Well known female professional cyclist Kaya Cattouse is also speaking out against the Cycling Federation of Belize. Cattouse has become an advocate for women and youth cyclists who she says have not been given the same opportunities by the Federation. She says quote, “Instead of finding ways to encourage participation and build the female field, the federation seemingly finds ways to discourage the few of us that do exist.” End of quote. Cattouse is not the only one who feels that way. In his letter, to Federation’s President, Tarique Cano expressed concerns over what he described as the quote, “disinterest the CFB demonstrates towards female and youth cyclists.” End of quote. These sentiments were verbalized by Karen Vernon, who is not only the mother of Cattouse but Cano’s running mate.
KAREN VERNON, VP CANDIDATE, CFB
“For example this weekend we have the Digicell Valentines Classic coming up and this is a tour for the Elite cyclists and it has been so for the past I don’t know how many years but for the past three years Female and Jr. cyclist have been left out of the tour and it’s a one day race for them so you know these concerns have been voiced by Kaya and two years ago she was shutdown. She was told that she was going to be taken off the National Team and all that because she voiced her concerns. This year it is the same thing you know they sent out the race and the Females and Jr.’s were left out again. She sent an email to the Federation asking why this was maybe a week ago and to date no response.”
According to the Vice President of the Cycling Federation, Orson Butler, both female and youth cyclists have been participating in local and international competitions.
ORSON BUTLER, VP, CFB
“If you look at the records for our Jr. and Sr. events; we have Jr. and Sr. events whenever we have any event for the Elites however in 2015 when we started to have tour, we have a tour for everybody. In 2016 we have a tour for the Elite at Valentines and June we had a special tour for Jr. Youth and Female. Then in 2017 we didn’t have a tour for neither the Elite nor Jr. Female. The Jr. had the opportunity to go to Bahamas and then they had an opportunity to also go to Barbados and in this same breath in 2017 the Elite they went to Pan American Championships in Dominica. They also went again in Central American games in Nicaragua where both the Elite Male and Female go so I am not sure what Mr. Cano is referring to about Jr. and female but we have been performing here and we will be performing outside.”