“In your face!” Mr. Minister of Sports; Bertie says, “I am the boss!”

In a move that can only be interpreted as arrogant and disrespectful to the highest sporting authority in the land - the Minister of Sports, Hon. John Saldivar - the Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Secretariat today released by email a letter, dated December 7, and addressed to “all members of the FFB,” informing them that the slate headed by the incumbent Dr. Bertie Chimilio , “..will be endorsed in these posts” on December 18; even as the Minister of Sports was making his rounds around the country, declaring that he will see to it that the individuals charged with casting their FFB votes on behalf of the various district associations, are themselves elected democratically.

This latest slap in the face of Belize’s democratically elected government authority is just one more chapter in a long story of bombastic behavior by the incumbent FFB president. You all can have your say, but I will have my way, has been his modus operandi. Ironically, when the UDP was in Opposition, Dr. Bertie had as his lawyer, now Prime Minister, Dean O. Barrow.

Incidentally, by his own FFB Statutes, the final and highest authority in the FFB is vested in the FFB Congress, which is constituted of the 7-member district associations and the BPFL. The Congress elects an executive, not the other way around.

On March 24 of 2007, Dr. Bertie had placed private security guards and Police Officers at the entrance to the FFB compound, to deny entrance of the duly elected district association chairmen – Mr. Kevin Flores of Stann Creek, Mr. Luis Pena of Belmopan and Mr. Cruz Gamez of Cayo - who promised to vote against him. The media was also locked out. What if the same government Police Officers are now posted to prevent imposters from entering the compound in 2010?

This situation is fraught with possibilities, and they all spell difficult days ahead for football in Belize, all because there are short sighted, selfish and narrow-minded individuals who have no genuine love for “the beautiful game” or for the poor and oppressed football community of Belize. Now it appears, and perhaps appropriately, that Dr. Bertie has enlisted the services of no less than well known criminal lawyer Michael Peyrefitte to be a member of his executive. Michael knows about crime, not football. If Bertie wants him as legal adviser, no problem. But on the executive? Say it ain’t so, Bertie.

Read those names and remember them, Belizeans. They are an important part of the unfolding historical drama of sports and nation building in Belize, where “no tyrants.. linger” and “despots must flee”. Dr. Bertie has reportedly rejected the nominated slate of Sergio Chuc (for President), Wilhelm Moguel (for Senior Vice President), Mervin Flores (for 2nd Vice President), Daniel Arzu (for Executive Member) and Cruz Gamez (for Executive Member). The slate that Dr. Bertie is ordering the Congress to endorse on Saturday consists of Bertie Chimilio (for President), Bernaldino Pech (for Senior Vice President), David Jones (for Vice President), John Moody (for Executive Member) and Michael Peyrefitte (as Executive Member).

Sergio Chuc (BPFL) is one (1) only vote guaranteed against Dr. Bertie on Saturday. According to our sources, the seven (7) district chairmen who will be welcomed at Dr. Bertie’s “endorsement” meeting at the FFB headquarters at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning are: FRANK SUTHERLAND (Corozal), ALEX PALACIO (Orange Walk), KENT GABOUREL (Cayo), MARLON TILLETT (Belmopan), ANDY TILLETT (Toledo), HUGH STAINE (Belize District), and DAVID MARSHALL (Stann Creek).