Brian Lewis, president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) says there may have never been a better time and opportunity for the public to do its part in supporting the TTOC's quest for ten or more Olympic gold medals by 2024, than by supporting the partnership between the local Olympic body and the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB).
Lewis made this case yesterday when the TTOC and the NLCB announced an indefinite arrangement, which sees Olympic hopeful athletes benefit from part monetary proceeds earned from a new "instant win" scratch card launched by the NLCB titled: "Going for Gold".
NLCB's part of the bargain is specifically to aid the TTOC in achieving its goal of securing ten or more gold medals by 2024 by crediting an account created for the athletes with some of the money earned from the scratch cards.
The new game will become available to the public on Monday. They cost $10 each. The $3.2 million in prizes range from $10 to $100,000 individually. According to the NLCB, the odds of winning is one in four.
Thus far, the NLCB has printed 500,000 scratch cards and will continue to print new cards depending on the rate of sales. Represented by board member Brian Sawh and lottery ticket supervisor, Candy West, at yesterday's function, the NLCB announced that the athletes' fund will receive $200,000-$250,000 for every 500,000 cards sold.
Sawh said he believes the first batch of half-a-million cards can be sold within a month but that the continuation of the new scratch card will depend on its demand. Thus for the benefit of the athletes and the NLCB, the company will take an aggressive marketing approach, through print, radio and digital advertising to raise the public awareness.
Meanwhile, Lewis, who sought to put the arrangement "into context" said, "One can't do something over and over and expect a different result."
He noted that the partnership is just one of the ways in which the TTOC has materialised on the re-calibrated strategic plan, which started in May, 2013, to increase T&T's gold medal count at the Olympic Games.
"In engaging NLCB, we found some like-minded individuals... So in a very real sense, for the TTOC, today is a huge step forward," Lewis added, before thanking its new partner.
He offered assurance that the initiative will be one guided by "transparency and accountability" and "will meet the TTOC's audited financial process," especially given the nature of the venture (funding for athletes) and the stigma that was once attached to the NLCB.
He said support for athletes' development by means of funding "has not been what we expected."
"This will test the public... Actions speak louder than words."