THE year 2014 can be described as the best year ever for the St. Lucia Rugby Football Union as the local teams came up with a series of wins at a number of regional events.
That celebration was short lived as this year their outstanding sports personalities will not be part of the gala National Sports Awards slated for Sandals Grande on Friday February 13.
The VOICE spoke to the President of the St.Lucia Rugby Football Union Colvis Samuels earlier this week.
VOICE: You realise last year the SLRFU had a successful year, but based on information received from the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports no one was nominated by your association for the national awards you care to explain reasons why?
Samuels, “As a matter of fact on Monday 26 January, I was in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports; I called the Sports Director Jim Xavier because we sent in our nominees. We were so excited we had a special event to elect out nominees, Jerry Charles-senior Male, Electra Marcel-senior female, Shaian Samuels junior female and Junior Hunter-junior male. We also had Wendell St. Clair as our administrator for the year.
“The mistake I made was to send our package via someone from the Ministry of Education who we are now finding out apparently never dropped it. I was at the ministry on Monday speaking to Xavier and Claudia Noel about our position because we never knew that we were not recognized. It’s only when someone told me last week Friday that there was an article in the VOICE saying there was no nomination from Rugby that I became concerned. I have copies of our nominees / forms which I kept for our records. It’s amazing the Ministry is now telling us we cannot be recognized based on that and it’s unfortunate”.
“We have a youth and sports officer who represents the Rugby association in the Ministry. The Youth and Sports Officer never called us”.
VOICE: you care to say who that Youth and Sports Officer is Samuels: Claudia Noel, she is the one responsible for Rugby. If you have not seen our nomination the best thing to do is to check. I must add though that the ministry sent out some emails, but by that I time I was of the impression we were not part of mix so I never bothered to respond in terms of the deadlines and reminders”.
“I am still going to fight that fight; I will be going back to the Ministry this time to speak to the Permanent Secretary Fortuna Belrose to see what can be done. Even if we have to pay for our trophies, we certainly need the recognition. Our people toiled last year; we had some terrific results and this is a stroke against us and I want to fight the fight to be recognized”.
VOICE: Well the stroke is going against you, so what is the feeling and atmosphere like within the camp of the Rugby Association? Samuels: “As you can see we have three teams in action presently. We have in excess of 30 male players, another 20 female players. As far I can remember that is the largest turn out we have had in a very long time. It shows that rugby is moving. We have two full teams from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (male / female) and both of them are playing, so it also confirms in the mind of our players and our supporters that rugby is going places. We have talent, we have a 12 year old in action, but apart from that we have a player who’s 59 years old so we’re showing that the sport is moving in the right direction in terms of seeking appropriate replacements for our older players and spreading the game.
“It is wonderful to see SALCC as part of the set up; it can only get better from here. We plan to do even more this year than 2014. From February to July we are booked for competitions both locally and overseas”.
VOICE: Has the individual you gave to (deliver) your list of nominees or the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports apologized for such a mess up?
Samuael: “No!!, as a matter of fact they said the onus is on us and the fault is with us as nobody at their end has any evidence that the package was handed in. It was up to us in terms of due diligence to follow up. That is what I was told by the Director of Sports Jim Xavier. I found it kind of unfair in a way, the dismissive manner in which it was treated. It just tells you where we are. I can assure you it will not daunt my spirits and my team mates as you can see. I know for sure somebody will be disappointed. These things happen, I hope it does not happen again based on what we’ve done”.