The Honourable Shamfa Cudjoe-Lewis, Minister of Sport and Community Development, Remarks at the 9th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP9) to the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport Convention from October 25-26 2023 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is an absolute pleasure for me to be granted the opportunity to address this Ninth session of the UNESCO Conference of Parties to the International Convention against Doping in Sport. Since COP8, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Sport and Community Development, has been working assiduously to improve our compliance profile and to pursue the delivery of outcomes and proposals requested by the Conference.

Let me start by thanking the WADA representative for such an informative and enlightening presentation. WADA has been and continues to be an invaluable partner in helping Trinidad and Tobago to implement the recommendations and directives of UNESCO, and to enhance our position in the promotion of FairPlay and clean sport.

When I first participated this conference in 2019, Trinidad and Tobago was listed as non-compliant. Today, I’m pleased to report that we have made significant strides and we are no longer on that non-compliance list. I wish to recognise and commend the efforts of WADA and our Caribbean RADO for working hand in hand with our government and sport stakeholders to bring us closer and closer to compliance. Our Caribbean RADO has been very instrumental in providing technical support and helping us to build awareness. WADA has literally held our hands throughout the process of updating our Anti-doping legislation. We amended and passed our National Anti-doping legislation in June of this year and we are now current and fully compliant as it relates to the relevant requirements for the legislative framework.

The UNESCO country representative has also been a key partner in helping us to establish our National Compliance platform, and recruiting a National Focal Point. Our National Focal point was appointed in April, and has been engaging sport stakeholders and hosting meetings and working sessions for the past 6 months.

I note that many SIDS continue to call for financial assistance, I support their position. However, I must state that the challenges we face are not always financial. There is an urgent and dire need for technical support and assistance in training our officers who are required to stand on the frontline and lead the charge in this fight against doping in sport. It is in this light that I wish to request that both UNESCO and WADA redouble their efforts in providing technical support to State parties, especially to SIDS and LDCs who face insurmountable difficulties in attaining and maintaining compliance.

I wish to salute the Government of Jamaica and more specifically, the Ministry with responsibility for Sport in Jamaica. Jamaica is a leading light in the area of sport excellence in the region, and the Jamaican Government has opened its doors and extended its hands to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago by supporting our efforts in sport development and offering technical assistance to improve our anti-doping profile. JADCO remains the most active, advance and progressive anti-doping entity in the Caribbean, and there is so much that we all can learn from them.  We have a tendency of looking outside for answers to our problems, but the antidote can often be found right in our backyards with the help and cooperation of our neighbours. The Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago owe a debt of gratitude to the Government and people of Jamaica for their steadfast and selfless support as we work together to develop stronger relations and a more resilient Caribbean through technical cooperation especially in the areas of sport development and promotion of clean sport. Jamaica has been a true big sister, and we are truly grateful for that.