CANOC's Brian Lewis signs an agreement with Caribbean RADO chairman Patrick Werleman ©RADO

Outgoing Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) President Brian Lewis has described the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) as an "amazing initiative."

The two bodies signed the agreement during the CANOC General Assembly, here in Port of Spain.

"It is significant as it sends a very powerful and strong signal, not just to the region, but to the entire Olympic and Commonwealth sports movement, that we in the Caribbean are committed to clean sport," Lewis, later elected as CANOC secretary general for the next four years insisted.

"This brings us yet another step closer to making sure all of our athletes in the region receive key education in anti-doping, which helps to create a level playing field for our athletes," RADO chairman Patrick Werleman said.

"After a long period of preparation and negotiations, we finally did it and I’m extremely happy!" he added.

CANOC Secretary-General Brian Lewis (left) insists the agreement highlights the Caribbean commitment to clean sport ©RADO
CANOC Secretary-General Brian Lewis (left) insists the agreement highlights the Caribbean commitment to clean sport ©RADO

RADO currently has 18 member nations in the region.

The agreement has been hailed as the first of its kind in the region, and will offer support for doping control and testing, anti-doping and clean sport education and research.

It will also help with sharing information resources and technical expertise and will offer guidance in implementing legislation and developing policy in the region.

"We see this as one of the moments in a much longer journey on our mission to lead, promote and coordinate clean sport in the Caribbean region, to realise our vision of a unified region, committed to clean sport," Werleman added.

"We have a lot of young people who do very well in sport, especially track and field, cycling and swimming - and for us in the Caribbean, it is about levelling the playing field," Lewis explained.

"It is now that we need to cultivate a stronger community of practice to ensure that our Governments are engaged, that our work is athlete-centred, and our policies facilitate levelling the playing field for the athlete’s right to participate in clean sport," Werleman agreed.

As part of the initiatives, Dr Sasha Sutherland had led an interactive RADO workshop for the CANOC delegates.