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Group petitions SLAA to investigate ‘major infractions’

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PRESS RELEASE – As we are about to witness the Inter-secondary Schools Track and Field Championships, the biggest track and field event on island, now is an appropriate time to examine the state of track and field as it relates to the development of the discipline and the development of athletes in St. Lucia.

According to a group of concerned individuals which includes former national athletes, Olympians, current coaches, parents of athletes and several other sports stakeholder there is something rotten in the management of the sport of athletics in St. Lucia.

For decades, athletics’ enthusiasts and corporate sponsors alike have vented, but for this year 2015, the issue has reached such unethical levels that it has caused a major stir, amidst the hype of the upcoming annual Inter-secondary School Championships and Carifta games.

This situation is so grave that one of the most populated and most vibrant athletic clubs in St. Lucia has even refused to participate in the sport of athletics in 2015 due to alleged acts discrimination by the Executive of the St. Lucia Athletics Association (SLAA).

This reaction also stemmed from the dishonourable manner in which the biennial election process for the Executive of the St. Lucia Athletics Association (SLAA) was conducted on 25th October 2014.

The election process was highly criticized as it violated several articles of the Constitution of the SLAA, as described by petitioners in a signed petition dated 20th December 2014 to the Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Shawn Edwards and Fortuna Belrose, and the elected President of the SLAA Wayne Burton.

The purpose of the petition was to solicit the attention of the persons who are responsible for the management of St. Lucia’s sporting disciplines to investigate major infractions in the management of the sport of athletics over the years.

Not having received any feedback from the mentioned authorities, the petitioners wish to publicly express the following:

1) It has been over three (3) months since the petition was delivered to the authorities and to this date, no formal communication or response, neither a course of action have been received or expressed.

2) The trivialization of the matter is considered to be detrimental to the future of athletics, and will inevitably affect the development of the sport.

Some of the instances of blatant constitutional breach highlighted within the letter are as follows:

the acceptance of unaudited financial statements for end of bi-annual reporting review when the Constitution stipulated otherwise;

discrepancies and lack of record keeping with regard to membership dues;

the subjective manipulation of articles and clauses of the constitution;

the inability of the Executive (some members have served for over two decades)

to furnish clubs and affiliates with a complete, verifiable list of all members to

form the mandatory appendix (as per the Constitution) of the annual report;

restricting access to the election process to the general public and even to current athletes;

Discrimination against and preferential treatment to selected clubs;

the emergence and acceptance of inactive clubs for voting purposes.

The petitioners demand answers and are planning to take this matter to the highest level if they continue to be ignored. The lack of response is viewed as deliberate and disrespectful to the petitioners.

Perhaps a response from the relevant authorities to the above cited petition letter could have avoided the dire situation with of the voluntary refusal of one athletic club to participate in national track meets.

The petitioners are demanding a formal response to demonstrate that there is a level of seriousness to the development of athletics in St. Lucia as we (as a nation) look forward to host major events such as the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017.

Athletics in St. Lucia is governed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Each national federation, although independently managed by their local authorities are expected to abide by the IAAF rules and regulations.

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28 comments

  1. This Executive does not care about the athletes. They never have and never will. Track and field is dead in St. Lucia. The Association keeps doing the same things and expecting different results. Those of you who have talent, get out as soon as you can! If you go out and do well, they'll still harass you, so just check for yourself.

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  2. The saddest thing about the SLAA is that on the executive is a coach who travels the world. This Executive/coach has been to 26 Carifta Games over the past 30 years as the coach of the team. He attended the Games as coach when my sister was a member of the team back in the 90s.

    If my facts are correct, this coach has been to 2 Olympic games, 2 world championships, multiple Juniors and Seniors CAC Games, Under 23 CACSO Games to name a few. Basically has has been to every track and field meet there is on the global stage.

    The gears that are needed to be worn by our national athletes are worn by executive members of the SLAA as casual and dressing clothes but our hard working athletes can't wear not one or when seen with it away from competition are chastised.

    Sadly, our athletes when representing St.Lucia abroad are not privilege of wearing the best gears or equipment where they can feel confident and therefore bring out the best performances from them. But these phreaks are busy enjoying the hard work of these athletes and some of our coaches. When will this will stop in Track and Field St.Lucia. Sad!!!

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  3. What I will never understand about the SLAA is this. A member of the executive who also serves at a coach has attended 26 Carifta Games as a coach and have virtually travelled with teams to every single track event in the world for the past 35 years till today. To name a few, 2 Olympics, 2 World Championships, Multiple CAC Juniors and Seniors etc but yet the persons who matters most which are the athletes when representing our country are deprived of getting the proper gears necessary to bring out the best in their performances and uplift their confidence. Some of these coaches especially members of the SLAA if my memory and facts serves me right have access in wearing all the gears set for the athletes. There's absolutely no transparency in Track and Field here in St.Lucia and the selfish behavior of the members of the SLAA is absurd. Sad

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  4. There's a particular member of the executive if my memory serves me right and my facts are correct who have been to the Carifta Games 26 times as a coach, been to two Olympics, two commonwealth games or more including the last one, CAC Juniors and Seniors. Virtually every single dam games there is in track and field in the world. This exec member basically is in charge of every single thing in track over here but yet our kids when travelling abroad to represent the very country we so call love can't get a track shoe or warm up show made to their disposal just to compete. But this coach can enjoy the luxury of these hard working athletes and other coaches. There is no transparency and the sport keeps loosing some of our the best athletes after secondary school. This is sad.

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  5. And we are supposed to host Commonwealth Youth Games in two years. What a joke!

