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Dec 20, 2018

Light and Peace Blocked from Competing in the NEBL

Hundreds of Belize City youths have received some sort of professional training by the Light and Peace Basketball Foundation. The foundation, for more than a decade, has been hosting basketball tournaments with the aim of developing the sport in the country as well as the players. The foundation under the leadership of Roscoe Rhys and Rupert Brown has for years, been trying put forward a semi-pro basketball team to join the National Elite Basketball League. Rhys initially got the go-ahead from the league, but later was told that it would not be possible for several reasons, which they find unjust. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo has the story.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

For more than ten years, the Light and Peace Basketball Foundation has been molding hundreds of young men through the sport of basketball. For years, the Foundation has been holding tournaments as a way to keep the youths involved in the sport. It has been a long time dream for founders Roscoe Rhys and Rupert Brown to see the Light and Peace Basketball Foundation join the National Elite Basketball League.

 

Roscoe Rhys

Roscoe Rhys, President, Light & Peace Basketball Foundation

“We reach a point in 2011 where the League wrote us a letter on October eleventh stating that after five years the League will start to see expansion and more teams will be allowed from a district as well from Belize City. That October eleventh letter stated that the Light and Peace Basketball Foundation has been invited to join the NEBL for the 2019 season.”

 

Sponsorship was sought both locally and overseas. Final preparations were made for the Belize Bank Bulldogs Basketball Club to join the NEBL via the foundation. But the bad news was delivered on a letter dated September fifteen, 2018.

 

Roscoe Rhys

“Stating that the Light and Peace Basketball Foundation won’t be able to field a team this season until after the 2019  season based on allegations or based on the fact that Belize City does not have enough fan base for more than two city teams and financial viability.”

 

But for Rhys and Brown the reasons given are unjust, leading them to believe that it is personal.

 

Rupert Brown

Rupert Brown, Vice President, Light & Peace Basketball Foundation

“Based on the fact that we have already fulfilled all the requirements. We’ve already done what they asked us to do. We were fully prepared.  As soon as they started the give us the runaround, then the first thing that happened is that players started to work with the other teams because we were uncertain of our status in the league.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“You feel it’s personal?”

 

Rupert Brown

“Well, I don’t want to say that, but anyone with eyes can see. It has to be personal. I don’t have problems with any of the managers or any of the people in charge of the league. So I don’t know what their issue is with us but we would like to know.”

 

In the letter dated September fifteen, 2018 the league’s Commissioner Karim Juan tells Rhys that Light and Peace Basketball Foundation has been invited to join the NEBL for the 2019 season but since that’s not happening anymore, Rhys and Brown want the NEBL to keep their word and allow Light and Peace Basketball Foundation be part of the league for the 2020 season.

 

Rupert Brown

“We really want to have them to make it known to the public that we are not going to be fielding a team in the 2019 but we would love for them to make it publicly known that we are welcome to field a team in the next season.”

 

Roscoe Rhys

“The Commissioner, the President of the basketball federation and the whole NEBL is aware of the situation. It is a situation that is pretty much being kept behind close down; they don’t want us to come publicly to the media but we can’t stand for it no more.”

 

Reporting for News Five I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

We sought comment from the league’s Commissioner Karim Juan, but up to news time none has been forthcoming.

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