The Rotary Club of Port-of-Spain gave an audience to the new Chairman of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Michael Phillips, in their weekly meeting. As the feature speaker, Mr. Phillips spoke of his history in the sport of cycling and his hopes for a better Trinidad and Tobago, especially through the input of sport. When questioned of his greatest accomplishment in his chosen sport he was quick to point out that there was no one moment or goal that he achieved that brought him his greatest satisfaction. However, he reminisced of the feeling of pride he felt in seeing Trinbagonians cheer for Guyanese, Cuban and other West Indian athletes during the West Indies vs The World Cycling event, an event which he pioneered. To this, the Rotarians applauded him for telling “the truth” a key element of the Rotarian values.
Phillips was able to address his current tenure as well. Many have approached him with empathy upon the task facing he stated,probably because the image of sport administration has been tarnished since the LifeSport debacle and the FIFA enquiries. Thus, he sees his first task as being one more of stabilisation as opposed to grand projects to move forward. His philosophy though is one of events rather than infrastructure as he cited the Olympics, the World Cup and his many local events as the keys to encouraging the next generation and generating funding in sport. The SPORTT Company has spent many years on minding “seats and concrete” in terms of our stadia (which he described as the highest seating per capita ratio in the world) as opposed to sport itself as the structures are probably used more by the culture industry, who lack as many facilities.
He hopes to return to a time where people felt more invested and related to the various sporting facilities which are now seen by the average man as the home of elite athletes while there is limited green space available for sporting activity in the country. He further lamented on the fact that the inability of children to gather in one spot or in the roads to play anymore has resulted in families no longer knowing who lives on their streets, with classmates unaware that they live within one block of each other. The success of the cycling in Diego Martin on Sunday morning in terms of re-creating this fraternity as well as improving the health of many who participate regularly has given him hope that those days are not ended.
With such an approach, the SPORTT Chairman would be well on his way to “building goodwill and better friendships” as he looks to use sport to “the benefit of all concerned” truly embracing the Rotarian values of his hosts.