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  6. The fact that these people are still around destroying the sport, the coaches and the athletes who do the work says a lot about the affiliates who keep voting them back in. The sport is dying and has been dead for years yet they keep voting for the destroyers of the sport. Do these people even care? The affiliates are responsible for the mess that the sport has become. Nobody but the affiliates. Shame on them.

    To think that the biggest and one of the most successful track clubs on island has boycotted all national meets, yet there is no public outcry, nothing in the media, things just go on as usual. What a shame!! Why isn't this on the news? Why aren't the sport administrators asking questions and looking for a resolution? SMH. What a mess!!Only in St. Lucia!

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  7. please make this petition available to all, there are parents and atheletes who are not aware of its existence and would like to support.

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  8. Finally these people are being exposed! Parents, athletes, supporters need to speak out about the damage that these people have done and continue to do to athletes and athletics in St. Lucia. They have been allowed to continue in this manner because people don't care. Well, it looks like some people finally care. Too bad it's not the people who are supposed to look out for the youth. Keep the pressure on! Do it for the athletes. Finally!!!

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  9. Pacesetters coach

    I wish to support this petition fully as a coach who have the interest of the sport at heart. this association hinders progress and hold our young athletes in this country hostage with their lack of vision and blatant disregard and disrespect to the athletes who make this country proud with their efforts

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    • Pacesetters Coach: Other than withdrawing from all national meets, what other measures have you taken to bring attention to and to resolve this situation? In my opinion, this petition should have been started and circulated by you and your club. Your withdrawal is a strong statement but obviously it's not enough because the issues you have with the association still haven't been resolved and the kids are missing some wonderful opportunities to compete and develop. I'm not even sure people outside of track and field really know that you have withdrawn.

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  10. I am calling on the association to go rectify the issue or misunderstanding between them and pacesetters...its the athletes that need to be first. not clubs or association. so hindering the club that's actually making a good effort to keep the youth interested in track is hindering st.lucia...

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  11. This issue has been around for decades now, and finally parents are joining in on the issue, very good sign. The St Lucia AAA's (Regime) has had the same individuals elected and re elected, just swapping positions, but same outcome.

    Track and Field is always and forever will be near and dear to me. I have had confrontations with people who seem to be the main stake holders in the Three A's. Both of whom I believe are very unprofessional and very unapproachable, again speaking from personal experience.

    I blame the dismay of track and field solely on those two individuals. Track and Field used to be a family past time event in St Lucia, especially in the 1990's when M&C Games and SLDB Junior Games were around, Mindoo Phillip park use to be so packed and crowded because people from all over the island came to watch, now you can count the number of spectators and athletes participating in the sport.

    The St Lucia AAA's have always been allegedly very biased towards different clubs and individuals. Their main purpose at this time is to see which member of the St Lucia AAA's committee will be on the next flight to Carifta Games, CAC Games, Common Wealth Games, World Champioships, Francophone Games, Olympic Games etc.

    They are not there to serve the interest of the athletes in no way, and again I am speaking from my own personal experience with the St Lucia AAA's. Therefore I am strongly urging the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Olympic Committee and the relevant sporting authorities to join the athletes and their parents in the quest for transparency and for fairness in the sport of Track and Field in St Lucia, and help salvage what little is left of the sport (Track and Field)

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  12. Retired Trackstar

    The heart of this problem lies with our political culture. Persons get attached to holding positions in those sporting association. Track and field is DEAD and needs new ideas, fresh foresight from young minds who have served St. Lucia as ambassadors around the world. Idi Amin culture needs to stop.

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  13. My child is one of the top performers at her school sports and looking forward to excellent performance at the intersecondary sports meet. however she will not be allowed to participate in any other sports meet in saint lucia until all of these issues are resolved.

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    • Terry Finisterre

      Seems to me holding your child back because you are unhappy with the SLAA Executive plays right into their hands. You seem to be at least a foirthright person, they would never want you around. So you are tacitly supporting them.

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  14. Concerned Parent

    My daughter ran the fastest time in the 400m in St.Lucia for this year among all women who have competed to date....and she wont participate in any meets organized by the association unless they resolve the problems with pacesetters athletics club.

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    • Terry Finisterre

      Like I said above, holding your child back because you are unhappy with the SLAA Executive plays right into their hands. You are tacitly supporting them.

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  15. Concerned Parent

    This rotten association needs to go and go now.Too much discrimination,no respect for the sport, athletes, coaches and parents. All they concerned about is hotel, food and rum when they travel oversees with the kids. They don't take care of our children.I've heard that meets at the stadium without pacesetters taking part is dry like the dessert.Something needs to be done Shawn Edwards intervene and set things right.

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  16. On several occasions I have spoken to one of the executive members about the unprofessional manner in which things are being done in the Association., but to no avail. I am glad that this group has taken steps to address the issue and I hope that the executive will take steps to remedy this unsavoury situation.

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  17. I am in total support of the petition/article. I was unaware that a petition was prepared; would have loved to have signed it. i have spoken about the glaring discrimination towards certain atheletes. Bravo

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  18. do you really expect a response from management ?????

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  19. problem is some persons in authority don't see sports as something important. yet whatever funding that is made available they are first inline.

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  20. Pace setters have taken to the media i see.

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  21. What's new, the people in charge of these associations are not in it for the right reasons. They talk about the youth and sports, but they don't care about the youth or sports. From the Ministry on down.

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  22. Twas about time someone revealed that ugly truth. Track and field.. football. ..boxing. ...pappyshow alone in management.

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  23. Now its all about petition welcome to the new world lets have a petition to remove Kenney the dog

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  24. The administration of most our national sporting associations are a big joke! Not surprised they did not respond to the letter. Typical!!

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  25. Great article

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