Exclusive: Richard Peterkin Withdraws from PASO Presidential Race

(ATR) The nomination of Peterkin for the April election is withdrawn, four candidates remain.

(ATR) The St. Lucia Olympic Committee is removing its nomination of Richard Peterkin from the list of presidential candidates for the Pan American Sports Organization.

In a letter seen by Around the Rings, SLOC president Fortuna Belrose says the decision was made after consultation with Peterkin in order to help find unity in the region in the upcoming presidential election this April.

Peterkin had indicated weeks ago that he would likely quit the race at some point to make way for a consensus candidate from the Caribbean.

The contest is now down to four nominees; Brazilian Olympic Committee president Carlos Nuzman, Chilean Olympic Committee president Neven Ilic, former Dominican Republic Olympic Committee president Jose Puello and St. Vincent and the Grenadines general secretary Keith Joseph.

"As I indicated in my letter to my Caribbean colleagues on Jan. 15, 2017, I made my decision to withdraw from the race in order to unite the region and allow PASO to find a consensus single candidate, if possible," Peterkin is quoted in the letter to PASO secretary general Jimena Saldana.

Peterkin says the timing now seems right because a consensus candidate could be gaining more support in the Caribbean region. Sources suggest another withdrawal from candidate Keith Joseph could be on the horizon. Joseph and members of the SVGNOC have been unavailable or unable to confirm the whispers but a withdrawal would leave Puello as the only candidate from the Caribbean region.

Of PASO's 41 member NOCs, 18 are in the Caribbean. A consensus candidate from the region would provide nearly 43 percent of the total vote, making him the potential frontrunner.

"We have a great Continental organization, and while radical changes are needed in light of the threats and challenges now facing the Olympic Movement, I feel confident that we will find unity in our diversity, and elect a strong team to lead us for the next four years," Peterkin says in the letter.

Peterkin says he remains available to help the next PASO administration, possibly as a treasurer once more. Peterkin was treasurer of PASO until 2012 when then president Mario Vazquez Rana ousted him.

Peterkin, 68, is an IOC member and a past president of the St. Lucia NOC.

Vazquez Rana died in 2015 and was succeeded by vice president Julio Maglione, who will step down after the April 26 election in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Reported by Kevin Nutley

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