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Feb 22, 2018

Area Rep and Sports Council Member Clash over Buttonwood Bay Park

Caribbean Shores area representative Kareem Musa, and fellow attorney and member of the National Sports Council Orson J. Elrington, are front and center of an odd dispute over the basketball court at the Buttonwood Bay Park. Musa claims that the Belize City Council has neglected the park for years and he put in several thousand of his own money to install backboards and rims for the court, as well as put in lights and upgrade the bleachers. But on Wednesday, employees of the National Sports Council removed the backboards and rims which Elrington, who is also U.D.P. caretaker for the division, claims are broken. He says they will be replaced in time for the Police Basketball Cup games later this week. But is it all necessary? News Five’s Aaron Humes has both sides in the following report.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

“Desperate, petty and wasteful.” That is area representative Kareem Musa’s Facebook summary of the actions of employees of the National Sports Council directed by member O.J. Elrington earlier today.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Area Rep., Caribbean Shores

“Some two years ago we had put in some backboards, and then had them actually replaced with fiberglass, excellent quality backboards, about six or so months ago. They were in perfect, mint condition. It has the “Kings of the Park” logo, the same as the ones at Lopez Mateos Park. It’s something that my team really believes in – my team believes in our youth. So we put in the backboards, we fixed up the bleachers, we put in the lights out here at the Buttonwood Bay Park – only to find out this morning, one, two weeks before a municipal election, the man O.J. Elrington comes out here with some people he says are from the City Council to take down these backboards. Mind you, they’ve done nothing for the last twelve years, to come and take down these perfectly good backboards and god knows what they did with them. This is nothing short of political vandalism; this is theft of public property. They are not spiting me, you know; they are spiting the people of the community who enjoy and who love this park and who come here – they will come here this evening to find there are no backboards. So it’s very disappointing that somebody of his profession – because he’s an attorney, I think he is employed at the Ministry of National Security – now look at the issues, look at the irony of all this. Last night, a young man was gunned down; an eleven, twelve year old was gunned down. These things are for the youth. What are the U.D.P. thinking? Are they even in their right mind? Hubris is setting in. It is time for them to go; this is ridiculous.”

 

But this afternoon it went from the ridiculous to the sublime when, as we were finishing up with speaking to Musa, Elrington drove up in his late-model SUV and quickly got into a confrontation with Musa and two of his supporters, including Paul “Chicken Dread” Ferguson. Elrington accuses Ferguson – as captured on his own video posted on Facebook – of verbally threatening the N.S.C. employees, which brought him to the area. He insists that the park is under the jurisdiction of the City Council and they and the Sports Council decided to come in and replace the backboards and rims, the latter of which players said was broken.

 

Orson Elrington

Orson Elrington, National Sports Council

“This week, this park became a priority, because this weekend we are hosting an event at this park. What we are doing, is renovating every single park that is part of the tournament – not only those parks but every single park outside of that. So the young men who play at this park alerted us to the fact that the rims were broken and we needed to fix them. At the same time we were replacing – we said we would do every single thing and renovate the entire park at the same time. Now first and foremost, they are claiming that we are removing the backboards because it’s political signage; first and foremost, it was illegal for them to place it there in the first place. But that was not why we were replacing them; we were replacing them because it is something that we are doing across the country.”

 

But Musa told us no such explanation was provided.

 

Kareem Musa

“We are to work together, we are to find solutions for the people not destroy – that is all they are good at; destroying; and simply because this is a project that came from a P.U.P. area representative, they can’t handle that? They need to man up or roll out!”

 

Aaron Humes

“I gather they gave no explanation as for why the backboards would need to be taken down; as you said, it’s something you put up, not them.”

 

Kareem Musa

“All I heard was a host of bad words coming out of his mouth, no explanation as to why; like I said, he cannot say anything was wrong with the backboards. He comes to play at the same basketball too with the same guys who love the backboards, and he cannot come up with a reason why, so he took them down.”

 

So we pressed Elrington on the necessity of removing backboards and rims that appeared to have little wear and tear, but he insisted that it is part of the overall revamping effort. As for continued maintenance of the park, Elrington says that’s the Council’s job, not Musa’s.

