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SIR VINCENT FLOISSAC

Vincent Floissac was classed as one of St. Lucia’s more illustrious sportsmen, for a sense of character and sportsmanship, in addition to his all-round capability. He had a studied, methodical approach to his sport and an innate intelligence- characteristics which formed the basic attributes of his life and moulded him into not just an outstanding sportsman, but one of the foremost legal luminaries produced in St. Lucia.

Vincent Floissac (now Sir Vincent) was St. Lucia’s to table tennis player in the early 1940s, holding the local championship for an unbroken five years, before leaving the island for studies in the United Kingdom. He also represented St. Lucia at Lawn Tennis in 1947 and 1948 and then for nine years from 1954.

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However, it is for his prowess in football that fans of that era remember him most. Floissac aws fast, an adept dribbler and goal scorer. That he was not able to command a place on the national team is due largely to the fact that in his time, there was a surfeit of top class players. Playing as a fifteen year old, for St. Mary’s College through to 1947, Floissac could rank among the top players, but he was unfortunate not to maintain a place on the national side.

Where he stood out was in his deportment on the field. While he was a speedy player, Vincent was never embroiled in the sometimes vicious physical exchanges on the football field. He had the ability to receive and distribute his passes with uncanny dispatch, and his agility brought him out of many a tough spot. Above all, his gentlemanly behaviour on the field made him more an object of admiration than an opponent.

Vincent Floissac was the product of the system which combined the attainment of academic achievements with physical development. By age 15, he was already representing the School at football and has established a reputation as one of the leading table tennis players on the island, winning the national championship in 1943.

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By all accounts, Floissac could have developed into one of the island’s leading sportsmen. However, he organised his priorities very early, placing emphasis on his studies, thus cutting the edge off his competitiveness. This did not prevent him from maintaining the table tennis championship until 1948, when he won the Island Scholarship and proceeded to read law at the London University in Britain.

In between that time, he was able to gain selection on the national lawn tennis squad and still continue his football. Vincent Floissac did not really fancy cricket. The long hours on the playing field demanded in the sport affected his study schedule. He remembers with some amusement one of his few ventures into the game when he claimed a bagful of wickets in a match against a Soufriere eleven on an uneven wicket. Vincent returned to St. Lucia from Britain in 1953, after attaining his Master of Laws degree. By the following year, he had regained his place on the national lawn tennis team. It was a period when St. Lucia was a major force in Windward Islands lawn tennis. Vincent Devaux had attained the number one rank in the sub region and together with Vincent Floissac, formed one of the top doubles teams in the area. As it was, St. Lucia gained a victory over arch rivals, Barbados, on its first outing, courtesy of sterling performances by Floissac and Devaux.

At the time of Floissac’s return from his studies abroad, it was the norm for ex – collegiates to join the more elitist football teams. Most fans expected that Floissac, new fangled lawyer, member of the national lawn tennis side, top first division footballer, would have gravitated to the teams of his peers. But not Floissac, he joined the fledgling V.A.D.C. – the organisation founded by social worker, James Belgrave, to assist the island’s wayward youth in their development.

True to form, Floissac never accepted any top post in the organisation, but he acted as consultant, adviser and general counsellor to the V.A.D.C. for years, even after his retirement from active involvement in sport. In the meantime, he continued his activities as one of the island’s major lawn tennis players, representing St. Lucia at numerous tournaments locally and abroad until he gave up competitive tennis in 1963.

Floissac was not only active on the football field or for his club. In 1957, he was elected President of the National football Association and served with distinction until 1961. He also served as Director of St. Lucia Sports Society during that period.

The tremendous pressures of his law practice, as well as his wide social and economic interests caused him to place sport on the backburner of his public life.

‘Outstanding Sports Personalities Of St. Lucia’ By : Rupert J. Branford

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