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JSC told: No proper structure at Sportt Company
The Sport Company of T&T (SPORTT) was set up in 2004, but for seven years it never had a proper structure, a business development unit or even a human resource department. This was revealed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs Ashwin Creed at a Joint Select Committee (JSC) meeting in Parliament. Creed and other senior SPORTT officials were brought before the JSC to answer questions on various aspects of the operation of the company. SPORTT’s chief executive officer Errol Ashby said the company was set up to be the implementing arm of the Ministry of Sport. Its mandate included overseeing 14 national sporting organisations in areas including cricket, football and basketball. SPORTT’s responsibility includes construction, maintenance and programme implementation. However, according to Creed, the company was never structured properly.
Further, the company was modelled after the Australian pattern but recommendations contained in an Australian Sporting Commission report were never implemented. Ashby added that the company’s relationship with the ministry was also “kind of ad hoc.” This moved JSC member Lyndira Oudit, Senate vice-president, to declare that, if that was the case, SPORTT had failed in its mission. “It seems to me the original mission was put aside...If it is asked whether the company was a success in its mission, you would have to say no,” she said. Creed assured, however, that the company was now being set up properly and that their relationship with the Ministry “is good now.” SPORTT’s budget allocation for 2011 was cut by nearly half, though, and the company was working with severely limited resources, Ashby informed the JSC.
He said the original financial allocation was a little more $100 million but between March and April, the amount was reduced by $40.2 million. “Forty per cent of our finances was redirected while demands on the organisation have increased.” Creed outlined some of the plans of SPORTT to improve local sporting facilities and the competency of athletes themselves. He said projects to be implemented included some from the last political dispensation and some new ones. Mega projects include national aquatic, tennis and cycling centres, three multi-purpose facilities and 16 sporting community centres.
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