BELIZE CITY, Fri. Mar. 24, 2017–The plight of Kaina Martinez, the young Garifuna woman who hails from the picturesque seaside fishing village of Seine Bight, was highlighted in Amandala three weeks ago, as she reminded this nation that natural talent is not enough to raise the profile of Belizean athletes without the requisite investment and support from those who can help to build sports in Belize.
On the occasion of the national budget debate today, Martinez’s area representative, Hon. Rodwell Ferguson, who has known her since childhood, called the attention of Parliament to Kaina’s plight.
“She is very ‘hurted’ to this day that she was refused to go to the Olympics to represent the country of Belize… nobody came to her rescue. She was there alone and nobody knew for sure why she was rejected. She was rejected for a person who has never been a Belizean by birth. You know what she told me? Mr. Area Rep, if I was put aside for another Belizean, that would have been no hurt to me. But today she is hurting,” said Ferguson, the People’s United Party (PUP) Opposition member for Stann Creek West.
“So I really want to come to this National Assembly and to this nation to tell Kaina, ‘I have your back, 100%!’” he asserted.
The decision to exclude Kaina from the 2017 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, at which Belize was instead represented by UK-born Katy Sealy—whose performance was lackluster—was a major blow to Kaina’s athletic career, which notably peaked in 2014 when she ran in several games for Belize, while getting a regional and international reputation in her preferred sport – track and field.
“If they did not want to send me, they should have sent somebody else,” Martinez said.
“They have Belizeans that are better than her,” she commented.
Kaina’s desire has always been to make a difference in the sport. What the Rio rejection could not take away from her is her motivation to make a change.
“If it means go to the end of the world to make it happen, I will do it! Every disaster that comes, I find strength in it!” Kaina told us.