Sports tourism through soccer – the beautiful game! By Melanius Alphonse

Marketing is everybody’s business,” and Gems of Saint Lucia has been pioneering this marketing concept and at the same time helping to address social problems; engaging in public outreach and capacity building to foster economic and societal changes.

Wilson Jn Baptiste, Gem’s CEO, said, “While we look forward with great optimism and enthusiasm to our nation’s future, there is no doubt that we are living in turbulent times. However, the core business strategy that is imbedded in the mission of Gem’s of Saint Lucia is designed to provide an environment to invest and to enjoy a high quality of life, both at home and overseas.

Gem’s marketing concept is imbedded with an innovative social strategy that is designed to build strong bonds and mutual partnerships that set free creative energies through the beautiful game of soccer,” he said.

Over a four day period, July 23 to July 26 2012, Gem’s strategic partnership with JetBlue; the accomplish musician, humanitarian and poet Taj Weekes; Rex Resorts; Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa; Southern Taxi Association; Vieux Fort Youth and Sports Council, Emmanuel Belasse; coach Alvin Charlery, based in the USA; and the Saint Lucian Association of Ottawa, collaborated to carry out a soccer clinic for children between the ages of 5 to 12, at the Phillip Marcellin grounds in Vieux–Fort, Saint Lucia.

The soccer clinic utilized the implied concept of “sports tourism” and the summer vacation period to engage the youth, thus enabling a continuous mechanism to learn and have fun in an environment that caters to their physical, social and psychological needs under the theme “Sports Tourism For Our Kids.”

The playing field of life is an uneven one, therefore, the objective of the soccer clinic served to advance and improve the quality of life during the summer vacation. High quality activities such as this soccer clinic, through the concept of sports tourism have the capacity to absorb the energy, physical and mental faculties of participants and make possible the opportunity for viable ideas that advance national economic interest.

Key components of the soccer clinic, such as the technical and leadership aspects, were executed under the guidance and experience of coach Alvin Charlery. He holds a US Soccer Federation “A” coaching licence, US Soccer Federation National Youth Licence, a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Education, in addition to his ability as a singer, songwriter and author of a poetry collection title, Evolution.

{FILE IMAGE} The social impact of the soccer clinic underlined the discipline of sports, the fundamentals of listening skills and leadership qualities that participants will keep for a lifetime; in addition to lectures and practical advice on coping with change and conflict management.

The closing ceremony was held at the National Development Corporation building in La Resource on July 26, 2012. In attendance were 50 participants and their parents; parent group representative Christina Charlery; organizers Emmanuel Belasse, Hariette Joseph, coach Alvin Charlery; president of the Vieux Fort Youth and Sports Council, Mervin Bellase; Southern Taxi Association members and Director of Youth and Sports Victor Reid.

Participants were presented with certificates of attendance, while skill contest winners were awarded with certificates and soccer balls. The keynote address was delivered by Victor Reid. Other speakers included Mervin Bellase, Christina Charlery and Coach Alvin Charlery.

Coach Alvin Charlery was presented with a plaque by Victor Reid for his professionalism, commitment and dedication to the development of the participants. Musical entertainment was provided by the 4th World reggae band and the unique sound of solo steel pan music.

Gem’s of Saint Lucia is delighted with the success of this soccer clinic and its marketing concept and wishes to encourage all volunteers and sponsors to continue with this enormous show of support, social outreach and economic potential.

By joining hands in this common cause for a common purpose, this exemplifies one example of a collaborative effort that creates enormous opportunities both at home and overseas.

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Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant. He is an advocate for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality; the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) critic on youth initiative, infrastructure, economic and business development. He can be reached at

Indeed, it is evident that change exists when entrepreneurial thinking meets innovation and creativity; and help change existing paradigm about business and economic development.

Meanwhile, since “Marketing is everybody’s business”, it is certainly more progressive when packaged with creative intellectual capital, to enhance a better marketing mix to afford returns that provides more revenue, and create better economic sustainability and lower unemployment.

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