The opposition candidate for Castries East, Fortuna Belrose, has responded to calls by the ruling party for her to resign as President of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee.
Belrose told the Times that the committee is not directed by the government of Saint Lucia, but by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“The IOC has no restrictions on persons being involved in elective politics and in addition to that, the IOC actually welcomes strong leaders within the movement to ensure that the necessary laws and legislation support sports overall,” she asserted.
Belrose told the Times that there is no difficulty with her being the President of the Olympic Committee and running for elective office.
“It is something that is welcomed,” the candidate of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), explained.
However she observed that the situation in which the ruling party’s Castries South Candidate, Ernest Hilaire, found himself in was quite different.
Belrose noted that Hilaire was appointed by the Prime Minister and has a responsibility to answer to the people of this country and conform to the rules and regulations governing his engagement.
The UWP Castries East candidate spoke in reference to a call by Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony for her to step down as President of the Olympic Committee here.
The call was made in a letter from Anthony to the membership of the St Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) and the Chamber of Commerce.
Anthony’s letter was in response to one written on March 21, 2016 by UWP leader, Allen Chastanet to the SLHTA.
In that letter, Chastanet had called for the resignation of Ernest Hilaire as Chairman of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
In his response, Anthony quoted Chastanet’s letter as claiming that since Dr. Hilaire will be a candidate for the Saint Lucia Labour Party for the upcoming elections, then there is no doubt that the Labour Party is in control of the CIP which would not be free of political interference.
The Prime Minister said in his letter:
“In any event, if Mr. Chastanet is correct then why has he not asked Mrs. Fortuna Belrose, the UWP candidate for Castries East, to resign as the President of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee and the Regional Vice President (Caribbean) of the Commonwealth Games Federation? Surely, his own logic would mean that the UWP is in control of the Olympic movement in Saint Lucia and that the decisions of the St Lucia Olympic Committee favour only UWP supporters? If there was ever a body which should be free of political interference and be independent, it is our national Olympic body.”