Amidst clear skies, traditional folk music and a cosy setting, well wishers joined the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee Incorporated on an historical date, Sunday September 10 2017, for the official Commissioning of their new headquarters situated at La Clery and the Vide Bouteille Highway junction.
The accomplishment was realised after decades of planning for the acquisition of a home for the Olympic family in Saint Lucia . Among the invited guests present were Minister responsible for Youth Development and Sports, Honourable Edmund Estephane and other Cabinet Colleagues, Hermangild Francis, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun and Mary Isaac. Representatives from Member Federations of the SLOC Inc. were part of the celebration.
Also present were distinguished sporting administrators from the region including President of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation Steve Stoute, President of the Caribbean Association of Olympic Committees Brian Lewis, and President of the Caribbean Cycling Association Trevor Bailey. Executive Board members of the SLOC Inc , those who have served on the Committee in the past, as well as members of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games team and former Olympians were part of the audience .
" This building belongs to all our members. For many years those of us in management and operation of sport have been clamouring for a place to call home; a place where we as sports people can come and be renewed ; a place where we can engage each other constructively ; a place where we could share experiences and be uplifted, particularly when the going gets tough ; a place with access to many hands which could make light work, " President of the SLOC Inc. Senator the Honourable Fortuna Belrose said in her feature address.
Belrose stressed that the cost of the purchase of the building and refurbishment to date amounted to 2.3 million Eastern Caribbean States dollars . She disclosed that it was still a work in progress as there were still other improvements to be added to the facility.
" Funding for this project came from the International Olympic Committee, the Pan American Sports Organisation and of course - our own savings over the years. In fact, the President of the IOC, Dr Thomas Bach, in congratulating us on the attainment of this agenda 20/20 item has asked me to convey his regrets at not being here due to commitments in Latin America. He plans to visit us in the not too distant future, " Belrose announced.
Minister responsible for Youth Development and Sports, Edmund Estephane congratulated the SLOC for realising the goal they had set over many years, and encouraged them to continue working towards their mandate. Solidarity messages were presented by Veda Bruno Victor on behalf of the Olympic Committees of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Brian Lewis - President of the Caribbean Association of Olympic Committees and President of the Central America and Caribbean Sports Organisation, Steve Stoute. All messages had a central theme of accomplishment and congratulated the SLOC Inc. on a feat that should not be taken lightly.
A special feature during Sunday's ceremony was the recognition of the contribution made by long standing Secretary General Alfred Emmanuel and Administrative Assistant Greta Stedman. Early pioneers of the SLOC were also recognised. After the cutting of the ribbon and blessing of the building by the La Clery Parish priest Father Raj, an extensive tour of the building was undertaken . Folk group Mamai Kweyol and soloist Steffi Ann St Clair added the entertainment spice to the evening's proceedings.
Ryan O' Brian
Public Relations officer,
Saint Lucia Olympic Committee incorporated.