Following a meeting last week Thursday (January 27) between officials from the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) Inc. and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, all parties have agreed to forge a closer relationship.
The one-hour meeting was held at the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports’ offices on Micoud Street, Castries, following an initial request for a sit-down from SLOC Inc.’s President, Alfred Emmanuel.
Emmanuel expressed delight at the Ministry’s acceptance of the SLOC Inc.’s request for the meeting. He noted that last week Thursday’s meeting was the first-ever such meeting between the two entities, adding that both the Ministry and SLOC Inc. share a core objective: the development of youth and sports.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Caroline Eugene, said her Ministry is interested in working closely with the SLOC Inc. and cultivating a cordial relationship between the two entities.
Main matters discussed at Thursday’s meeting included the Emerging and Elite Athlete Assistance Programme which, Eugene said, is being redesigned. The Programme, inter alia, assists Saint Lucian athletes based on their economic status, performance and recommendation from their coaches and associations/federations. Such assistance can either be monetary, technical and/or consultative. Funding for this programme comes from the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) of Saint Lucia and the Consolidated Fund.
As an entity that influences and shapes national policies that affects sports, Emmanuel said the Ministry needs to be more stringent in its oversight so as to prevent abuse. He noted that, over the years, many organizations expect assistance from the Ministry without expecting the Ministry to do its due diligence per those requests. Emmanuel proposed that the Ministry and SLOC Inc. collaborate to keep a line of communication open for cross-referencing such requests.
For her part, Eugene stated that the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports depends heavily on funding from the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) of Saint Lucia, which has since informed the Ministry about its limited resources. She added that any endeavour that redounds to improving the operations in her Ministry will be considered.
Other matters discussed at the meeting included:
• The inclusion of at least one more key member on the review committee that selects athletes for the Emerging and Elite Athlete Assistance Programme.
• The development of a better criteria that would reflect a more equitable and transparent method for the awardees of the National Sports Awards.
Both the SLOC Inc. and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports agreed to have follow-up meetings periodically.