Jamaica, last week hosted a meeting of a Caricom Task Force on Sports that had on its agenda three fundamental issues: The introduction of the Caribbean Games, the free movement of sports persons within the region and the establishment of a Caribbean Anti Doping Organisation.
The aforementioned issues must be seen as additional to Caricom’s commitment to West Indies Cricket, for which there is already a Special Committee comprising of some Caricom Prime Ministers, headed, of course, by Grenada’s Keith Mitchell.
Some time ago the then Minister of Sports of Trinidad and Tobago, warmed to a proposal from the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), backed by the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) for the introduction of the Caribbean Games. It was placed on the agenda of the meeting of the Ministers of Sports of Caricom and then left to languish.
Initially the CANOC focused attention on the re-introduction of a Carifta Multi-sport Games, but this was soundly rejected by the regional athletics associations who remain proud of the legacy of the Track and Field Carifta Games held each year over the Easter weekend.
Attention was then turned to the introduction of a Multisport Caribbean Games, based along the lines of the Central American and Caribbean Games, but involving the members of Caricom.
When the Ministers considered the initial proposal from the TTOC and CANOC, they agreed in principle on the event as facilitating the peoples of the Caribbean with the opportunity to see the region’s top athletes engaged in competition before their very eyes rather than as is usually the case, at the Olympic Games several thousand miles away and at exorbitant costs.
The Jamaica meeting arrived at the following conclusions:
Games’ Purpose: To provide a quadrennial high-level multisport Games showcasing Caribbean athletes for the Caribbean audiences at home and in the diaspora
The Games should be quadrennial.
The Inaugural Caribbean Games should be targeted for July/August 2009 with the precise dates selected by December 2005.
Trinidad and Tobago which declared its intention to host the first edition of the Games must confirm this in writing no later than the end of October while the determination of the countries eligible to participate must be made by December.
The establishment of the Organising Committee of the Caribbean Games (OCCG) should be done by December. This body must include representation from the NOC, host government and CANOC.
The CANOC proposal is that the number of sports included in Games be limited to three (3) core ones – Aquatics, Athletics and Netball, plus four (4) additional ones chosen by the host country based on popularity and which should include one male team sport.
The duration of the Games should not exceed five (5) days of competition and seven (7) nights of accommodation.
There should be an agreed ceiling on the number of athletes, team officials and technical officials involved in the Games in order to maintain acceptable levels of expenditure.
The responsibilities of the host government should include the provision of a letter of intent/commitment to host with NOC, provision of infrastructure – Competition and Training Venues; Equipment and the provision of cost-free Entry visas for all participants.
General participation – 2 athletes per country in individual events; 8 teams overall for team sport competitions.
There must be aggressive pursuit of television coverage: sale of TV Rights given extended market – the diaspora.
A CANOC Technical Commission – 3 persons and an ex-officio representative from the OCCG, would provide oversight in respect of all pertinent technical matters relating to the hosting of the Quadrennial Caribbean Games.