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#457874 - 02/12/13 02:23 PM Some In Cycling Community Say, "Move Out, Moreno!"
Marty Offline

For months now - we've been reporting on the dispute in the Cycling Community. There's an power struggle in the Belize Cycling Association, where the old president Emil Moreno wants to be re-elected, but is encountering major resistance. Technically, the issue is whether the Cycling Association is a Federation: Moreno says it is and the international governing body for the sport agrees. But the Sports Council says it is not - and Moreno's former executive agrees. So, technically it's a mess, but really, the it's a personality problem. And that was clear on Saturday when some cyclists protested against their own president. 7news was there as they rode through the city:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
It's not a race, it's not a preview for some major cycling event: Saturday's procession through the city was a protest - to make everyone know they want order restored to the cycling community.

And as the chants suggest - that means the president Emil Moreno has to go. They gathered at the BTL Park - where the man who would be president Dion Leslie was there.

They signed a petition - and if you want to know what the petition was about: the answer is blunt.

Quinton "The Baddest" Hamilton, Cyclist
"The problem right now is Emil Moreno. He needs to leave the Cycling Association immediately."

George Abraham, Father of 2 Young Cyclists
"I am out here today to tell Mr. Moreno it's time to leave! Why don't you just leave and give the other person a break to run the show. You are not doing anything for 4 years, come on move out the way."

Kwame Scott, cycling Official
"The problem we are facing is mainly because of Mr. Emil Moreno and I must say as a human being I have the utmost respect for Mr. Moreno. I even would dare call him my friend but as the president of the Belize Cycling Association and the aspiring president for the next Belize Cycling Association my respect for Mr. Moreno has fallen below zero."

Roy McKenzie, Cyclist
"The president is just all for himself and he doesn't cater for the cyclists any at all. The season is opened from November and the only race we had was on the 1st of January and the only reason why we had that race was because of KREM and KREM had that on their own."

Orson Butler, Veteran Cyclist
"I've been a cyclist for 20 years and I have never seen the sports at this low in my whole cycling career. We need to step forward and ask for an immediate election so we can get the correct people in like us to bring this sport back."

Emil Figueroa, Cayo Uprising Team
"Cycling is for Belize. Belizeans love cycling, so that why I am out here because I want something done to get cycling on its way because we all love cycling and with the leadership right now there is no way cycling is going forward. Cycling has gone backward for the past 4 years."

Reporter
"Are you going to sign the petition today?"

Quinton "The Baddest" Hamilton, Cyclist
"I want a whole page for myself to sign. I was supposed to go to Angelus Press to make a stamp and stamp a whole sheet to let him know that we don't want him."

And the reason they don't is because there is no association to organize races effectively - and Cross Country is 7 weeks away.

Leticia Westby, Former/Aspiring Executive Member
"Valentine Classic was supposed to be next week, we have no idea if that will happen. Let say it's not going to happen the Annual 9th March or Belmopan Classic again coming up and no idea if that will happen. If we can't have the Valentine Classic how can we have that? Then of course what is the most historic event in the country - national event; the Cross Country where at this point in time - last year it was perfect and a perfect example of Mr. Moreno's leadership where at the last minute we were on the radio asking for sponsorship for a big event - a national event. What will we do this year?"

Douglas "Barcelona" Lamb, Cycling Trainer
"It's like cycling is just going down the drain. We don't have any association, so no sponsor doesn't want to give anything towards it because of no association."

Byron Pope, Cyclist
"All the sponsors now they are trying to hold back their money, they don't want to give out any money because they don't know if the association was going to sort out their problem and in preparation for a race you need finance because you need training; you need vitamins, supplements, you need bike parts and all different types of things and if we don't have that then how can we expect tp be ready for a race if we are not preparing well."

Kwame Scott, cycling Official
"Races are non-existent, sponsors of classic are holding back because they don't know what's going on. Sponsors of teams are holding back. They don't care about cycling if you ask me. We are calling on those concerns and those in power to hear our cry. Please find a way to sit with the representatives of the cyclists and hear this out and move forward."

