Throughout the history of the Olympic Games, athletes from across the Caribbean have produced outstanding, inspirational performances. We are pleased to have reached this agreement to enable extensive broadcast coverage of the Rio 2016 Games in the region. Those were the words of president of the International Olympic Committee, Tomas Bach.
The National Olympic Committees of the Caribbean, under the umbrella of the regional organisation, the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) took their latest initiative forward with a grand launch of their Caribbean Broadcasting Inc (CBI) at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, Jamaica on Wednesday 30 April 2014.
On hand at the launch were the world’s fastest man and women, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, respectively. Also present were members of the CANOC Executive and members of the CBI.
CANOC was officially established in August 2003 at a General Assembly held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, during the Pan American Games. The organisation consists of National Olympic Committees of the region including Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Puerto Rico, Commonwealth Games Associations of Montserrat, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos Islands, as well as representative governing sport bodies from Martinique and Guadeloupe.
CANOC’s vision is to promote, encourage and assist sport, sport development and physical recreationthroughout the Caribbean for the benefit of the nations and people of the Caribbean.
One of the organisation’s primary objectives is to use sport and the Olympic Movement as a vehicle for regional integration through strengthening the bonds that already unites us as a people.
Since its establishment CANOC has entered into a partnership with Commonwealth Games Canada that has led to the establishment of the Caribbean Coaches Certification Programme (CCCP) and the organisation and administration of several important capacity building workshops in the field of sport.
More recently, CANOC entered into an agreement with the Organising Committee for the Pan American Games scheduled for Toronto, Canada, in 2015 (TO2015) that yielded administrative and technical workshops in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.
CANOC has continued its collaborative work by forging an agreement with the Organising Committee of the Pan American Games scheduled for Lima, Peru, in 2019 (LIMA2019) for a total of 16 capacity building workshops starting in 2015.
A keen relationship was established with the Caribbean Association of National Paralympic Committees (CANPC) when the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding following a joint workshop held in St Thomas, USVI last year. The workshop was actually to facilitate greater understanding and collaboration between National Olympic Committees (NOC) and national Paralympic Committees (NPC).
CANOC has been engaged in collaborating with CARICOM on a number of issues not the least of which has been Sport Tourism.
There are several initiatives on the drawing board of CANOC all of which are consistent with the stated vision and objectives.
National Olympic Committees in the Caribbean are directed by their mandate as stated in the Olympic Charter. The Olympic Charter’s Fundamental Principles state, among other things, Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
The Principles also state… The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. The organisation, administration and management of sport must be controlled by independent sports organisations.
NOCs share in the objectives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to which they are affiliated. They are about promoting sport as a vehicle for development in their respective countries. They are involved in nation building, harmony and peace. In an independent way, something not always readily understood by governments.
The St Vincent and the Grenadines NOC is at once a founding member of CANOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees of the OECS (ANOCES). Indeed, in the case of the latter, it was our NOC that initiated the process of consultation, drafted the constitution and facilitated its formation.
NOCs around the world receive funding from the IOC through its development arm, Olympic Solidarity. This is the IOC’s way of facilitating the genuine independence of the NOCs from political interference while at the same time ensuring the availability of resources to facilitate the sport development process amongst Olympic sports practised in the member countries.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee is one of the leading NOCs in the Caribbean and brings in approximately $300,000 USD per year into this country by way of accessing the several projects available under Olympic Solidarity and the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), thereby making it the single largest contributor in St Vincent and the Grenadines to the administration and technical aspects of the sport development process on an annual basis.
CANOC Broadcasting Inc
The latest initiative from CANOC is the establishment of the CBI. This is an organisation made up of CANOC as a corporate entity and its individual members as the shareholders.
The rationale is manifold.
- To showcase our athletes at the Olympic Games by allowing Caribbean people to see first hand and in the comfort of their own homes or wherever they may be their respective athletes as the prepare for and participate in the quadrennial Olympic Games.
- To provide a consistent additional revenue stream for the NOCs and CANOC that would lead to the Caribbean region having its own Olympic Solidarity-type programme on a quadrennial basis.
- To lay the foundation for competing for media rights of all multisport Games in which the Caribbean is involved such as the Commonwealth, Central American and Caribbean and Pan American Games respectively.
The CBI’s Board of Directors is composed of:
Mr Steve StouteChairman
Mr Brian HackettCorporate Secretary
J Tyrone MarcusLegal Officer
CANOC’s CBI first successfully bid for and acquired the media rights to the Olympic Games scheduled for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. This is the initiative that was launched in Jamaica last week. This achievement, unique in the world, means that CBI has the rights on all media platforms (inclusive of social media) and in all languages for the Olympic Games in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks and Caicos along with Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Tortola.
The announcement may well have created something of a ripple effect amongst some media barons in the region but serves as a model that other NOCs in different parts of the world may well adopt in the not too distant future if only because it empowers NOCs to access increased revenues that would allow them to better develop their athletes at home and abroad for future Games.
The initiative also means that NOCs would be able to break their reliance on governments for preparing teams and participating in the Olympic and other multisport Games.
CEO of CBI, Michael ‘Larry’ Romany, speaking at the launch noted, this agreement heralds a new era for sport in the Caribbean. The economic benefits present considerable funding opportunities for developing youth in the region and increase the viability and international competitiveness of the Caribbean athlete. We are very excited at the prospect of a more integrated approach to the development of sports.”
Critical to CBI’s success was the partnering with an authoritative and highly competent, capable and reputable media production organisation. The major achievement in this regard was again highlighted at last week’s launch when it was announced that ESPN, the world’s leader ion sport coverage, entered into a partnership with CBI.
The CBI/ESPN partnership means that Caribbean sports enthusiasts are assured of high definition coverage for the duration of the next Olympic sin Rio de Janeiro and beyond. The reputation of ESPN is on the line just as is the case with CBI and CANOC.
ESPN’s Director of Programming, Scott McGlone, put it this way, This agreement offers a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with CBI in delivering first-class coverage of Rio 2016 to sports fans in the Caribbean. The Olympic Games are at the pinnacle of all sporting events and I am pleased that ESPN can utilize and leverage its resources and expertise covering prior Olympics to showcase an event of this magnitude in the region.
The stage is set! The initiative has taken off! The cause is good!
Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines we must do our part to ensure that the CBI is a success.
Athletes across the Caribbean must see the CBI as an important step in their favour and that is the reason that Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were at the launch to endorse the undertaking.
Other Caribbean athletes who are world ranked are to come on board.
The CBI/ESPN alliance will begin, in the next few months, a monthly media magazine that showcases the potential Olympic athletes for the Game sin Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The magazine will cover every country that would have participants and chronicle their preparation two years out through to the Games in 2016. This has never been done before.
Each media house and media source in every one of the countries for which the rights have been obtained would be given an opportunity o participate in the CBI initiative and benefit in one way or another.
The world seems to think that the Caribbean is small and not up to much. On the contrary, we have always provided intellectuals and ideas for development.
The CBI is our latest foray into the international arena.
We can do this and allow our youths a sport development pathway that is no less important that any other aspect of national and regional development.
Make room for CANOC and the CBI!