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President: Bequia Rotary Club is not in decline

President: Bequia Rotary Club is not in decline


The Rotary Club of Bequia says it is not in decline.

“The problem with us is that we don’t blow our own trumpets,” club president Clayton Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT in Bequia on Saturday.{{more}}

Their comments came as Louise Mitchell-Joseph, a lawyer for trustees of a building leased to the club for 99 years told SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday that the club needs reinvigoration.

“… We do the work with humility. In fact, rather than receiving, we give. Because Rotarians’ have to take money out their pockets and we are out there doing manual work,” Ollivierre said.

He said that the club does not beg, but raises money through barbecues and similar activities.

“And a lot of people are expressing sentiments that we are pocketing money, which is not true,” Olliverre said.

“And those who figured Rotary Club was making a whole heap of money, they fight us down and right now, the Bequia carnival is in shambles,” he further stated.

“The thing about credibility and money hiding are nonsense. People know what we are doing there and that’s why I am very hurt, that’s why I am very emotional when people are talking about a dollar,” Ollivierre told SEARCHLIGHT.

The dollar comment was in reference to the $14 the club failed to pay over the last 14 years as part of a lease agreement.

The non-payment now puts the club’s hold on the Lower Bay School property in jeopardy.

Sylvester Simmons, one of the club’s founding members, said that service clubs worldwide are having difficulties attracting and retaining members.

But decline “ain’t mean that you are not doing what you are supposed to do,” Olliverre said.

“Because you could have a multitude of members and you are not doing anything. But we are effective,” he further stated.

“We are 12 members and very effective,” Lucile Cozier, the club’s treasurer, told SEARCHLIGHT in the same interview.

Ollivierre said that Rotary district officers say that the given size of club relative to the community it serves, the Bequia group is “doing well”.

“The Bequia community knows our track record. They know what we have done here. Everybody knows that we are doing here,” he said, adding that the club has plans and objectives and fulfils them every year.

“Naturally, when you just start, you will be active and then you fade away and so forth,” Ollivierre said, adding that some of the clubs activities are annual events.

He mentioned the schools’ athletics meet, fisherman’s day celebration and the seniors’ lunch.

Simmons further said that the club’s sailing programme, with its optimist programme for 8-year-olds, launched 12 years ago, was instrumental in keeping sailing alive in Bequia.

Currently, about 15 to 20 per cent of the crews in the Bequia Easter Regatta came through that programme, Simmons said.

“So, when you still have regatta 50 years from now, it is because of Rotary.

That is one of our programme that has surely borne fruits.

“… You can’t just look us now and say we are not as active. But look at our fruits,” Simmons said, adding that the club would lose membership in Rotary International if it is not credible. (KXC)