Thursday 23rd June 2005

 

Batting for transparency

 
 
 
 
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Justice Anthony Lucky

Very early Wednesday morning, I received the following letter from Brian Lewis, who has served T&T sports, with some credit, as the chef de mission at several Olympic games.

Dear Mr Wilson,

First, I take this opportunity to congratulate you on the excellent job you and your team are doing with the Guardian business.

It is insightful and informative.

There has been a lot of comment about the merits of the Cabinet approved $850 million sports facility at Tarouba.

But I do not recall seeing anyone examine the issue of the viability of sport business or the business side of sport.

Can it be developed? Can it make a financial and economic contribution? Is it sustainable? Is it realistic?

I appreciate that many still see sport as recreational. But many countries are now taking a different look and see sport as a viable economic contributor.

Regards

Brian Lewis (not the local architect)

Editor’s Note:

I thank Mr Lewis sincerely for his kind words.

It was very useful for him to have added that he was not the local architect because the other Brian Lewis, the architect is on record, in a letter to the editor published in last week’s Business Guardian, as being very much against the $850 million Tarouba facility.

Mr Lewis’s letter is also timely because I have had cause to reflect on the issue of sports and its relationship to business, especially the controversies surrounding West Indies cricket, quite often in the recent past.

In that regard, I would like to applaud the West Indies Cricket Board for appointing the committee led by Justice Anthony Lucky to investigate the whole issue of the sponsorship of the cricket team.

Even though I am far removed from the process, as a journalist in a newsroom one hears disturbing things being spoken of, especially as one sits next to the sports department.

If the WICB wanted to hire a company to find a new sponsor for West Indies cricket, was that service subject to the normal transparent procurement processes?

Were various companies invited to submit bids and were those bids scrutinised by an executive committee and then the board of the WICB?

Or did a board member decide to hire one of his friends to conduct the search?

How was the fee determined? Was it a percentage of the final figure or was it a fixed fee?

I am looking for someone who has the experience, depth and the contacts to write on this issue.

I wonder if Mr Lewis can help me find someone?

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