But some are moving on instead:

Kaya Cattouse, Defending Female Cross Country Champion Contemplating Leaving Cycling For Football
"Right now why should I commit to cycling if nothing is happening. I mean it's a sport that I love; it's my number one sport but how can I commit to it and how can I train? We aren't even having any races right now. What am I training for? For 4 years from now just to know that I have been training so that I can ride on race and for us to be spending not only money but family time every day on the bike buying supplements, vitamins, training equipment - it's not feasible for us to be doing that and at the of the day we ride a race and we don't even win half of what we have spent."

Byron Pope, Cyclist
"Being without an association is really hurting the sport because it's a lot of time and dedication out here and we don't even know if we will have a race next week. Sometimes it makes you feel frustrated - you just want throw in the towel."

And so, the plea form these cyclists is simple:

Leticia Westby, Former/Aspiring Executive Member
"All we are asking is that if he wants the best for cycling in Belize have him call an election now and have the membership decide on what they want in regards to their sports. The sport is for the membership. It is not for Mr. Moreno."


Moreno Says It's Mischief Making

For the other side of the story, today we caught up with Moreno in Cayo. We asked him about the catalogue of complaints against him. He responded today calling it mischief-making and rumors being spread around:

Daniel Ortiz
"You were aware that there was a rally that is basically a campaign against having you being re-elected as president of the Cycling Association. The members of the cycling team we spoke to on Saturday are saying that they would rather you step aside and have a new president to run the organization. They are saying that you haven't done a good job for the 4 years that were elected. How do you respond to that?"

Emil Moreno
"That's their own opinion. Of course the last time we intended to have the election in Cayo riders came out here and the rumors were out that those riders were paid $50 to come out and protest the affair here. I don't know what the rally was all about in Belize City. I do know that I did get an email that Ms. Leticia Westby sent out with a notice that there will be a rally and what was the rally all about but over the social media you read a lot of stuff as well. In one of the letters sent to Mr. Pat Henry they want to re-elect the incumbent president, so I don't know what or who is behind all this mischief. Everybody knows what the financial position is. A main sponsor like Santino's used to sponsor events with the Belize Cycling Association but he has moved over to another league - the Weekend Warrior league. I have tried to have the Weekend Warrior come under the Belize Cycling Association's umbrella but they don't want."

Daniel Ortiz
"Let's be frank Mr. Moreno, they want you out. They would rather see someone else lead the Cycling Association for the next 4 years. They are basically treating you like another Bertie Chimillio, in which that you have no confidence of certain members of the riders. How do you respond to those people?"

Emil Moreno
"It has been a total confusion. The National Sports Council recognizes one constitution that was registered by the treasurer. Legally, if you want to look at the legal aspect of it only the President and the Secretary could have lodge the constitution with the National Sports Council, but never mind that, it has been lodge. The issue is there, you want to deal with the issue now and go to election and we are elected back again by the different associations that were formed."

And what about that stand-still at executive level of the BCA? Viewers will recall that the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports don't recognize Moreno or his executive because they were supposed to have elections last year.

However, the Minister of State with responsibility for Sports, Herman Longsworth, appointed an interim committee to govern the association until new elections are called.

These elections are pending, and today Moreno told us that the president of the Pan-American Cycling Federation, is here in Belize. This international cycling body will oversee elections scheduled in the next few days, and Moreno told us that the president will meet with Minister of Sports to finalize the arrangements:

Emil Moreno
"The President of COPASI just came into the country yesterday; he is in Belize City at the moment. We were schedule to meet with the Minister of Sports Mr. Longsworth. I've tried to reach him but it has been unsuccessful since the President is here. I do know that some of the people from the other party had contacted me asking if the President was here. I have mentioned to them that yes he is here, he is in Belize City at the moment. We should be catching up with him sometime this afternoon and go from there. In his stay basically he will first wanted to meet with the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council to discuss what his objective is in the upcoming elections."

Those elections are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, which will be determined by the meetings between the president and each party.

