August 21st, 2016
Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association
Belize, Central America
SUBJECT: Belize Olympic Selection Rio
Dear Mr. President:
I write to you as simply a man, a Belizean and citizen of the world. I come without medals, honors, positions, degrees and titles; just an ordinary man. A man and his nation who are being represented internationally by your organization and the picture I am seeing is not representative of me or the country we all live in.
On July 4th, 2016 I wrote to the President of the International Olympic Committee regarding the choosing of Katy Sealy over Kaina D. Martinez to represent Belize in Female Athletics (Track & Field) in Rio 2016. All indications are that this was a totally unfair decision which was not made in the interest of the nation of Belize or in the spirit of the Olympics. I am still convinced that Katy was the wrong choice and my opinion regarding the matter will not change. I will continue to advocate this matter at every level until Olympics representation in Belize is changed so that it reflects Belize, represents Belizeans and works for the promotion of ALL athletes in Belize.
One of the pillars of the Olympics is diversity and your Executive Board in no way represents any kind of Belizean diversity, but rather it represents the bourgeoisie ruling class that has ruled this country since colonial times. While there is the intermittent mix in it, I am sure that it is there merely for cosmetic purposes. I fail to see the face of the ordinary man on the street, who represents the backbone of sports in Belize anywhere on your Executive Board. There is much that the Belizean public does not know about your organization even though it represents us, so I will afford you the opportunity to clarify a few issues that may be news to them:
1. Your organization’s Article of Association dated April 3rd, 2008, Article III, Section H states and I quote, “To arrange for the appointment of representatives of ‘the Association’ at home or abroad with such powers as may deem advisable.” – please explain to the Belizean public what is the purpose of this section and why is it necessary in your articles
2. Article III, Section F says and I quote, “To do all within its powers the prevention against any form of DISCRIMINATION and violence in sports, on grounds of RACE, religion, politics gender or creed” – was the selection of Katy Sealy in accordance with the spirit of this article? If so, who were the members of your Executive Board who voted for her and why was this vote taken when it was known that only those members who were pro-Katy would be able to attend
3. In accordance with Article IV, Section D, who are the Honorary Members of the association? What is their role? Who nominated them? On what ground? And was a vote taken to confirm their membership?
4. Article IX affords that “The Hon. Treasurer shall keep such books of accounts as the Executive Board may from time to time direct. Deposit the funds of the Association in such banks as may be selected by the Executive Board and also to perform such duties in relation to the Association as the Executive Board may require.” Please confirm to the Belizean public, if this position which is now held by Giovanni Alamilla, is the same person who was convicted in relation to the armed robbery of First Security Federal Savings Bank in 1996 in the US and was sentenced to 63 months in prison. If this is the same person, how can the association rationalize placing a person in a trusted financial position when they have been convicted of bank robbery? Additionally, in January 2005, Alamilla and his brother were also involved in an altercation at the Princess Hotel & Casino. Please let us know what are the ethical standards for this position in your organization? Or the ethical standards for ANY position on your Executive Board. How did Mr. Alamilla get involved with the association in the first place and who brought him in? Can you say if the association was aware of any of this prior to his election in February 2013? If this is indeed the same person, what steps will the organization now take?
5. Was Article XI followed to the letter when dealing with the selection of Katy Sealy over Kaina D. Martinez and I quote, “When dealing with questions relating to the Olympic Games, only the votes cast by the members of the Executive Board of the Association and by the National Federations affiliated to sports included in the programme of the Olympic Games are taken into consideration.”
6. Article VII states, “Provided that if the Executive Board does not reflex at least a 20% female membership thereon, the board shall have the power to so reflect the membership by appointment.” What are the criteria for appointment? Why just females? What about other minorities and Indigenous people? While the article speaks about the composition of the Executive Board, what about other committees within the organization? Or the Bodies of Sports listed in Appendix I, how is your organization pushing these bodies to diversify themselves, especially the ones that desperately need to?
7. Turning to the minutes of your Special Meeting of the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association held on Saturday 16th February, 2013 at the Villa Wing of the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina, Point # 7 and it states: “Mr. Edward ‘Ned’ Pitts then introduced the Electoral Commission which consisted of:- Mr. Raymond Lashley, Ms. Sharon Frazer and Ms. Hadie Gomez.” What was the process by which these individuals were selected to be the Electoral Commission? Why were these persons specifically selected and what were the selection criteria? And who selected them? Are these positions permanent or will the individuals change at the next election which is scheduled after the Rio Games?
8. Article XXV, Section A states that, “In order to fulfill its mission the Association may cooperate with governmental or non-Governmental bodies. However, the Association shall not associate itself with any activity which would be in contradiction with the Olympic Charter. Government or other public authorities shall not designate any members of the Association. However, the Association may decide, at its discretion, to elect as members representatives of such authorities”. In your special meeting on the same date, Points 9, 10 and 11 state that the Governor General was appointed as a “Patron” to the organization. Please indicate to us if this is a position within the organization or simply a title bestowed on him as someone who has helped and supported the organization
9. Point 40 of your minutes states that “Mr. Billy Musa then gives a short speech, regarding Mr. Edward ‘Ned’ Pitts’ dedication to the Association even with his disability. Mr. Musa’s wishes was that Mr. Edward ‘Ned’ Pitts be bestowed with the label ‘President – Emeritus of the Belize Olympic & Commonwealth Games Association.’ All agreed.” Kindly elaborate what this new position entails?
10. Point 42 of your minutes states and I quote, “Mr. Hilly Martinez then indicated that he is hoping to secure a building and name it after Mr. Edward ‘Ned’ Pitts, to honor him.” Please update us as to the status of this undertaking and whether this building will be constructed from scratch, or bought? What will be the bidding process? How can contractors qualify? And where will the monies come from? With the relatively small size of your organization, do you feel that this monies could be spent better elsewhere to develop sports in Belize rather than on a building?
11. It is the general opinion of the Belizean public that some of those Sporting Bodies listed under Appendix I of your Articles of Association are merely one-man or one-family dominated sports who are merely there to give votes during an election cycle. The Belizean public has never heard or seen some of these sporting bodies and am sure you know which ones I am talking about
12. How is the decision made about the number of athletes that will attend the Olympics versus the number of delegates/executives? I am sure that the Belizean public would like to see the number of athletes increased even if that is at the expense of less delegates/executives since we all feel that the Olympics and associated games have pretty much become a paid vacation for some of those in your organization
The intent of this correspondence is not to criticize but rather to get answers, since if you are doing everything above par then you have nothing to fear or to hide. However, if you have taken the herculean responsibility of representing our beloved country at the international level, then you have to come clean. Belize as a nation has been participating in the Olympics since the Mexico ‘68 Games and we are no closer to a medal as we did then; clearly we are not doing something right… Citius, Altius, Fortius!
Neri O. Briceño
cc. Camille Besse, IOC
Kaina D. Martinez
Sandra Miranda, President National Garifuna Council
Herman Pastor, Jr.