Above: Trinidadian Olympic Gold Medalist Keshorn Walcott
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Is it time for the Caribbean to host its own version of the Olympics?
The idea is the “Caribbean Games,” which would pit the region’s countries against one another in athletic competition.
Barbados Sports Minister Stephen Lashley has called for the staging of the games, which he said, if properly planned and marketed, “could bring glory and tangible economic benefits to this region.”
Lashley, who was speaking this week at the General Assembly of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees at the Hilton Barbados, said serious consideration must be given to refocusing their attention on hosting the games.
“The Caribbean Games is potentially an excellent foreign exchange generator, an opportunity to showcase our top-tier athletes collectively and to further enhance the image of the region in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee and the international sporting community,” he said.
The Games would also offer an additional platform for Caribbean athletes to maintain their momentum outside of CARIFTA and the CAC Games, he said.
“Yes, some may say that this objective can be realised without a Caribbean Games, but it comes at the very high cost of our athletes having to travel outside of the region,” Lashley said. “Consequently, only a few persons receive that essential exposure and there are no widespread benefits to the Caribbean nations.”
The Game would also give the region the opportunity to develop an “enticing sporting product” in the Caribbean, “capable of attracting the major television networks, thus bringing in much needed revenue from the negotiation of television rights.”