Former president of the Saint Lucia National Olympic Committee Richard Peterkin says that his bid for the Presidency of the Pan American Sports Organisation, is based on the need to further the development of sports in the Americas, the Caribbean included.

Peterkin who has been in the Olympic movement for about 25 years, having been elected to the presidency of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee in 1992.
He is currently a member of the International Olympic Committee, but there are other International Olympic Committee members in the Caribbean who were elected as members before him – Austin Sealy of Barbados and Nicole Hoevertz of Aruba.

In speaking with, Peterkin stated “If elected, I will represent all 41 NOCs of the Americas, including those from the Caribbean. While all NOCs will be given equal consideration and attention, my election will represent the first time a person from the Caribbean would be the President of PASO.

“This position will give the Caribbean greater visibility, and with my enhanced influence and visibility within the Olympic Movement, I will be in a better position to address the needs of the Caribbean, especially the smaller states that have not performed as well as countries like Jamaica.”

He said that he has remained patient and below the radar, “out of respect for the past President of PASO Mario Vazquez Rana, and the current President Julio Maglione.

He is confident that “The edge I have is my long association with PASO – 12 years on the Executive Committee, 10 years as Treasurer. I know the organization inside out, and have been involved with Games Bids, Games Management, and Financial Management.

“I have been an NOC president for 20 years, and have left a legacy of good management and good governance of the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee that has allowed us, among other achievements, to recently purchase our own building for EC$1.7 million, without any borrowing.”

Peterkin is a Professional Chartered Accountant and a partner in international accounting firms for 37 years. He has lived and worked in countries throughout the Caribbean, Canada and England, assisting businesses throughout the Caribbean in auditing and advisory services, with a full understanding of, and applying the concepts of leadership, good governance, strategic management, communications and networking.

An International Olympic Committee member for seven years, Peterkin has also have served on many commissions – including Finance, Marketing, Olympic Solidarity, and Women in Sport.

He pointed out to “I am very familiar with the essential missions of the Olympic Movement, and have assisted the IOC in the design and implementation of Basic Universal Principles of Good Government in Sports Organizations.”

When questioned on the allegations of monies given to the executives of national olympic committees to assist athletes through their coaches and or managers in preparation for competition in Olympic and Commonwealth Games respectively, Peterkin said “That allegation could only be correct in countries that are not using their preparation and training grants effectively.

The IOC and PASO has given and continues to give a considerable amount of money and technical support to NOCs, and monitor the use of the funds, but we depend on the NOCs to advise as to their needs, and to use the programmes effectively. Some NOCs have not lived up to their expectations in this regard.

“If elected, I intend to undertake more intensive scrutiny of those countries and NOCs that are not performing or complying with the requirements of the support given. This will include more structured visits, and more support wherever necessary.”

Peterkin is serious about the role of the media in the development of sports, “for they the media must be an important part of the change that has to take place now, especially with the allegations of corruption facing many International Federations.”

To protect the integrity of sporting organisations, Peterkin called for all personnel to work with the media “to determine what is expected of PASO, and work with the media to communicate the new strategy, and determine if it is working. PASO has been guilty of poor communication with its stakeholders other than the NOCs.”

There are other stakeholders whose roles – individually and collectively as investors are in many instances taken for granted.

Peterkin is of the opinion “Sponsors play a critical role in the development of all sports, as they providing the funding for both organizations and athletes. We need to ensure that rules and regulations governing sponsorship are properly adhered to, so that competition between sponsors do not cause divisions in the organization and development of sport and athletes.

“However, until and unless we can assure sponsors that the administrators have implemented the necessary changes in the governance of the sports, we will lose their involvement. They need to be involved in the change, by working with them to see how best we can meet their expectations, so that we work as partners for the good of the sport and the athletes, and improve the marketability of the product.

“Branding is the main reason for involvement in sport – by sponsors and by countries that want to host Games. We will lose the interest of both, if we do not adapt to the changes now being demanded by the public and by the athletes.”

Will Richard Peterkin as president of PASO bring about changes which would send a strong message to the Governments of the Caribbean, that sports in the opinion of is the “fourth pillar of our socio-economic development?”

According to Peterkin, “Governments need to be assured that PASO is working in the best interest of the countries in the region, and is an open and transparent organization that can generate and effectively utilise the resources available from the IOC and from the staging of Games in the region.

“Governments will need to be consulted in the process of changing the organization to meet the needs of the region, so that they are comfortable and confident with the structure and leadership of PASO to do the job. Greater effort will have to be made to encourage those cities that can do so, to bid to host more Games and meetings, so that the benefits from well organized sports can be spread as widely as possible.

“Sports plays a significant role in nation building and economic growth, and PASO’s increasing role will be to ensure that the Americas works effectively as a continent to develop sport and spread Olympic ideal throughout the region.”

PHOTO -: Richard Peterkin of Saint Lucia – International Olympic Committee member