Thurs. June 4, 2009
For many years, now I have sat by rather serenely and said little or nothing publicly about the madness going on in Belizean football. However, after sitting in on a so-called press conference by the FFB some two weeks ago, I now find it necessary for me to break my silence and join my fellow associate Mr. Orlando “Leech” Jimenez and all others that have been clamoring for GOB’s intervention into this football madness created by Dr. Bertie Chimilio.
Before I share my two cents on this matter, I must first publicly state that I am utterly disappointed in Bertie’s supporting cast that flanked him on that evening, namely Bernaldino Pech and David Jones. I got to know these men when they were educators, and as such held them in high regards and gave them my utmost respect and admiration for the contribution they were making to this great nation.
Mr. Pech taught me at Muffles College in Orange Walk during my high school days, and also coached me whilst I played for that institution. I expected much more from you, Mr. Pech; I am sure many of your students did as well. It is mind-boggling to even start to imagine how you could have degraded yourself to such a level, and sacrifice the future of an entire nation‘s prospective football stars for a few perks, whatever they are, that you enjoy with your boss, the unabashed Bertie Chimilio. Shame on you, my norteño amigo!
Like Mr. Pech, Mr. David Jones has played an important role in the education process in Belize. He even currently works for the University of Belize. What is wrong with these gentlemen? Aren’t they supposed to be using their intellectual gifts for a good cause? How can you even sleep at night knowing that you have aided in the deprivation of many of our youths’ football future and dreams?
Before Bertie, we could have boasted that football was on the rise; locally, an industry was budding, as small as it was; a football industry was being generated. Jobs were being created, and many of my colleagues made a living off playing football. The private sector was heavily involved creating employment both on and off the field. I know of many players who went as far as building their homes off of football. Through football, under the management of then Juventus FC owner, Raul Pelayo, I was able to pay for my studies at the then University College of Belize, where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree Accounting.
Where is the private sector in football today? How many players can boast of earning a salary from the game today? Only BDF FC, I suppose, as they are funded by your and my taxpaying dollars; an issue I am very uncomfortable with, for it does not help in alleviating the misery of the state of football in any way, shape, or form. But that’s a topic that I shall address on another day. Under Chimilio’s reign, the private sector’s involvement has vanished, and the once promising football industry has collapsed without any hope of ever reviving. Internationally, we have gone from a once respected country to becoming the laughing stock of Central America.
How dare you insist on holding office with such a dismal report card, Mr. Chimilio? Where is your pride? What kind of improvement or development do you have to show for the many years that you have been in office? Shame on you, and woe be unto you for abolishing the dreams of many of our ghetto youths, who looked to football as a way out of poverty and unemployment.
The recent suspension Belize received from CONCACAF could not have come at a better time. I say this, for there is absolutely no reason now why the Government of Belize cannot step in and clean up this mess. After all, we have nothing to lose; and even when we had something to lose, we were losing everything. It is high time for GOB to step up and put an end to this regime that uses our nation’s name, Belize, but yet refuses to be accountable to the Belizean public. Football belongs to the people. Football is part of our culture, the social cement that holds us together. The government should and must therefore be very concerned over the allegations that bad men have taken control of the people’s sport and use it for their own personal gains.
Mr. Prime Minister, what is happening in the administration of football is a serious matter, as it is equivalent to corruption in government and among police officers; equally they all cause and call for great public concern. I therefore call on the Minister of Sports to swiftly intervene and bring a halt to these obnoxious men that are fleecing away footballers’ dreams. The supreme power that Mr. Chimilio has given himself needs to be removed immediately. We can no longer, and should no longer tolerate this dictatorship; and as such, the National Sport Council should be directed to immediately review and revise the statutes of the FFB and its affiliate members.
Only in Belize does a President have the authority to remove and appoint a member/chairman without any questions asked. What happened to democracy? This, Mr. Minister of Sports, is unacceptable. The power to suspend any member should be vested solely in the Federation’s Executive Body, which must also be comprised of elected officials chosen by the National Executive (Congress) or District Chairmen. This is your chance to do something, not only for Belize City, as you had once hoped for, Mr. Director of the National Sports Council; this is your big chance to do something for the entire country of Belize, and have your name recorded in the people’s good book.
This problem can be fixed, and it can be fixed rather easily. All that is needed is a few men of courage; you who hold those offices that can make a difference, now is the time to show that you are men with cojones! The footballers in Belize have absolutely nothing to lose at this point in time by government’s intervention. On the contrary, they have a lot to gain from GOBs’ intervention; for once and for all, we can put the great Dr. Chim in check. If GOB does not intervene now, then inevitably we shall lose football and hundreds of hopes and dreams for as long as the current FFB administration walks the face of this earth.
I hereby call out on the great Hon. Erwin Contreras to join in the fight, and help us save football and protect the future dreams and aspirations of our young football players. My area representative, the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Gaspar Vega, an avid football fan himself, please do something, and bring an end to the secret world of the FFB. Hon. Penner, Minister of Sports, the time to shine and act in the best interest of the youths of Belize is now. Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, just like the editorial on BTL, “A recipe for re-election,” suggested, so too I caution that bringing reform, transparency and accountability to the FFB can also be a recipe for re-election, especially amongst football players like myself, and football enthusiasts all over this country.
The record will show that most, if not all, of the countries that have been temporarily banned by FIFA, are now better off administratively, as the respective government’s intervention was ultimately done in the best interest of the entire country. It is no secret that Dr. Chimilio’s election was irregular, and as such the Belizean government should not recognize his presidency; and if it does for now, it should take measures and put in place steps that will ensure that such irregularities will never occur again. We must endeavor to protect the democratic process at every level, if we are to expect respect for our sovereign laws. The principal problem here is that the Belizean law is not compatible with the FFB/FIFA statutes. If Mr. FFB and his cronies wish to continue using the name Belize to represent us and participate under FIFA, then it’s high time that we subject them to the Belizean law of democracy.
I therefore put the question to you honorable gentlemen: Which is more powerful, the FFB/FIFA statutes or the laws of Belize?
Dean Flowers (Mr.)
Member of (5) five times semi-pro football champions – Juventus F.C.
Ex-member of the Belize National Football Team