Belizean athlete Kaya Cattouse has been cautioned by the Cycling Federation of Belize, CFB. In a letter sent to Cattouse, President of CFB Dion Leslie tells Cattouse that quote, “In previous situation in which you have written comments on social media regarding your displeasure on decisions of the CFB you have been verbally advised to cease and desist by Executive members”, end of quote. The letter comes after Cattouse posted a Facebook status criticizing the Digicell Valentine Tour. Cattouse posted quote, “I’m starting to wonder now if DIGICELL is partnering with the federation and discriminating against riders based on their age and gender. Seemingly only males above the age of 18 are recognized Digicell customers” end of quote. In the letter, Leslie tells Cattouse that quote, “However your continuance in such behavior has left us with no other alternative but to know inform you in writing that you are in breach of the code of conduct”, end of quote. The CFB then goes on the warn Cattouse that if she does not cease in what she is doing she will be fined and suspended. We spoke to Leslie on this matter.
“We decided to send her a warning letter saying if she continues she might have to face disciplinary measures and we reminded her and we highlighted different portions of the code of conduct under which she was breaching. So no suspension or fine happened. A simple warning letter was sent out.”
“In what way did Ms. Cattouse breach that code of conduct?”
“Well when you look at the code of conduct there are things which you must do, like you must show respect towards the Federation and other cyclists and sponsors and some of the things that were being said and the accusations that were being made weren’t true and so I, as the President and the Federation we have to protect our sponsors and make sure our sponsors get a fair chance. If we don’t get sponsors we can’t have races so we have to protect the sponsors so if something is being said that is making the sponsor look bad or is bringing across as bad, we have to take care of it and address the issue.”
“Sir, how would you respond to someone who might say that Ms. Cattouse is being penalized or threatened to be penalized for speaking her mind or speaking her opinion.”
“She has her opinion but there are ways you can express your opinion that shows respect for others and to the Federation, the sponsors and the other cyclists. There’s nothing like that but accusations were being made that its sexist and we’re discriminating against juniors and its not true.”
“What would you say made her believe that?”
“It was a misinterpretation of a conversation between myself and her. I said something and maybe she interpreted it the wrong way. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the right to speak her mind but you don’t go against and speak against the sponsors and the Federation and try to put a black eye on the sport. Our main goal as the Federation is to see the sport grow, see the sport get bigger and when things like this happen we have to protect the integrity of the sport.”
Cattouse declined a request for an interview.