More controversy and protests have arisen from the Belize Cycling Association’s Western Zone elections held at Cahal Pech Resort in San Ignacio last Sunday morning, April 7, although the associations’ southern zone elections at the Sentor Building in Independence Village reportedly went without incident last Saturday morning, April 6.
The southern zone elected Cordell Gordon as its President, Peter Morgan to serve as Vice President, Keisha West as Secretary, Elizabeth Zabaneh as Treasurer, and Antonio Zabaneh will serve as a Committee member.
Out west, one of the candidates, Daniel Cano, is protesting the late registration of 30 new members to the BCA, just prior to the elections, and has penned his protest to National Olympic Committee President Hilly Martinez on Monday, April 8, asking that the elections be redone.
Cano argues that the new members, who registered just before the elections, should not have been eligible to vote.
The BCA had set a registration deadline of March 11 for all members and prospective members, when the general membership met at the University of the West Indies campus in Belize City on Saturday afternoon, March 2.
At this a meeting attended by the interim committee including former BCA president Emil Moreno, it was announced that an interim committee would be established to oversee the execution of upcoming races, the manner in which elections would be held and it was clarified that new members might still register after March 11, but they would be ineligible to vote in the upcoming zone elections. No one objected to this condition, as all present, over 50 persons, agreed to it.
This meeting was widely publicized via emails on February 27 to all previously registered members, coaches and team managers, and was announced in the media, facebook and other social media, so that all who had any interest in cycling might attend. The National Olympic Committee was also invited.
The decisions taken at that meeting were also similarly published and widely circulated, so anyone who missed the deadline really had no excuse.
Cano’s letter protests that allowing the newly registered members to vote in spite of previous agreements to the contrary “perpetuates an atmosphere of mistrust and lack of transparency that seriously undermines the development of cycling in Belize.”
But when it came time to hold the Western Zone elections, all these condition went out the window. Members of the National Olympic committee were there to ensure that the elections were conducted in a fair and democratic manner, but they were unaware of any deadline for registration and took the position that in the interest of inclusivity, newly registered members should be allowed to vote. The NOC representatives said their mandate did not include membership matters.
Cano maintains that it was very unfair to those who made the effort to comply with the deadline, that the membership list should have been manipulated at the last minute to create an unfair advantage for a candidate.