Channel 7


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#458031 - 02/14/13 01:54 PM Re: Some In Cycling Community Say, "Move Out, Moreno!" [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Cycling Takes The High Road, But Risks Int'l Sanctions

On Monday, 7News showed you the discontent that some cyclists have with the direction that the Belize Cycling Association has taken under the leadership of Incumbent President, Emil Moreno.

Much of the dispute centers over whether the Cycling Association is now a properly constituted federation - as Moreno says, or if it is still an Association - as his opponents contend.

Well, this evening, the Minister of State with Responsibility for Sports, Herman Longsworth, announced at a press conference what will be the way forward. And that plan of action is a major upset for the Moreno camp because there will be no Federation recognized for these upcoming elections.

Instead, the individual cyclists and other members of the cycling community will decide who will represent them at the executive level - as has been customary in the association.

It's a major development - and one that could lead to international sanctions against Belize cycling. That's because the governing regional body for cycling, COPACI recognizes a Federation. The President Jose Manuel Palaez Rodriguez met with Minister of State Longsworth this afternoon in Belmopan where he was given the bad news.

Here's how Longsworth described the unproductive meeting at the press conference just two hours ago:

Hon. Herman Longsworth - Minister of State/Sports
"I agreed to meet with Jose Manuel Peleaz Rodriguez, who is the president of COPACI, to try to see how we could dialog to try to sort this issue out. It appears that Mr. Peleaz Rodriguez is insistent on telling us, how we must proceed with cycling in Belize, and he is insistent that we must confirm to whatever UCI says whether or not that is consistent with the laws of our country. And I refuse to do that; I absolutely refuse to do that. Mr. Peleaz Rodriguez insisted that the only constitution will recognize is that which was supposedly drafted in 2006. I asked Mr. Peleaz Rodriguez if they, COPACI or UCI, had any record to substantiate the legitimacy of that document, and he himself could not say yes. It is not my intention to unilaterally do anything unless I am forced to do so. I want UCI to be here, to dialog with us, and to come up with the best possible format for cycling to move forward in Belize, but if we can't come to a satisfactory arrangement on this, I will move to have elections by the general membership. And when I say the general membership - there is now association as we are concerned right now. Because we have what I consider to be a legitimate issue the constitution that they claim is the constitution of the BCA, and because they have issue with the constitutions we claim, that we should start from scratch. Let's have free and fair elections of an executive for the Belize Cycling Association, where every cyclist who is interested, or anybody who is interested in registering as a member, has a vote. And when that executive is duly formed, that UCI and COPACI then works with that executive to develop a constitution that is acceptable to everybody, and we then moved forward. I believe that is as transparent and as democratic as we can get. They have opted to not accept. There must be elections held by the end of February, I am hoping that UCI and COPACI will opt to be a part of the process for those elections, but if they refuse to be, the elections will be held. Now, I must be responsible, and I must indicate to the general public, that this may mean that the Belize Cycling Association will be sanctioned by UCI. We intend to constitute the interim committee within the next few days, and we will then start the process of registering cyclists for this year because that process hasn't started. What we will do is we will give each person who is interested in registering a chance to say whether we ought to go this way or not. I am hoping that the general public, including those who generally sponsor cycling will appreciate that this is a legitimate effort at allowing cycling to move properly."

And while the elections are scheduled for the end of February, the issue of the scheduling of races in that time period is an issue. To address that, the BCA will be governed by an interim committee in which the Longsworth will invite 2 delegates from both Emil Moreno's camp, and Dion Leslie's camp. This model failed in its first attempt when Moreno had more than two delegates. There will be 2 delegates from the National Sports Council, and this committee will be chaired by Melvin Torres, who according to Longsworth comes highly recommended by the cycling community.

The Valentine's Cycling Classic has fallen victim of these postponed elections because there was no mechanism put in place to secure funding for it. However, Longsworth assured that the Ministry of Sports is intending for the Belmopan Cycling Classic, scheduled for March 9, to take place. The plan is that the newly elected executive will take the lead in planning other races, including the longest running one, the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic.

Channel 7


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