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Recognising our golden men

Saturday, November 4, 2017

T&T’s quarter-mile quintet of Jarrin Solomon, Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio, Lalonde Gordon and Renny Quow brought more glory to this country on Thursday when they were awarded the prestigious Association of National Olympic Committees’ “Best Male Athlete for the Americas” award in the Czech Republic.

The 4x400 metres team was honoured for their IAAF World Championships effort in London in August, when they made history by denying the United States a seventh straight gold and T&T’s first ever medal in the event.

As they addressed a room of their peers and officials, Solomon, on behalf of his teammates, noted their pride at being recognised. He also spoke about the sacrifice they made to achieve the feat and their joy at representing T&T with honour.

Of course, the irony here is that even as the athletes have been lauded by a foreign entity, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs is yet to indicate what its tangible reward for their efforts will be. Indeed, apart from the Chaconia Gold medal which they received during the National Awards, the public is yet to hear of anything else to recognise their feat, as has been customary.

This newspaper does not believe Government needs to lavish them with any big ticket items either. At a time when the Treasury is low and sponsorship is hard to come by, the athletes will certainly accept what little they receive. The one thing which always soothes an athlete’s mind is covering their training costs. With the Elite Athletes programme apparently in a dysfunctional state, perhaps Government can reward the golden boys by directly footing their future training bills.

UTT’s impending fate

The impending jobs cuts at the University of T&T (UTT) is yet another unfortunate outcome of the country’s floundering economic situation. The loss of jobs expected to come as the university desperately tries to cut costs will undoubtedly touch families in ways that will have long lasting social effects, not to mention the trickle down effect on the institution’s overall operations.

But as UTT officials reflect on what must now be done to survive, there are some who argue that its dire situation is endemic of a dependency syndrome which has been permeating the society over the past decades when energy riches spoiled agencies dependent on government subventions and other allocations.

Truth be told, institutions like UTT, The University of the West Indies and the Costaatt ran mostly on these subventions while not implementing solid plans to attain maximum productivity and efficiency levels and becoming self-sufficient. The end result of this malaise is what we have today in UTT, an institution that must cut because it simply cannot sustain itself.

That it took this long for chairman Kenneth Julien to act on it, since he has noted they cannot survive past January if they do not take action, also suggests a level of managerial incompetence may also have hastened the act. The hope is that other tertiary institutions take note and cut their clothes to suit their cloth.


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