Belize Amateur Athletics Association in controversy

Deon Sutherland

Now that the controversy between the government and the Football Federation of Belize is being worked out, another sporting association is in turmoil. The presidency of the Belize Amateur Athletics Association under Ian Gray is tonight the subject of strong allegations of misconduct by the management committee of the BAAA. A release signed off by members of the committee accuses Gray of blatantly disregarding the constitution of the association by using BAAA’s name for other sports-related ventures without prior notice or approval. Likewise, it is reported that Gray has proceeded to put together a national team to represent Belize at the 2011 Pan American Games after unlawfully assuming authority from the management committee to establish himself as the sole decision maker. News Five spoke by phone this afternoon with First Vice President Deon Sutherland who told us that they are following protocols set under the constitution to address the issue by presenting it to the organization’s membership.

Via Phone: Deon Sutherland, First Vice President, BAAA

“We believe that the entire body of the Belize Amateur Athletic Association was elected, individually elected, but nonetheless as a body to represent athletics in Belize. Therefore each member having their respective responsibility, each member is still collectively responsible to the entire body and we believe that over the past couple of months we have seen whereby decisions were made, agreements were signed and collaborations were made with different entities and the management committee had no say or had no awareness of what was going on. We believe that at this juncture we cannot go with that anymore.”

Isani Cayetano

“One such decision that was made was the selection of a national team to represent Belize at the 2011 Pan American Games without the committee of management’s knowledge or consent. Can you detail us a bit on that?”

Via Phone: Deon Sutherland

“Yes. What happened [is that] over the years we have not had much of a set criteria as to how members were selected for representation. Nonetheless, since this new administration took over we have tried to work closely with the coaches and select. As you probably have heard over the past month we have had quite a number of meets and so from the results of those meets and in speaking with the coaches that have been working with the particular athletes we have been able to come up with a good list of athletes to represent at different international meets. And we have been doing that at least for the past three different events we have participated in internationally and we believe it was working pretty well. Nonetheless this last selection for the Pan Am Games, as you rightfully said, was done without the knowledge and the participation of the managing committee of the Belize Amateur Athletics Association.”

Isani Cayetano

“Now you guys have called a special meeting to be held no later than October fifteenth if I’m not mistaken. Can you speak to us a bit about what the desired outcome of this meeting would be?”

Via Phone: Deon Sutherland

“Well for us we’re just going through proper channels as stipulated in the constitution of the Belize Amateur Athletics Association. We want not the management committee to make a decision but we want to take this back to the members who voted and tell them well this is the situation and we want to know how to proceed from there.”

The special meeting is scheduled to be held no later than October fifteenth at which point a motion will be passed to denounce Gray’s presidency of the Belize Amateur Athletics Association.

Channel 5