SLOC Inc. meets with Ministry of Youth Development and Sports

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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 agreed to forge a closer relationship.

The hour-long meeting was held at the premises of the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, rue Micoud, Castries, following an initial request for a meeting from SLOC Inc. President, Alfred Emmanuel.

Representatives from SLOC Inc. and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports at the January 27 meeting.

Emmanuel said he was pleased that the ministry accepted SLOC Inc.’s request for a meeting. He noted that last Thursday’s meeting was the first-ever such meeting between the two entities, adding that the ministry and SLOC Inc. share a central objective: the development of youth and sports.

Department of Youth Development and Sports Permanent Secretary Caroline Eugene said her department wants to work closely with SLOC Inc. and cultivate a cordial relationship between the two entities.

Key topics discussed at Thursday’s meeting included the Emerging and Elite Athlete Assistance Program, which Eugene said is being overhauled. The program, among other things, assists Saint Lucian athletes based on their economic status, performance, and recommendations from their coaches and associations/federations. This assistance can be monetary, technical and/or advisory. Funding for this program comes from the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) of Saint Lucia and the Consolidated Fund.

As an entity that influences and shapes national policies that affect sport, Emmanuel said the ministry needs to be stricter in its oversight to prevent abuse. He noted that over the years, many organizations have been waiting for help from the ministry without expecting the ministry to do due diligence in accordance with those requests. Emmanuel suggested that the Department and SLOC Inc. work together to maintain an open line of communication for the referral of these requests.

For his part, Eugene said the Ministry of Youth Development and Sport is heavily dependent on funding from the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) of Saint Lucia, which has since informed the ministry of its limited resources. She added that any effort to improve the operations of her ministry will be taken into consideration.

Other issues discussed at the meeting include:

· The inclusion of at least one other key member on the review committee that selects athletes for the Emerging and Elite Athlete Assistance Program.

· The development of better criteria that would reflect a fairer and more transparent method for winners of the National Sports Awards.

SLOC Inc. and the Department of Youth Development and Sports have agreed to hold periodic review meetings.

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