Paso blanks Caribbean Games

The T&T Olympic Committee is deeply disappointed by the recent decision taken by the Pan American Sport Organisation (Paso), headed by Mario Vasquez Rana, to not give official Paso sanction to the inaugural Caribbean Games. During a meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico last week, the ruling Paso executive committee refused to recognise the Games, which will be held in Port-of -Spain from July 12 -19.
The committee said that Paso rules did not permit the organisation to recognise the Caribbean Games. There were also concerns that endorsement might lead to obligation to fund the Games. According to the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), the official reasons given by Paso did not stand exacting scrutiny, as there were a number of examples of support and patronage for other regional and sub-regional Games. The request to Paso did not include any request for financial assistance.
Describing the Paso decision as “regretful and unexpected,” TTOC secretary general Brian Lewis remained confident that the inaugural Caribbean Games would be a success as Paso’s blessing was not necessary. According to Lewis, the Caribbean’s positive contribution to the International Olympic Committee, Olympism, the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement was undeniable. “The Caribbean Olympic Movement is resolute and will progress the staging of the Caribbean Games undeterred and with the indomitable will, creativity, imagination and resilience that has served the region through out its well documented social, geo political and economic history.
“The disappointment felt by the TTOC, in particular, has only served to strengthen its commitment to the Olympic values of striving for excellence, friendship and respect.” said Lewis. Refusing to speculate as to any reasons for the inexplicable turn of events, the TTOC secretary general cautioned against any action that might be perceived as a snub. “The Caribbean has in the past proven to be supportive of many of the initiatives undertaken by Paso and the Paso membership. This decision is not reflective of any appreciation and respect for the contribution that the Caribbean has made.”
“In sport politics there are always people who will prefer to see the Caribbean divided but the formation of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) has brought a level of consensus and co-operation among the Caribbean that is unprecedented. The Caribbean Games is a symbol of that unity.” CANOC president and head of the Barbados Olympic Association Steve Stoute called the decision a “major disappointment” although he still felt that the Games would be a success. He said that Paso’s actions did not make sense to him. “I just can’t understand why Central America can have their Games, the Bolivarians can have their Games, the South Americans can have their Games, but we the Caribbean, as our some 26 countries, a large bloc of the PASO family, cannot have our own Games,” he said.