Sports — 11 December 2012

There is turmoil in cycling again. Last Wednesday, December 5, our sports desk received a copy of a letter dated November 28 and signed by close to fifty cyclists from a dozen prominent cycling teams, addressed to “Mr. Patrick L. Henry, Director, National Sports Council” and copied to the President, UCI; President COPACI; Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of Sports; Mr. Ned Pitts, President Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association; and Mr. Trevor Bradley, President Caribbean Cycling Federation.

The letter declares a “Vote of no-confidence in the B.C.A. and its current executive,” and lists 6 grounds upon which it has made that declaration. The letter requests the assistance of the Sports Director to “remove the current President and his Executive and to oversee a smooth transition to free and fair elections.” And it ends by stating that, “Our request is urgent as the new cycling season is to start in December.”

We waited to hear a response from the Ministry, and that response came on Friday, in the form of a strong letter, dated December 7, signed by Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and addressed to the President of COPACI, Mr. Jose Manuel Palaez Rodriguez. The letter is copied to UCI President, Mr. Pat McQuaid and BCA President, Emil Moreno, as well as the Belize Olympic Committee.

The Minister’s letter begins by making reference to “your correspondence dated November 26, 2012, and addressed to the Hon. Patrick Faber in which you expressed your concern about ‘the situation that is presently taking place with the Belize Cycling Association.’” The Minister then lays out the position of Government and the National Sports Council regarding “the situation” and, while the letter declares that “neither the Government of Belize nor the National Sports Council (NSC) has any interest in running the everyday activities of any sport discipline in Belize,” it nevertheless listed some points describing how it views the present crisis in the BCA. It then goes further and lays out “the final position” of the Ministry “on this matter.”

That “final position” includes 3 points as follows:

(1) “The mandate of the last executive of the BCA ran out on November 31, 2012, (based on the Constitution the NSC recognizes).”

(2) “The Government and the NSC is (sic) prepared to accept the delay” in holding the General Meeting “on the condition that an interim committee made up of two (2) members of each slate that was presented for the elections and to be chaired by the NSC. This committee shall have no authority to make any decisions for the association but shall preside over all races to be held during the interim period.”

(3) And it calls on the “UCI and COPACI” to “do everything in their power to regularize the situation and ensure fair elections of the new executive in which the full membership of the Association is allowed to decide who represents them at the executive level..”

Last year around this time, football was looking to settle some similar problems. Now, it looks like its cycling’s turn. Like FIFA last year, UCI now needs to “do the right thing.”

Nevertheless, the sport of cycling continues, as in the Weekend Warriors “Hell of the West” Race yesterday, Sunday.

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