funds are for the payment of salaries for the entire Technical Staff of the
“Soca Warriors” and this is tangible evidence of the Government’s commitment to the development of football in particular and sport in general.
During the check presentation, The Honourable Gary Hunt gave the following statement:
Despite current economic conditions government support to football and the “Soca Warriors’ remains unwavering.
In keeping with the Government’s 2020 strategic plan, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs has articulated a new and exciting vision for
sport in Trinidad and Tobago.
It is a vision that sees excellence in sport as the principal objective and identifies the Ministry as an important facilitator in the process. Another critical pillar of this new vision is our commitment to collaboration with all the key stakeholders, including the National Sporting Organizations.
This collaborative approach has already proven to be highly successful and the outstanding performances of our athletes at the recent Olympics in China is a compelling example.
Together with the local Olympic Committee and the NAAA’s, we ensured that our athletes were properly prepared for the event and suitably rewarded for their achievements.
In a similar vein we have collaborated with several other sporting organizations and we continue to provide funding for infra-structural
development, training programmes and special events. Today we are giving our unstinting support to the senior national football team of
Trinidad and Tobago, our beloved “Soca Warriors”.
Despite setbacks at the recent Digicel Caribbean Cup Championships, I am confident that the team will recover in time to launch a successful World Cup campaign next year. It will not be easy by any means but I am sure that the Technical Staff is doing its homework and preparing assiduously for the final round of competition. The Government will continue to do its part to support
the players and the coaches in this great mission.
Football has a major role to play in social development especially within our communities and I urge the TTFF to expand its vision and embrace the change that is necessary for its continued growth and progress. While it is easy to talk about change, it is sometimes difficult to implement real change and transform the status quo, especially when rank and authority are involved.
In this regard, I fully endorse the view that the days of the “one-man show” are over since sport has now become far too complex for the traditional approach to work. Sport today, especially at the international level, is a multi-billion dollar industry with vast sums of
money coming in from sponsors both in the public and private sectors as well as the electronic media, especially television. It is therefore
incumbent upon all sporting organizations to ensure that integrity and accountability are established at all levels. This indeed would be a
change that we can all believe in.
The Ministry will continue to insist upon accountability from our very important stakeholders, the national sporting organizations. In this area we have to be very stringent even if it means that officials of the
Ministry will be publicly ridiculed for doing what is right. The majority of the sporting fraternity fully supports our efforts in this regard and we continue to receive encouragement for our commitment to professionalizing sport in Trinidad and Tobago.
Recently I had the privilege of attending a function which was staged as a tribute to the hundreds of players and coaches who laid the
foundation for the footballers of today; hosted by the Veteran Footballers Foundation. It was an honour to be in the presence of so many players who did so much for the development of football in
Trinidad and Tobago. They gave selflessly to their clubs, communities and country and they played for the love of the game.
They never lost sight of the noble ideals of sport.
As we look towards the next 100 years of football, we can take comfort in the legacy that has been established by our football pioneers.
They have done their part and the baton has now been passed to a new generation.
I would therefore like to commend the TTFF for its efforts in getting the ‘Little Magician’, Russell Latapy more involved in the development
of local football. Change is usually best achieved when fresh ideas and new faces are introduced into an organization and I hope this
trend will continue.
The Government is fully committed to the success of all our national teams and we will leave no stone unturned in supporting their efforts.
Let me therefore extend best wishes to the TTFF and the “Soca Warriors” for a triumphant 2010 World Cup campaign.