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Tobago, Emancipation to focus in Youth Games bid

TOBAGO, and Emancipation Day celebrations, will be the focal points for the TT Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA)’s bid to host the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.

The TTCGA officially submitted their expression of interest request on August 17 to the England-based Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) – the body responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games.

And the TTCGA followed up with an official submission bid document to the CGF by the deadline date of October 19.

Brian Lewis, president of both the TTCGA and the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC), said the estimated US$4 million budget for the Games would be funded on a private/public partnerships basis.

“The TTCGA vision is for the sister isle of Tobago and Emancipation Day to figure prominently in the Commonwealth Youth Games 2021,” said Lewis. “Using the facilities across the country as training centres and building awareness globally that Trinbago is open and ready as a sport and event tourism destination.”

Tobago would host the high profile athletics and beach volleyball events while the TTCGA is proposing the opening ceremony at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah on Emancipation day.

The National Aquatic Centre, National Cycling Centre and the Ato Boldon Stadium – all located at Balmain, Couva, will be used for the remaining seven sports, catering to over 1,000 athletes and 300-400 officials from the 71 countries affiliated to the CGF.

The TTCGA idea is to keep the Games manageable, affordable, and to be an efficient host in keeping with the CGF mandate.

Lewis said the actual cash outlay will be significantly less than US$4 million, after the “value in kind’ elements are factored in.

“We think there are some synergies which will broaden the involvement of a diverse stakeholder base here,” Lewis said. “Around that time we will have Emancipation. Why not embrace it? From the aspect of the Commonwealth and its history and antecedent to territories such as former colonies, it could foster a lot of needed conversation.”

Lewis continued, “We are very keen and positive about using the Commonwealth Youth Games in a powerful way. We think that the Games can be used as a platform for some truth and reconciliation and some issues we believe need to address .”

Concerning the bid, Lewis believes the CGF has the opportunity to examine the TTCGA’s bid as a test case for reviewing the concept of government guarantees.

He added the TTCGA proposes the public/private option with a value-in-kind contribution from Government with regards to sporting infrastructure, customs and immigration, transportation, national security and any necessary legislation to safeguard the CGF intellectual property rights.

He added private sector would be sourced for funding technology, accommodation, opening and closing ceremonies, catering, marketing, technical support and trade promotion.

The next stage of the bid process is the site visit which would happen before January 2019.

“If it is going to be relevant and attractive for small island states to bid then it can’t be a cookie cutter, tick the box approach. The TTCGA bid is pushing the envelope a bit – innovative, entrepreneurial and creative.”

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