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Home Letters Sailing Association responds to article by Roberto Pott

Sailing Association responds to article by Roberto Pott

Editor, Amandala Newspaper

From: Belize Sailing Association
Thurs. Jan. 23, 2020

Reference news article authored by Roberto Pott, entitled, “Roberto Pott raises alarm that Belize Sailing Association is taking on water,” dated Saturday, January 18th, 2020 attached for ease.

We would be grateful if you would allow us the opportunity to right some of the inaccuracies therein.

The Belize Sailing Association (BzSA) is a voluntary organization doing its best to promote youth sailing in our country with limited resources. The article presents a bleak picture of our association, and gives no merit to those that volunteer and give their time freely.

We note that the article makes reference to issues of nepotism as it relates to members of the board. This comment is erroneous, given the fact that board members are elected as per the Constitution of the Association, which grants a two-year time limit. For one to be eligible to be elected, he must be a subscribed member. In this regard, Mr. Pott and the Belize Sea Scouts were each in arrears for two years. As a matter of course, running up to the AGM he was contacted, as were other members.

It is the intent of the association to have all the boats utilized in our national program to promote sailing in the country. Our goal is to encourage clubs to come back to the organization and participate. We will actively pursue policies that work towards this goal, and suggest to those unable to work to a common goal to hand over the mantle to those that will participate. We are glad to note that after a short absence Caye Caulker has returned, and we are actively working with the Belize Coast Guard to assist their cadet program.

Every year, we organize a National series of regattas for Optimists and Lasers. We have noted a decline in numbers for several years and the absence of some clubs. This, in some cases, is due to the turnover of aged-out sailors, but in other cases it is the failure of club leaders to work for the better good and abide by a set of common standards. With this in mind, we reached out to all those entities that we thought should participate, notwithstanding previous differences, to pay outstanding arrears and re-join the association in accordance with the terms of the constitution. Sadly, they were not able to put their prejudices to the side for the betterment of children in sailing.

BzSA thoroughly endorses correct coaching and teaching practices for our sailors. To this end, we held a week-long World Sailing Technical Training for Coaches level 1 session in Corozal in July of 2017, with 20 participants including Mr. Pott. The International Optimist Dinghy Association also provided a coach for a week in 2015, and we have plans to carry out two more training sessions this year.

BzSA is a full and active member of World Sailing (The World governing body for sailing), The Laser Class Association, International Optimist Dinghy Association, and Pan-American Sailing Federation. We report annually to the National Sports Council, Financial Intelligence Unit, and are in good standing with the Companies Registry. The combined cost of this membership and reporting in 2018-19 was $1,300. Accounts are presented annually at the Annual General Meeting. The opportunities and information produced by the Association are available to members who pay their dues, these being a nominal $50/year for an adult and $100/year for a club.

We need support for our local program and our international efforts, and are happy to talk with any entity who would like to encourage sailing in Belize. If any qualified firm would like to provide an ex-gratia service to audit our financial report, please email us at ([email protected]). END

(Amandala Sports Ed. Note: The article by Roberto Pott referred to in the headline above actually appeared on page 43 of Amandala dated Friday, January 17, 2020.)

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