Presently, there is a major storm brewing in the sport of cycling; many people do not understand the components that make up this storm. Hopefully, after they have read this article, they will be left with a clearer picture before the eye of the storm is upon us.
It all began in November, 2012, when the President of the Belize Cycling Association (BCA) called elections. These elections have, from time immemorial, been conducted with the registered Belizean cyclists, team managers and team personnel and other members casting their individual vote for either a slate or an individual, resulting in the election of a President and the executive. However, for the first time ever, the members were not allowed to enter the election venue, as they were informed that this election would be by pre-determined delegates. They were shocked to learn that the elections were being conducted as a federation, and not that of an association. That meant that delegates, and not cyclists etc., would be voting to decide who would be responsible to lead cycling for the next two years. The question then was, when did the Association become a federation?
To date that question remains unanswered. There is no documentation to reflect a change in name from Belize Cycling Association to Belize Cycling Federation, and there is no documentation, i.e. minutes, to a General Meeting or Special General Meeting to reflect any other change.
What is being claimed by the immediate past President is that there is a document dated October 25, 2006, which is a change in Constitution from that of an Association to that of a Federation, which he lodged with COPACI (Pan-American Cycling Federation) in 2009. How was this document accepted by COPACI without the supporting documentation, i.e. the approved minutes of a General Meeting or Special General Meeting approving this document, duly signed by the Secretary of the BCA? Was this document ever lodged with the local regulatory body the National Sports Council (NSC)?
What we do know is that the BCA held elections in 2007 and 2008 under a constitution from 2001 where Belizean cyclists, team managers and team personnel and other members cast their individual vote to elect a President and executives for two-year terms. What we also know is that the 2007 & 2008 elections were called due to problems within the associations, and were for shortened periods, and not the two-year term. These elections were conducted without incident.
In the 2008 elections, the immediate past President and an executive were elected by the Belizean cyclists, team managers and team personnel and other members. How was that possible if there was a change in the constitution in October of 2006?
The immediate past President has also stated that the Constitution he is using calls for voting by delegates who have been selected from the formation of four District Confederations – Northern, Southern, Central and Western – who will elect the executive of the Belize Cycling Association for a 4-year term. The questions now being asked is, how was the Association allowed to serve a four-year term, and when and where were district confederations elected?
Coming back to present day, based on the foregoing information, the NSC, COPACI, the BCA membership all have to take responsibility for “dropping the ball” in one way or the other, as it relates to the state of cycling, as had they been vigilant in adhering to the statutes that govern the sport, this situation would never have occurred.
The President of COPACI is in Belize to meet with the Government representatives to try to forge a suitable way forward. In the end, we hope that there is objectivity in looking at the facts which have brought us to this storm, and with reflection and acceptance of shortcomings by all parties, we are able to avoid the eye of the storm.
(Ed. Note: President of COPACI, Mr. Jose Manuel Peleaz Rodriguez, was reportedly hosted by past President Emil Moreno at a social meeting with some members of the cycling family at the Cahal Pech resort in Cayo on Tuesday night, February 12. On Wednesday, Mr. Peleaz Rodriguez met in Belmopan with Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth.)