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Fortuna: A fortune for Olympic Committee!

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President of the St Lucia Olympic Committee, Fortuna Belrose (centre) and executive members.

President of the St Lucia Olympic Committee, Fortuna Belrose (centre) and executive members.

No doubt about it Fortuna Belrose had her share of good fortune and then some, at Wednesday’s election for the executive committee of the St Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC),  that place at the Conference Room of Auberage Seraphine.

Belrose who is currently the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, was elected President of the SLOC, succeeding former President Richard Peterkin. Her main and only opposition was President of the St Lucia Table Tennis Association, Theodore Matthews who is also Airport Manager at Hewanorra International Airport. The vote count here was 12-7 in favour of Belrose.

Former Minister of Sports, Desmond Brathwaite earlier signalled his intention to be a presidential candidate but was not present on Election Day.

For Belrose, the presidency was the next logical step up the ladder after serving as First Vice President. The same could not be said for Second Vice President and President of the St Lucia Volleyball Association, Brian Louisy. This time around, the Second Vice President is Manager of the National Tennis Centre, Ricardo Bowe. He defeated Louisy 9-7 in the vote count.

The position of Secretary General of the SLOC the domain of Alfred Emmanuel, was the most intriguing battle on this night. First Vice President of the St Lucia Amateur Boxing Association, Julie Bonnett was more than a worthy candidate. She nearly boxed out Emmanuel,  but in the end he retained the position of Secretary General by an 11-8 margin.

After what appeared to have been wheeling and dealing among the various National Federations, following are the new members of the SLOC for the period 2013-2016. President, Fortuna Belrose; First Vice President, Theodore Matthews; Second Vice President, Ricardo Bowe; Secretary General, Alfred Emmanuel; Treasurer, Joyce Huxley; Assistant Secretary General/Assistant Treasurer, Wayne Burton; IOC Member, Richard Peterkin. Representatives of National Federations: David Christopher (SLABA); Monica Dudley (St Lucia Bodybuilding Association); Rufina Paul (St Lucia National Netball Association); Jerome Girard (St Lucia Martial Arts).

On paper anyway, Belrose looked to be the best man/woman for the job. Under the heading work experience her resume states: “A qualified Recreation Education Specialist with 35 years experience in the field of sports administration.”

Dating back to 2007 she continues to be the Vice President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Regional Representative for the Caribbean. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Nevertheless, despite her impeccable credentials there is one overriding concern which may or may not prove to be problematic. There are some who feel it is unethical and a conflict of interest, for the newly installed president of the SLOC to also be employed as a PS with the ministry.

In response to that concern Belrose had this to say following Wednesday’s elections: “Well I don’t know, I think that’s left to be seen. You have clear examples of persons who have been involved in Olympic Committees across the world who were in government, from Prime Ministers down to ministers, senators, permanent secretaries etc. As it is now, the Olympic Committee does not rely on government for any financial assistance.”

She went on to say: “There would be conflict in anything that we do and conflict is a healthy thing. I think what we need to do is be able to rise above the conflict, work through the challenges that we have and try to resolve those issues amicably.”

To clear the air Belrose again repeated: “Being with the ministry and being the President of the SLOC there is no conflict as of now. I don’t see any potential conflict and if there is, I think it is about the level of maturity and integrity that we bring to the discussions around the table in trying to resolve the issues.”

Commenting on the new executive, Belrose is proud of the fact women are well represented. Olympic Committees are usually male dominated but Belrose said: “You can see the emergence of women and perhaps we [St Lucia Olympic Committee] may be the only one in this hemisphere with four women serving on the committee.”

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