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Cyclists call out Cycling Federation of Belize

Two cyclists have written to the President of the Cycling Federation of Belize, Dion Leslie, expressing concerns they have with the management of the Federation and the sport. Through attorney Hector Guerra, cyclist Tariq Cano, on a letter dated February 6, points out to Leslie seven issues he has been having with the Federation. Cano points out that there has been no election for the management committee of the Federation since 2013. He is questioning the validity of the latest constitution which was reportedly passed in November 2017. Cano who has formed a slate for the next elections of the Management Committee says he has been requesting the relevant information since last year. Today, Cano, flanked by his attorney and fellow running mate Karen Vernon, called a press conference to solidify his position on these issues.

Tarique Cano, Cyclist

“I do believe it’s in the federation’s best interest to address these matters because it will put cycling to a standstill. I mean you cannot have no elections that is not even by their constitution they have breached it not once but twice based on the constitution that is supposed to be in place – so then it becomes a legal matter based on what they created in that constitution. So by them not wanting to have an election or by saying that it’s not going to happen it’s just not possible.”

Hector Guerra, Attorney

“The matter of ratifying the constitution passing a new constitution is governed by the old constitution that was in place before the new constitution which was passed in November purportedly before the new constitution was put in place and so what we are in effect saying, what Tarique’s concern is has to do with the minutes of that meeting in November. There has been no minutes forthcoming from the federation and so in the letter that I sent on behalf of Mr. Kano we asked for those minutes.”

Karen Vernon, Vice Presidential Candidate

“As far as the meetings go when it comes to quorum their way of putting it is the managers not cyclist and so in that meeting if it was that standpoint the meeting had met the quorum and it was voted on. The only thing we changed in the constitution was the fact that the districts would all become under one body headed by the Belize City Federation.”

Vernon and Cano say they have not been able to access the financial records of the Federation.

Karen Vernon, VP Candidate

“We got an email this morning with the financial records for 2017 which is, I am sure that they said they would share it with you guys, it’s not a financial record any at all, it doesn’t say anything. I remember asking repeatedly for financial records and to hold an annual general meeting because that should be done on a yearly basis. You should have an annual general meeting with you entire membership, present your financials and present that to the National Sports Council- that hasn’t been done for the past four years.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter

“According to Mr. Butler, he says that the financial records are sent to the emails of the membership. Have you gotten emails with any financial records?”

Tarique Cano, Cyclist:

“To answer that question I myself I have not received any, I have been a member probably since 2005; up to recent since they got in power I have not received personally any emails stating any financial statements or audits of how the money is being spent from the federation. I know like Ms. Karen has said she has requested in the past, they provided something but it’s not a audited financial statements. I believe it is provided and you all will see it but it’s not something that it seems to be accurate or something I would say with a stand point still that this is fact.”

Cano and Vernon are joined by a fellow cyclist, Hao Cheng Lee who is also part of Cano’s slate. Lee has hired the legal services of Adler Waight of Barrow and Williams LLP. He has also written to Leslie regarding similar issues. One such issue is his eligibility to run for the next elections. His attorney points out that there is no legal impediment from him doing so.

Adler Waight, Attorney

“You see the difficulty when dealing with these matters we have found so far is that nothing is in black and white. It seems to be that they have told Mr. Lee this and yourself as well orally. After reviewing what he has said, we don’t want to get into the back and forth of the allegations, but from what we were told there is nothing impeding Mr. Lee from putting forward his candidacy and we stand by that position until we see something to the contrary that is what stands and that is what obtains.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter 

“Mr. Hao Cheng Lee was a member or is he a member since 2017 a member of that federation?”

Adler Waight, Attorney

“My instructions are and I have seen nothing from anywhere else is that yes he is a member, he is a paying member and he is very active in the cycling and sports scene.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News Reporter

“Since 2017?”

Adler Waight, Attorney

“Yes from before that, that as far as we have gotten and to be truthful we haven’t even received responses from these letters and we are currently awaiting official responses. Mr. Kano could more take you on what has come out so far from out letters from Mr. Butler.”