SATURDAY October 20th 2018 can best described as a Historic Day for the Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association (SLASA), as that was the day when the local association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Longvilliers Club of Martinique at the Bay Garden’s Hotel in Rodney Bay, Gros Islet.
The Martiniquan contingent comprised: President Robert Marajo of the Longvilliers Club, Vice President Michael Rose and Coaches Christian Sufrin and Jn Michel Sufrin. The SLASA were the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Youth Development- Donovan Williams, Saint Lucia Olympic Committee Treasurer – Joyce Huxley, Director of Youth Development and Sport – Patrick Mathruin, President of SLASA – Eddie Hazel and other executive members of afflicted clubs.
The ceremony commenced with opening remarks from the President of SLASA Eddie Hazel, who welcomed the local Executive and Members of the Longvilliers Club on this special occasion.
Robert Marajo, President of Longvilliers Swim Club expressed his gratitude for being in Saint Lucia and indicated their willingness to work with SLASA.
He said, “We are happy to work hand in hand with you, we are doing this in collaboration with Saint Lucia in regards with a sporting plan for competition, exchanges and partnership.
“We have come here to sign this agreement on the general partnership that has been proposed and to show the interest that we have in this is mutual. Also we are giving you this invitation for all Saint Lucia’s swim clubs and also to open doors between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados to a swim meet we are having in January 2019”.
This swim meet in January will be part of the qualification for the Carifta Swim Championship; and it will also serve as a qualification for the French National Championship.
Development Officer Yasmin Tyson noted the purpose of the MOU is to provide the framework for Longvilliers Club du Lamentin and SLASA with a goal to collaborate with and engage the development and sustainability of Aquatics in both territories.
Tyson indicated that the limited resources create a major constraint for the development and expansion of our programmes. Therefore SLASA have found it absolutely necessary to partner with our Martiniquan counterparts through the Longvilliers Club du Lamentin to foster the growth and development of our Aquatics programs.
In addition, members of the Longvilliers Club du Lamentin and persons of good standing from the Martiniquan Federation will benefit from initiatives and exchange programmes outlined in this Memorandum of Understanding.
Each partner agreed to work together in the true spirit of partnership to ensure that there is a united, visible and responsive leadership in support of aquatics in both territories.
Permanent Secretary in the Department of Youth Development and Sports, Donavan Williams who also addressed the gathering said, “This is a very important signing; many times we dream of things we want to do; we talk about plans upon plans, but we do not always follow through.
“In my experience at the Department, the Saint Lucia Swimming Association is one of the model associations because it dares to dream, it acts, it doesn’t wait for government, it engages government, it demands from government and so as government we always feel obligated to response”.
“This represents another initiative on the part of SLASA to realise its dreams and to develope the sports of swimming and the partnership we will be signing will be critical to us realizing this history/objective”. He noted.
Williams congratulated the Longvilliers Club for being part of this process of realizing our dream. He said, “I sense a very good spirit amongst everyone present which is excellent and that is the spirit which will help us develop our sport generally with swimming playing a lead role.
“Thank you for being part of this historic occasion. I want to certainly pledge the commitment of the Department in working with you and hence to a very long lasting relationship”.
Meanwhile, the services will include training of swimmers and provision of technical assistance of coaches, hosting of competitions, national swimming teams exchange and attachment programmes for swimmers, coaches, instructors, technical officials and other development assistance in building/managing of swimming facilities in Saint Lucia.
The Miage will be another initiative set to include four participating organizations.
The proposed period will be at a scheduled date in April 2019., with the support from all stakeholders, as SLASA intends to bring the sport of swimming to all Saint Lucians.