IT’S back to the polls on Saturday 28th November 2020 for affiliates of the Saint Lucia Athletic Association (SLAA). That’s the word coming from the organization’s chief, Cornelius Breen. The election is scheduled to take place at the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Headquarters in La Clery.
A banker by profession, Breen replaced Andrew Magloire when he was nominated unopposed for the top job for the period 2018 – 2020.
The remainder of the current executive includes: Shirley Ann Lubin – 1st Vice President; Titus Dufrose Elien – 2nd Vice President; Lisa Joseph – Secretary; Dora Henry – Assistant Secretary; Alfred Emmanuel – Treasurer; Andy Behl – Public Relations Officer; Wayne Burton and Johnathan Emmanuel – Floor Representatives.
The year 2020 has been a challenging one not only for the SLAA and other national sports federations, but sports federations worldwide as they all have felt the wrath of the COVID- 19 pandemic in one way or the other.
The cancelation and postponement of a number of national and regional events to include the, national individual track and field championship at the George Odlum Stadium; the Carifta Games (Bermuda) and the Olympic Games (Tokyo, Japan), just to name a few.
This reporter spoke to Breen earlier this week about the up coming elections and how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the SLAA. This is what he had to say.
“As of now the election is still on for Saturday 28th November, I am available to serve, but it’s all left to the affiliates to decide who they want to take charge of their affairs for 2020 -2022”.
In terms of outside interests, Breen said, “We have heard talk of outside interests, but not sure if they will materialize”.
“Coming back on stream after the first wave of the Covid -19 pandemic and with the lack of a home, meaning a facility, as the St. Jude Hospital still occupies the George Odlum Stadium (GOS) it is making it difficult and we will have to spend extra to implement the various Covid -19 protocols put in place by Health Officials. He noted.
He continued. “If the SLAA had full access to the GOS in that way we could have better control who is coming in and going out”
According to Breen, “Covid-19 has affected our sport severely; we had plans to resume track and field activities this month (November) but with the increase numbers in Covid -19 cases (now 203) this was shelved”.
“We have a level one coaching course we are trying to get going, but every time we have to push it back, it was slated to start on Saturday but with the new protocols put in place, we had no choice but to push it back for another two weeks”.
Meanwhile, a well known female individual had shown an interest for the top job, but have decided to opt out of the race at this time.
Nancy Charles whose daughter is a member of one of the leading track and field clubs on the island told the VOICE, “I intended to run for the top job; I believe I have a contribution to make. I also have a daughter who is doing very well in the sport”.
She said, “I am not fully satisfied with a number of things the SLAA is doing right now, one thing being the lack of advertisement when it comes to a track and field meet. You see that level of intensity and rivalry at the inter secondary schools track and field meets, but when it comes to the SLAA event, it is lacking, it’s an area that needs to be improved upon to bring out the crowds”.
She continued, “To date I have feedback and support from a number of individuals, but due to some unforeseen circumstances I will have to rethink my earlier decision of making myself available for office, so come 2022 when the next election is due, I will be ready and available to serve”.
“The SLAA also need to have a working relationship with individuals who have an interest in the sport so they can collaborate their resources”. She noted.