Fri | Sep 25, 2020

MANDATE '28 - Samuda envisions 10-year plan for local sporting associations

Published:Sunday | November 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/ Gleaner Writer
Craig Campbell crosses the line for victory for Excelsior High School at the Wesley Powell Track and Field Meet on Saturday December 10, 2016. Jamaica Olympic Association president Christopher Samuda was the keynote speaker at the launch of this year’s event to take place on Saturday, December 8. Samuda called on organisers of grassroots sporting projects such as this meet to do more to foster their development.

If sport in Jamaica is to flourish, federations will have to become efficient, revenue-generating entities. That is the vision of Christopher Samuda, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA). Speaking at the November 21 launch of the 15th Wesley Powell Track and Field Meet on the campus of Excelsior High School, Samuda said a key component of this vision encompasses the activation of the National Sports Council.

In a speech that presented a picture of the Jamaican sporting landscape in 2028, the

JOA president urged sporting bodies to embrace a business-centred approach to their affairs. "If we are serious about sport development, in 2028, our sport associations, federations, organisations, entities must by then be efficient business outfits; business outfits with corporate management structures which promote and embody a culture of good governance, performance, transparency and accountability, business outfits with a team of professionals. They must have the requisite coaching and administrative skills and expertise and the required vision, as well as the commitment to realise that vision; business outfits that are revenue-generating with decreased dependence on donors, sponsors, and the public purse," Samuda said.

He said those organisations operate at the grassroots level and therefore, at that level, we've got to get it right".


Sports centres


He also foresees the development of what he called customised sport centres across the island. Samuda talked tough about personnel appointments for the parish and county centres he sees in Jamaica's future. "The wrong people cannot occupy the right jobs", he opined. "Get persons with the know-how to do the job and leave them to do it with performance driven targets by which they will be judged."

To support the point, he added, "Get rid of the 'drag-slippers people' who are dead slow or dead on the job, get rid of the profilers whose job is business as usual at the expense of progress and development."

In an engaging address to those present at the launch, he encouraged policymakers to enact the National Sports Policy. "That National Sports Policy will remain on paper and an artefact of history, if we do not give it life, relevance and currency," he offered. He believes that that could provide a framework for the functioning of a National Sports Council by 2028.

Sport, he posited, could rescue the youth of the country. "Is this not the vision we have for our youth, who are born into ready-made adverse circumstances sometimes, or who become victims of a visionless society, or who are self-inflicted victims".

In this regard, the sports centres, he suggested, would offer training in soft skills, self-esteem, relational management, civic pride and emotional intelligence.

Samuda praised the organisers of the meet for extending the vision of Powell, the late educator who founded Excelsior High School.

"Aston Wesley Powell heard the cry for upliftment through education," he noted respectfully. "Aston Wesley Powell felt the heart beat of generations yet born", he said, "and he breathed life into an institution so that you and I are the beneficiaries of his legacy."

The meet takes place at Excelsior on December 8.