Chairman of the OECS Boxing Championship, Joseph “Reds” Pereira, has pleaded with boxing authorities in Dominica to reconsider a decision not to send a team to the upcoming OECS Boxing Championship scheduled for St Lucia in November.
Dominica, the defending champions, have pulled out of the event due to Independence celebrations starting next week.
Pereira said Dominica’s absence came as surprise and he contended it would not help the development of the sport in the sub-region.
“The pulling out of the Dominica team at this time, although they had sent the names of the boxers for all the divisions is surprising,” Pereira said.
“It really came at the last minute and their absence is really going to hurt the tournament and hurt boxing in the OECS.
“A lot of work has gone into the preparations. We were hoping to have three nights of boxing and it appears that we will struggle to have two nights.”
The small Caribbean country is set to celebrate its 32nd anniversary of Independence on Wednesday, and several events are scheduled to begin this weekend and continue into next week.
These celebrations will clash with the championship, scheduled for November 4-7 at the Vigie Multi Purpose Sports Complex. Pereira has taken his plea to government authorities and the Dominica Olympic Committee, all in an effort to have the national boxing association reconsider their decision.
“I am appealing to the minister responsible for sports, the minister for OECS Affairs, the Olympic Committee and I am going as far the Prime Minister to do anything within their powers to see what they can do to have the Dominican team, which is the defending champions, to take part in this tournament,” said Pereira.
“It is really going to affect this tournament badly and hurt boxing, not only in the OECS but in the entire Caribbean because there is no Caribbean amateur championship anymore.
“We were really shocked when we got an email saying that because of the festive season they would not be participating. I really do not understand that. We know that boxers were selected and we really expected them to come.
It is going to cost us, since preparations have been made in terms of accommodations and meal preparations.”
The national association said they would clarify their decision in coming days.