I happened to be browsing through the 2018 Oxford Business Group report on Trinidad and Tobago. There were several perspectives, snapshots and overviews written. It made for a comparative of what is and what isn't. Not to mention interesting and informative reading.
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the largest economies in the English-speaking Caribbean and our energy sector is responsible for approximately one-third of economic output. Issues such as a widening fiscal deficit, inefficient public spending and tax collection, as well as excess employment in the public sector, were issues highlighted.
The preceding issues are outlined in the Oxford Business Group report.
What struck me as I perused the various topics, views and opinions, is the disconnect between reality and wishful thinking. If one focused on the sports sector in Trinidad and Tobago a question asked of sports leaders and sport management decision-makers would be when they put together their organisations' plans, what information and data do they use?
How do national sports organisations arrive at targets and objectives? As an example, according to the United Nations, the population of Trinidad and Tobago in 2018 stood at 1.37 million. Owing to its small size, Trinidad and Tobago is considered relatively densely populated with 267 people per square kilometre.
The population growth rate stood at 0.3% in 2017. The low replacement rate has contributed to a gradually ageing population. What is the implication of this ageing population for the growth of sport participation? Is the implication negative or positive?
The Oxford Business Group report asserts that owing to the legacy of colonialism, slavery and indentured servitude, the country is very diverse in its demographic makeup. How important is this demographic information in shaping sport policy and strategy?
Youth employment has risen from 7.9% in 2013 to 11.4%. According to the experts, this rise, if not addressed, can present development challenges. What impact will the rise in youth unemployment have on sport in Trinidad and Tobago?
What are the potential challenges and opportunities for sport as the global economy enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Or is this an unimportant issue for national sport organisations?
Are there consequences for ignoring the reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The report mentions sport in a significant way concerning sport tourism. It posited that Trinidad and Tobago has a competitive advantage in the lucrative niche market that is sports tourism.
However, a note of caution is articulated and the point made that it is essential that all components of the sports tourism value chain must work effectively for Trinidad and Tobago to benefit from the potential advantages.
So the relevant questions must be asked by all stakeholders involved in sports — What are national sport organisations doing to capitalise on the opportunities?
Are our national sport organisations doing the required homework and research?
Or are we all simply focusing on the same ole same ole and expecting that things will change for the better on its own?
I hope that these questions will be answered sooner rather than later so that Trinidad and Tobago can start planning to reap the benefits of sports tourism very shortly.