 

Aaron Humes

“As I understand it, these backboards and rims have been here for at least six months; according to Mr. Musa, he paid for them out of his own pocket. This initiative that you spoke about is what, two; three weeks ago I think you said?”

 

Orson Elrington, National Sports Council

“No, we have been replacing backboards and rims for the past year.”

 

Aaron Humes

“So it’s only coincidental that you got out here…”

 

Orson Elrington

“Because I explained to you, that we have a tournament this weekend at this park. We did the same thing in Jane Usher [Boulevard] last weekend; we didn’t have any problems with anybody in Jane Usher because the tournament was hosted in Jane Usher last weekend. Wherever the tournament is going to be next weekend, we will do the same thing at the next park next weekend, wherever. The urgency is because we are using those facilities for the citywide tournament, and so we will renovate and rehabilitate all the parks and playgrounds where the tournament is being hosted.”

 

Aaron Humes

“So where are these backboards that were taken down?”

 

Orson Elrington

“The Sports Council has it and they will deliver it to Musa and Balderamos or wherever he wants them delivered.”

 

Aaron Humes

“But if somebody wants to come practice on the court tonight…”

 

Orson Elrington

“The rims were broken and they could not be used anyway. I will give you the text message where the organizers of the event reminded us that the rims needed to be replaced in this facility. They were not being used anyway because they were broken.  If they want to adopt any park, they can go and seek the permission of the City Council; anything they want to do, they can go and seek the permission of the City Council if it’s a City Council park. They cannot act arbitrarily and act as though they are above the law.”

 

Aaron Humes

“Even though it’s in his division?”

 

Orson Elrington

“No. There is a saying in law – not even the king himself is above the law. You must apply yourself to the law – you are not a law [unto yourself]. He is a lawyer; he should know this. You are not above the law, you cannot supersede the law, you must obey the law.”

 

The rain put an end to all conversation but this is one dispute that hopefully gets resolved fast. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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1 Response for “Area Rep and Sports Council Member Clash over Buttonwood Bay Park”

  1. Timber says:

    You’re a BOLD FACE LIAR O.J. I try to be impartial but you, even though you’re a relative, and your party are DESPICABLE. I’VE said before, your aunts and grand aunts in Brooklyn, along with some of your cousins, cringe when they hear about you and some of the things the two who are in government do. Ms. Eleanor only shakes her head because she’s a woman of integrity. Two things which will prove that you’re a boldface liar. We, along with LaSalle Arnold, were one of the first to do a fiber glass backboard and breakaway rims in Belize, period. One was placed right in the back of Wesley lower and middle school yard, and taken down after they expanded the school. The second sets were placed at St, Ignatius school yard. As a matter of fact, one is still up there today, the one towards the far end of the court, looking left when you enter the school yard. These were built right in the workshop of the late Mr. Young besides Solis ice cream shop, where Peppers (the food stand) now is. We, as younger kids, pooled our money together and bought the materials and Earl, Mr. Young’s son, had the skills to make the backboards with help for a few and guidance from his father. You know when these backboards were built O. J.? In the 1980′s. Rebuttal number two; in December, I visited Belize and played at that park and actually, kids were playing out there late into the night up to when we left Belize in January. The thing about the likes of you, O. J., and your political party, you all prey on the ignorance and illiteracy of the uninformed, misguided, and uneducated. I’ve spoken to a close family friend and have publicly called him out several times , over his compromise of his integrity it seems,to get into power and place his kids in position (Steve Duncan). I’ve warned him publicly that when that ship sinks, he will tarnish everything he’s worked so hard to attain. I will call him out again on that deal at ARCHIES ON BOULEVARD. Let him make the public aware what the bank did with it and who got it.. Interesting, no wonder he has to tow the line.(Correct me if I’m wrong on that last piece of information). It’s time for this party to go. I hope PUP has their shit together because I have no love for some of them because I know their intentions, including the one tasked with being campaign manager for the Belize City Council Team. He has no charisma, he can’t speak, he cannot manage, and anyone who knew his family could attest to the fact that his mother flew her red and white front, left and center during those years. I digress.

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