TT OLYMPIC Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis has welcomed the arrival of a $2.7 million cheque issued by the Ministry of Sport and Community Development (MSCD) for the national Olympic contingent.
On Friday, sports minister Shamfa Cudjoe reiterated her ministry’s commitment to TT’s Olympic quest by providing a total of $2,795,348.89 towards their journey to and duration in Tokyo, Japan.
Lewis was pleased for the ministry’s financial support and assured that the delegation of 43 athletes and 32 officials “will manage the funds that have been entrusted with us prudently,” reiterating their responsibility to the taxpayers of TT.
“It’s a good boost as we head in to the home stretch, once Tokyo 2020 is on. The budget is about $4 million, if I round it off, and the government support is $2.7 million. It will give us something to work with. We will continue our fundraising efforts nonetheless,” he said.
Lewis committed to ensuring these funds would be properly managed.
“Rest assured, if we are able to manage within budget, we will return to the ministry any funds that we don’t need. If, for some reason the games don’t come off, rest assured we will return the $2.7 million to the MSCD,” Lewis added.
He also said that the TTOC did not seek support from the MSCD for the entire $4 million budget.
According to Lewis, the ministry did fulfil the TTOC’s financial request in full. This money will be used for travel arrangements, training camps and PCR tests among other necessities to ensure the TT delegation is comfortable.
He continued, “Our request was $2.7 million so that the ministry would have supported what we requested. We did not submit to the MSCD a request for a $4 million budget.”
Lewis also said that the support for Tokyo 2020 and Team TTO would have also factored in the TTOC receiving tax exemption for the team’s Puma Tokyo 2020 outfit and gear.
“We are firm believers in operating in an ethical way. We won’t misappropriate the funds entrusted to us by the government of TT, the MSCD and the taxpayers of TT.
“In addition we have the anti-doping compliance requirements as it relates to the Games. We have been engaging in prudent and financial fiscal management. That’s how we do business at the TTOC,” Lewis said.
Meanwhile, Cudjoe congratulated the athletes and technical staff on their commitment to competing at the Games.
In a statement issued by the ministry, on Friday, Cudjoe said, “Against the backdrop of covid19, to see athletes remain optimistic and shine their light in a time of darkness, is beautiful. This is why I am pleased to be part of this sport fraternity; to witness the strength and resilience of our athletes.”
Cudjoe added that continuing the athletes’ preparation is part of getting through the pandemic together. She also thanked the Ministry of Finance and MSCD personnel responsible for making this funding a reality.
The Olympic Games is scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8.