History has a far reaching impact. It touches the welfare and prosperity of us all, not only in this generation but far into the future. History may well point the way and explain why those who can make a difference prefer to ignore the nation's athletes and the extent of the disregard they face. Our refusal or maybe it is fear of facing up to the problem will not make it go away. In fact it makes the situation worse.
Disregarding the plight of our athletes add to the social inequality, dysfunction, and growing disaffection. Fundamental truth informs the stubborn question– why?
The status quo would wish to distort the irrefutable truths comfortably peddling denial and distortions and a paradigm built on centuries of western culture, social and economic construct. The legacy of the plantation economy is intact and remains a strong element in T&T's 21st century narrative.
To understand the societal and economic undercurrents that create subconscious barriers, a recommended starting place for sport leaders would be 'Theory of the Plantation Economy' by Lloyd Best and Kari Levitt and CLR James' 'Beyond the Boundary'.
Not to be left out of the reading list would be books, essays and articles by Eric Williams, Lloyd Best, Denis Pantin, Arthur Lewis, Norman Girvan, Eric St Cyr and George Beckford to name a few. There are practical realities and heartbreaking stories concerning athletes in T&T.
Our vulnerable athletes–sportsmen and women need more than pity. Pity will not solve their problem or make a positive difference. Priority must be placed on the welfare of our athletes. T&T is a major transshipment point for drugs, the illicit trafficking of people, money laundering and financial crimes, fuelled by corruption and illegal gambling.
Drugs present a real danger to our country and society–sport like the rest of society is in danger and not immune to the destabilising effect. Other issues impacting athletes are LGBT issues, domestic violence/gender issues. Good governance and national sport organisation strengthen issues. There are reports that athletes have suffered at the hands of re-tooling within the public sector.
Re-tooling seems to be the buzzword and/or code in certain sections of the public sector. It is perceived to be a euphemism. What is the truth and what is mere fiction is best left to those with evidence that can stand legal scrutiny. Those who are pursuing the re-tooling agenda need to be mindful that they are embedding the seeds of hate and anger. The retooling proponents have hardened their hearts, plugged their ears and shut their eyes.
That way they will not see with their eyes nor hear with their ears nor understand with their hearts the dark despair and anguish caused by their re-tooling. There are diverse reasons why the issues and challenges facing athletes in this country do not receive the serious and urgent attention required. No matter the strength of views and feeling about the topic. We must not continue to sweep the problem under the carpet.
Whatever the perception, the same problems our athletes are facing will be spoken by others in various sections of our society. Ignoring or trivialising the issues will not make them go away. There are social challenges facing T&T and our willingness to dialogue and acknowledge them will determine in many significant ways what type of future our children, youths and young people will face.
The opportunity to create a better life is not for some at the expense of others. Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the TTOC.