Sportlight, Sports

TRACK AND FIELD: SLAA Crucial Election Today; Is Magloire In Or Out?

Image of Julien Alfred

Should all go according to plans; the winner of the presidency battle in the Saint Lucia Athletic   Association will be known no later by 4.00 p.m. today at the Saint Lucia Olympic House in La Clery where  the General Meeting to elect a new executive is schedule to begin from 10.00 a.m.

Andrew Magloire, the incumbent president, is confronted by a serious threat for leadership and that is based in the manner in which he has run the association for the last two years. It’s an odd situation that Magloire finds himself in for a man with so much experience in the sport.

Image of Youth Olympic 2018 Silver medalist Julien Alfred
Keeping track and field alive, Youth Olympic 2018 Silver medalist Julien Alfred

One of the biggest criticisms abounds regarding the lack of the financial report for today’s General Meeting. A release to its affiliates reads, “We would like to inform that the Financial Report is incomplete and will not be presented at the General Meeting slated for Saturday 3rd November.  SLAA Secretary, Rochelle Jn Baptiste, Monday 15th October 2018.

The remainder of the agenda reads Welcome, Roll Call, Prayers, Review of the work of the SLAA for the preceding year and Election of Officers.

It is for this reason, based on communications reaching me; he is in no man’s land to retain his position at the top of national track and field.

With the clock ticking away, Magloire has a little over four hours to prove to the many affiliates present that he will change and apply himself appropriately to the business at hand in the very best interest of the track and field family in Saint Lucia.

But for now, the question of winning the presidency again looks grim.

Based on concerns expressed by a number of individuals including two of the most influential members of the SLAA family, Cuthbert Modeste (Head Coach – Survivors Track and Field Club) and Alfred Emmanuel a former President of the SLAA; in fact he has served in every capacity on the SLAA executive, and is the current Saint Lucia Olympic Committee, General Secretary.

Emmanuel told the VOICE, “Good sense must prevail if we want to regain the trust of people, corporate Saint Lucia and long standing associates of the SLAA”.

Image of Commonwealth Games 2018 gold medalist, Levern Spencer (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)
Commonwealth Games 2018 gold medalist, Levern Spencer, the two female athletes have erased the don’t care attitude of Magloire and company by bringing joy to the hearts of many Saint Lucians (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

He said, “There was a call for change and change – there was that change, but it now appears that the advocates for change bought nothing of substance to the table”.

Recently Modeste was seen in the City in Ole Mas fashion carrying a placard which read, “Keep track and field clean, get rid of the President”

Magloire has had an uphill battle to move the sport from point B to point A for the last two years.

According to Modeste, Magloire’s presidency has resulted in the SLAA facing some very crucial issues at present.

With a number of executive members resigning not too long after being elected into office and secondly the manner in which the association operates has been questioned by a number of its affiliates. Questions have been asked and no answers forth coming.

The current composition of what’s left of the executive looks like this – Andrew Magloire – President, Titus Elien – 2nd Vice President, Rochelle Jn Baptiste – Secretary and Rena Samuel – Floor Representative.

Roderick Cherry (Vote of no confidence was moved against him). Calling quit – Terry Finisterre -Treasurer (Resigned), Brendaline Descartes -Assistant Secretary (Resigned), Gimry Lewis – Floor Representative (Resigned) and Dane Magloire – Public Relations Officer (Medical Leave).

The amount of questions asked are indeed quite broad and the situation definitely speaks to an association that badly needs to be reshaped if it has to attract any major sponsor. Talking about sponsorship, one needs to ask why the 1st National Bank did not sponsor the National Under -14 Games for 2018 as they steadfastly remain committed to youth development.

Looking from the outside, the SLAA must make its organizational skills a priority and professional to attract sponsors and to give the sponsors their monies worth so they can keep coming back.

One has to ask whether the current President failed in his obligations, for example, to inspire quality development; to become more embracing of all of the track and field clubs/affiliates, to endear himself, without any personal agenda motive, to the elite athletes who are world standard bearers for Saint Lucia; avoid favouring certain coaches for national duty, and to champion the cause to expand the track and field family as track and field continues to lose athletes to other sports.

Image: (l-r) Cuthbert Modeste (Head Coach Survivors track and field club) and John Gaston Head Coach Road Busters Club certainly want to see the current SLAA President booted out of office (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)
(l-r) Cuthbert Modeste (Head Coach Survivors track and field club) and John Gaston Head Coach Road Busters Club certainly want to see the current SLAA President booted out of office (Photo: Anthony De Beauville)

But does he have what it takes to convince affiliates to return him to office for two more years to address those crucial areas just mentioned above. Absolutely No.

With 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games less than two years away are we heading in the right direction?  These are some of the issues stirring at track and field.

For decades track and field has been a huge part of the Saint Lucia Sports Brand, the only sporting discipline under the SLOC to have attended every Summer Olympic Games from 1996 (Atlanta) to 2016 (Rio).  In my view, the SLAA has not capitalized, to the fullness of the prime potential associated with it. Certainly, the ICC has done it with our very own Daren Sammy,

Sammy is now an Ambassador for the ICC Women’s World Cup scheduled to bowl off on Friday 9th November in Guyana.

Julien Alfred recently returned home from Buenos Aries, Argentina with Saint Lucia first ever medal (silver) at the Youth Olympic Games, the representative of the SLAA (floor representative) Rena Samuel was barely visible in the VIP Lounge at Hewanorra International Airport; not a word of congratulation was uttered from the sport governing body on the afternoon. What a shame.

So with all that said, I am aware of a formidable team looking to take over the ruins of the association, but the individuals remain tight lipped.

I have lamented the inability of the SLAA to maximize the depth of talent this country has been blessed with in track and field. Whether Magloire wins or the formidable team wins, I make mention whoever takes over the leadership of the SLAA, (without a doubt), for the national track and field programme to fully realize its true potential there has to be an all-inclusive developmental process across the board.

The SLAA has an obligation to work within its overall development plan and must have a strong focus on “talent search” islandwide.

I also believe it is the primary responsibility of the SLAA, the parent body for track and field in Saint Lucia to find the raw talent and refine it.

Finally, whoever emerges president of the SLAA today will be faced with such a task.

Up to press time there has been no word as to the various campaign platforms how they will bring about a better SLAA. Does the formidable team have the capacity to do what Magloire was unable to achieve?

That’s the big question facing those who will vote today; the question of friendship must be thrown out of the window and put people in office that will champion the cause and be a soldier for track and field.

Anthony De Beauville is The VOICE Publishing Company’s multi-award winning sports journalist. He works closely with a number of sports federations including the Department of Youth Development and Sports, the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee and other organizations.

He covers and contributes articles highlighting the areas of international, regional, national, community based clubs and schools sporting activities. There is never an off day as he stays busy... Read full bio...

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