It must have been some twenty years ago that the then Olympic
president, the late Knolly Henderson and general secretary
Alex Chapman brought the idea of hosting the Commonwealth
games in T&T.
No doubt, the fact that Jamaica was able to host the British
Empire games in the sixties encouraged the NOC to give the
matter serious thought.
With my absolute shortage of the experience in analyzing
the project thoroughly, I saw it as a great idea and one
which Knolly and Alex will have given indepth study.
Needless to say, it never materialized, maybe for a number
of good reasons stemming from inadequate infrastructure,
lack of competent human resources, lack of Government financing,
among numerous other aspects of shortcomings.
Knolly has passed and gone, leaving us short of his valuable
knowledge and experience, but Alex is still very much with
us and must be the pillar on which this decision should
Whatever reasons were put forward in the initial attempt,
should be revisited and viewed in a manner in which present
circumstances may have changed the outlook of hosting such
a prestigious event.
It will be nice to see this country shine among the top
bracket of countries who fight tooth and nail for events
of this magnitude.
Having been to three Commonwealth games myself, it was easy
to recognize the mammoth task that is ahead almost in every
aspect of our objective.
I suppose that the question of facilities must be on the
front burners in the wishlist, especially with some of the
extraordinary sporting disciplines which require facilities
somewhat foreign to our people.
A relevant aspect of the decision making process will lay
square on the financing of this huge project, not only from
the erecting of new facilities, but with the balancing of
income and expenditure in the final analysis.
Some of us will have witnessed the attendance patterns of
crowds who attend the popular events and reveal to the analysts
the shortage of crowd support for some of the less exciting
It is fair to say that we are very much a sport loving public
mainly for the sports that are popular within our own society,
and unfortunately, football and cricket, both of which are
not considered bread and butter events in the Commonwealth
games, are among the more popular in our country.
Track and Field, Cycling, Swimming, Boxing, Rifle Shooting,
may invite some level of crowd participation, but there
are quite a few sporting events which fans would easily
This brings us to the next question. When these events are
taking place concurrently in different parts of the country,
could anyone imagine the trafficular confusion in the cities
across the island.
This is simply because we do not have the adequate roads
in order to accommodate the movement of so many people at
a time. Then of course, we may wish to consider whether
or not this country has a population which can provide sufficient
spectator support to the extent that the organizers would
I distinctly recall having to travel distances within the
city of Edmonton, Canada, to witness track and field events,
and literally hustle to other venues for Swimming and then
Cycling, all within three hours and over sixty odd miles
Having brought these issues to the fore, the impression
is not to dampen the efforts of the Olympic committee, but
to alert them towards the reality of the task ahead.
I expect that the NOC will seek the advice of people like
Alex Chapman and Hasely Crawford, both of whom have attended
a number of Commonwealth games, plus the national associations
and government agencies, whose commitments must be positive
The commitment to hosting Games of this magnitude must be
definitive from as far back as the date of the announcing
Knowing that we are not by nature good long term planners,
it would be interesting to see whether or not the government
gives its thumbs up for the event.