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Imbert allocates $200M for national teams
Minister of Finance Colm Imbert yesterday allocated $396,360,000 of the national budget to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs for 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase of $118,089,281 from the last financial year.
For the 2017-18 year, the sports ministry was initially earmarked $338,407,827 but was then presented a revised estimate of $278,270,719.
As of now, the government intends to spend more money in every department compared to last year. The largest portion of the allocation has consistently gone to national teams under the sub-head, current transfers and subsidies, amounting to $200,823,566, an $8,836,284 increase from last year.
"Many of our teams have qualified for the highest levels of tournaments. I assure this honourable 'House' and by extension the national community that all our national teams will be fully-funded," said the Finance Minister.
He made reference to the national netball team, who will participate in next year's International Netball Federation Netball World Cup which will be held in Liverpool, England from July 12-29, 2019, after qualification from winning the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) qualifiers recently held in Barbados.
"The women’s football team will participate in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Tournament from October 4-17 2018 with the top three teams directly qualifying to next year's FIFA Women’s World Cup which will take place in France. The tournament provides an opportunity for a fourth team qualifier," said Minister Imbert, who also mentioned the women’s volleyball team, which is currently participating in the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World Championship in Japan.
He said, "T&T is the first English-speaking country in the Caribbean and the first member of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association to participate in that prestigious competition.
"Our sports policy has been delivering substantial dividends," said the Finance Minister. "We have witnessed an outpouring of patriotism from our national community in response to the outstanding performances of our athletes, both individuals and teams, in recent international games and tournaments.
"They are making our country proud with a sense of national pride, not seen for many years. Many of our athletes have been parading on the victory podiums before international audiences."
Minister Imbert listed some of the achievements by local athletes in recent times including the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia during the period April 4-15 and the Central American and Caribbean Games which were held in Barranquilla, Colombia from July 19 - August 3.
"I wish to salute our elite athletes who participated in these Games or who received medals at these international events. They have been well-rewarded under our Reward and Incentive Programme and our own expectation is for a significant medal haul at the 2020 Olympics in Japan."
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