Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith identified youth, new talent identification and the refurbishment of the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet as some of the major areas that the Ministry will focus on in the next fiscal year.
The 2018 estimate for sport is $281,407,827 compared to the 2017 revised estimate of $279,915,094.
In response to the allocation for sport Smith said yesterday, "I am happy with what we got. Last year we got around the same amount."
Smith said last year (2016/2017), sport got a cut from the 2015/2016 year, but the country was still successful. "Throughout the year we won in various sports and international events. (We were good) in CCCAN, beach soccer, the track and field athletes did well."
Smith also said the country has been hosting major regional events which has helped the country's sport tourism drive. "Despite it all we were able to host the most international events in our history and the highest level of sporting events."
Minister of Finance Colm Imbert said in his budget presentation that Trinidad and Tobago will focus on three revenue-earning areas in sport. Imbert said, "We plan to focus on three major revenue-generating avenues: sport services, sport events and sport infrastructure, given that those areas require very little capital investment, as a result of the already existing infrastructure and framework."
Imbert said the three areas will allow youth to strive for excellence on the international stage in sport.
TT Para-athlete Akeem Stewart has complained recently about the lack of proper facilities at the Dwight Yorke Stadium. Smith said the Dwight Yorke Stadium is a priority.
"You would have seen in the budget that we got some money for the Dwight Yorke Stadium...we (are) going full speed ahead with regards to working with the Tobago House of Assembly to get the Dwight Yorke Stadium back up to the level that it supposed to be," Smith said. "That is the problem those stadia were built so long ago and nobody has been maintaining it. I am a big fan of Akeem and we are working with him. We will meet with him this week to ensure that he his comfortable and he could continue his training because he is a son of the soil."
The sport budget will continue to focus on the strategies geared towards the development of sports, including the Eilte Athlete and Coach Development Programme. A new talent identification framework will be implemented for high performance athletes. In his presentation Imbert encouraged the private sector to help the sport drive.
Imbert said, "We would appeal to the private sector and to our citizens to expand their support for our sporting activities on a sustained basis, whether through attendance at events or financing activities and programmes, in order to play their part in this national effort."