In the next four years as president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC), T&T's Brian Lewis aims to boost gender integration within the organisation with the hope that it will filter across the rest of the sporting world.
Lewis, the president of the T&T Olympic Committee, was re-elected on the weekend at the CANOC's General Assembly in Haiti, unopposed as its head.
"I am a Caribbean man, it is an honour and privilege to lead CANOC," said Lewis, who will serve a four-year term until 2022.
Lewis was originally elected to the role in Barranquilla in Colombia last year, taking over the remainder of Steve Stoute's term after the Barbados official resigned following 17 years in charge.
Lewis will work alongside St Vincent and Grenadines' Keith Joseph (secretary general), St Kitts and Nevis' Alphonso Bridgewater (first vice president), who were both re-elected as well and executive members Alain Soreze of Guadeloupe and Ytannia Wiggins of Barbados. Soreze was also re-elected unopposed while Wiggins will be serving her first term.
Outgoing Treasurer Alfred Emmanuel (St Lucia) and Angel Morales (US Virgin Islands) did not seek re-election due to CANOC constitution's two-term limit. There were no nominations for those positions so the executive can fill those vacancies until the next General Assembly.
For some time now, Lewis has been very open with his views and ideas on having greater gender equality at the Olympic movement level and plans to point CANOC into that direction.
"Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee members need to set targets and implement the IOC gender equality recommendations," he said, yesterday. "I accept that there are many people who don't feel setting women in leadership and gender equality diversity and inclusion targets are the right approach but I hold a different view.
"It's not only in sport but business and finance etc that the playing field isn't level. It can't be business as usual. I make no apologies for my stance," said a determined Lewis, who over the next four years will be seeking to have CANOC members implementing IOC gender equality recommendations.
"I will be promoting that the next CANOC president is a woman and for all 80 per cent of CANOC executive boards to be gender equal. It can't be business as usual," agonised Lewis. "We need more women in the Olympic movement and leadership positions."
He plans to work with CANOC members through forums along with hosting leadership and unconscious bias awareness training.
Ideally, Lewis believes that the Caribbean Olympic leaders have to be innovative and forward thinking to create a "bigger piece of the sports industry pie for their athletes and young people. We have to unite in our strength. Stand up and use our unity as our strength," he said.
Some of the other objectives that the Lewis-led CANOC will be focused on are safeguarding athletes and children from sexual abuse and harassment within the Caribbean Olympic movement, address the failure of Pan Am Sports to normalise the status of associated members and do more to assist Haiti and the "Sport for Hope" Centre.
Lewis said, "Canoc is maturing as an organisation, at 15 years, it's still a work in progress. The next four years is a critical period in our history."