The St Lucia Olympic Committee invited members of the media and various sporting associations to break bread at their annual luncheon, held this year at the Coalpot Restaurant in Vigie. The event signalled the beginning of the year’s activities as well as the conclusion of what was deemed a successful chapter of the Olympic movement on the island. Current SLOC president Mrs Fortuna Belrose shared that the committee has been taking stock of their progression.
“Over the last few months we have spent an inordinate amount of time just trying to assess where we are and what we’ve done and the level of contribution the St Lucia Olympic Committee has made toward the development of sport in St Lucia.”
Belrose also gave a brief overview of the past financial year in the organization.
“In the last seven months, the committee, in terms of programming and activities has spent over $620 000 working with its affiliates. In terms of development and promotion we’ve spent $161 883, and in terms of games preparation and participation we’ve spent $101 000 making it a grand total of $883 697 invested in the programming with the affiliates of the St Lucia Olympic Committee.”
The committee experienced hiccups along the way but they are forging ahead and gearing up not just for the immediate future but major events down the line; the largest of which is the islands committment to hosting the 2017 Commonwealth Games. To that end they are already receiving assistance from a special vistor, Ryan Pelley.
“Ryan is here from the Commonwealth Games Federation. He is the regional development manager and he will be working across the Caribbean as well as the Americas but he is based in St Lucia for one year. It is a time for Ryan to look within us. See if we are really making the strides required of us as a country getting ready for the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017.”
In the meantime the SLOC has their sights set on putting on a good showing at three premier Games in 2014. The year starts of fwith the Olympic Youth Games in Nanjing, China, followed by the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow, where for the first time St. Lucia will be participating with a large contingent thanks to the qualifying netball team, and finally the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico. The chefs de mission will be Monica Dudley, Wayne Burton, and Teddy Matthews respectively.
Belrose also revealed another tidbit.
“We, also in line with the Commonwealth Games, will be hosting the Queen’s baton relay. As you know the baton symbolizes the commencement of operations for the games in 2014 in Glasgow. The baton arrives in St Lucia on the 16th of March and will be here until the 19th.”
Former SLOC head and International Olympic Committee member Richard Peterkin was honoured for his twenty years of continuous service to the organization, a gesture Belrose admitted was long overdue.
“Today what we really want to do Mr Peterkin is say thank you to you for the work that you have done. I don’t think we’ve had an opportunity to really celebrate your twenty years so today is dedicated to you and as a token of that we went to present you with a plaque of appreciation.”
Also on hand was minister of sports Shawn Edward, who regaled the crowd with tales of his purported cycling prowess before pledging his support to the efforts of the sporting community on the island.
“I want to say that the government of St Lucia is extremely supportive of the work of the St Lucia Olympic Committee. As a ministry our primary concern and responsibility is policy contribution and far as sports and development is concerned. But we’ve come to realize that we cannot on our own deliver to the sportsmen of this country what they need in order to excel and become the world champions that we’ve been craving, that we’ve been longing for for years. And so as much as possible we try to partner with agencies and groups that share our mandate. We work collaboratively with the national sports federations, we work with schools, we work with other government agencies and I must tell you it is extremely important for us to stay close to the St Lucia Olympic Committee for a number of reasons, chief of which of course is that it is one of the entities in our country which has a very solid financial base.”