Headline — 10 February 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Cycling prez, Dion Leslie, under fire

 The federation is badly run, says young cyclist who wants his job

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 8, 2018– Belize Cycling Federation president, Dion Leslie, who is also the governing United Democratic Party’s mayoral candidate, has come under fire from a young man who is aspiring to lead the cycling organization.

Tariq Cano, who is not shy about his aspirations to topple Leslie from the top spot at the cycling federation, called a press conference today in which he called into question Leslie’s performance as the leader of the cycling federation.

Cano, who was accompanied by his lawyer, Hector Guerra, told the media that since last November he has been requesting information about the election for the Cycling Federation of Belize.

Cano said, “We’ve asked to set a date, to give information about the meeting and the due process that is supposed to happen for election to happen. And these letters have been dismissed and ignored, you would say. We were just trying to find ways of how to have this thing properly, without any main fuss, but it wasn’t working out, so we went further to seek legal advice.”

Cano approached attorneys Hector Guerra and Gavin Courtenay for legal advice. He told the press briefing that the issue is not with Leslie.

“I’ll put that out there,” Cano said. “The issue is not with him, it’s with the cycling governing body. He just happens to be the president, so the issue is with the federation not showing accountability for the stuff that they’ve been doing financially, and with the different processes in terms of selecting national teams, and proper development for cyclists and for the growth of the sport.”

Cano’s attorney, Hector Guerra, weighed in on the matter of the constitution of the cycling federation, which has been a bone of contention among those aspiring to be elected on the federation’s executive. Guerra explained that the federation constitution does not say anything about it having to be approved by the National Sports Council.

Guerra added, “The matter of ratifying the constitution and passing a new constitution is governed by the old constitution that was in place before the new constitution, which was passed in November. And so, in effect, what we are saying, what Tariq’s concern is, has to do with the minutes of that meeting in November. There have been no minutes forthcoming from the federation.

“And so, in the letter that I sent on behalf of Mr. Cano, we asked for those minutes, those minutes have not been disclosed to us. Mr. Tariq has in the past requested those minutes, and his attempts at getting those minutes have been dismissed repeatedly.”

Another person involved in this effort to challenge the federation’s leadership, one who has her eyes on the vice-presidency of the Cycling Federation of Belize and is planning to be Cano’s running mate, is Karen Vernon. She is also the mother of two cyclists.

Vernon explained, “We got an email this morning with the financial records for 2017 – I’m sure that they said they will share it with you guys. It’s not a financial record at all; it doesn’t say anything. I remember asking repeatedly for financial records, and to hold an annual general meeting, because that should be done on a yearly basis. You should have an annual general meeting with your entire membership, present your financials, and present that to the National Sports Council. That hasn’t been done for the past four years.”

“My hope is to broaden the horizons internationally for these athletes, get them properly developed – get the females developed, get the youths developed, and turn Belizean cycling global. That’s my dream, and that’s my objective,” Cano told the media.

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