Open letter to the president of the Saint Lucia Sports Association

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Dear Sir,

In November 2020, the Saint Lucia Sports Association proceeded with the election of its leaders. The meeting was held at the headquarters of Olympic House. This process allowed participants to vote for the people who they believed would serve the organization and do well in terms of athletes and work in athletic development on the island.

Because we were in the midst of the COVID pandemic, it would have been thought that this process would allow participants who could not be there in person, to participate via zoom or other means, however, this was not an option for the affiliates.

From what I understand, only one club did not participate in the process, however, the electoral process went smoothly. Reports indicate that the only club noticed flaws in the process and therefore felt uncomfortable voting.

From where. I asked a few questions:

Why is the process faulty? Why have other people not chosen not to participate in the process? Is there a constitution? Did they follow the constitution? Do we still have ghost clubs without athletes or executive members? Is this still a factor in our sports fraternity? What happened to the registration procedure (of clubs / organizations) with the Ministry of Youth and Sports?

Is the revision of the Constitution complete? At what stage is it?

The constitution of the SLAA allows for the establishment of a number of policies and committees. Are these committees functional? Is there a disciplinary commission? Who sits on this committee, is there a finance committee? Who sits on this committee? Is there a publication committee? Is there an appeal board? Is this information accessible to everyone? How do you find it?

Do the clubs that are part of this organization all have executive members, are they structured clubs and are they registered with the Ministry of Youth and Sports?

What is the place of parents in this whole process? Why are parents not actively participating in decision-making processes? Why are you or your executive excluding them?

Between 2020 and now, the Saint Lucia Sports Association has organized three meetings. Over the three meetings, a number of issues and concerns were brought to your attention. However, to date there is no communication from you or your team.

I have made an effort to seek clarification from the club that my nephew is a member of, on how the athletes are selected to represent this country. I have been informed that athletes must meet the qualification standards set by the association’s technical team.

When to ask. what are the standards set for this sporting period – the answer was – “NONE.” If there is, it has never been shared with us.

I am very interested in sport – like me too – I am a former national athlete. I wish to express my regret for the way the Association continues to serve our young athletes.

There is no development program in place except for track and field competitions. There are athletes who show great promise – names that come to mind – Michael Joseph, Miguel Charlery, Ruben Nichlos, Hannah Charles, Julien Alfed, Naomi London, Armani Modeste. What are you doing as an Association to make sure these young athletes get the support they need? I have seen the return of Lynen Leonce-former CARIFTA Games medalist and people like Dylan Edwin etc.

Why didn’t we have a contingent at the NACAC U20/23 or the World Juniors U20? Didn’t Michael have a good time. From what I see in Nairobi, he could very well have benefited from this experience?

Are we dependent on schools in the United States to provide development opportunities? Is that right? Haven’t you noticed, along with your team, that very few of these schools prepare your athletes for you. They want their schools to win, so they recruit the talent?

By the time the athletes leave college, they are exhausted from the harsh regime of college sports.

Is your goal to win medals, if so why not focus on development which includes exposure. Exposure to competition, other training camps, etc.

I know of many situations where athletes have been put in compromising situations – the most recent was the 2019 CARIFTA TEAM. Yes, they ended up with two coaches who did not have the funding to provide them with their food needs. basic – since they had missed their flight? The question is; Who helped them? Was it another athlete? Or a politician who came to their aid? Where was the team leader?

Is it true that a parent questioned the validity of the results that were presented at one of the meetings held this year? Is it true that a person who has not competed appears on the results sheet as having raced and that a time is allotted to him? This is not a new phenomenon for SLAA. This has been going on for years. Why is there no improvement?

COVID 19 has surely impacted all sports around the world – however, athletics is a sport that can easily allow participation. But of course in Saint Lucia we are unique as we always have an HPITAL at George Odlum Stadium. How does this affect the development of our athlete? Do you care enough to do anything about it? If so, what does SLAA do? How do you make athletics possible for young future Olympians?

Over the years, SLAA has not encouraged parents to take an active role, they have not encouraged other agencies and organizations to get involved – my question is simply: WHY?

It feels like if you speak up, the athletes are VICTIMS. I have heard of cases where clubs or athletes are treated unfairly because they have talked about situations that we just have unfair in their minds. Would you rather they didn’t ask the hard questions?

WHY are they seen as a threat when they speak out? Why victimize? Why do you select athletes for major championships and choose someone who knows nothing about said athlete to be their coach? What is the rationale?

Without parents, you have no athletes. Without clubs and coaches, you have no athletes. The association is nothing without them. We need to find a balance to work together to develop sport and athletes.

Our children are our business. You do what it takes for them, and we will support you. Where are the PLANS for athlete development for the period 2021-2024? What financial or technical support or visibility do you intend to provide for the development.

What are your plans for young athletes? Where are our senior athletes? Why should they retire at 25, 28 and 30? Where is the development plan Mr. President?

Where are we going? COVID isn’t going anywhere in a hurry, we all need to learn to live with it. We have to start the work now, not tomorrow not the day after tomorrow, NOW !!


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