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Feb 8, 2023

B.E.B.L. Saga Continues; Team Owners Send Message to Commissioner

Today, a virtual press conference was called by the owners of five of the eight basketball teams competing in the Belize Elite Basketball League to share their take on the issue surrounding basketball athlete Kirk Smith Junior and the resignation en masse of the appeals tribunal. It began with Smith Junior reportedly putting his signature on two contracts – first with the Belize City Defenders and then with Benny’s Belize Hurricanes. The bylaws of the league clearly state that a player who signs two contracts is suspended for a year or if one of the teams is willing to release its contract, then the athlete is allowed to play. The matter ended up before the Commissioner of the B.E.B.L., Chris McGann a decision was made, but the tribunal overturned that ruling following an appeal by Hurricanes Management. It remains unresolved and on Tuesday, the team owners wrote to the McGann. Immediate past commissioner, Karim Juan, who is currently with the Cayo Western Ballaz team, shares the contents of that letter.


Karim Juan

Karim Juan, Immediate Past Commissioner, B.E.B.L.

“After reviewing all the facts presented to us and having satisfied ourselves of those facts, the Belmopan Red Taigaz, Cayo Western Ballaz, Griga Dream Ballaz, Orange Walk Running Rebels and Belize City Defenders have called this press conference to deliver the complete story of Kirk Smith Juniors having signed two contracts. Point number one, the player did indeed sign two contracts – first with the Belize City Defenders and later with the Belize Hurricanes. This fact has been admitted to by the player first to the commissioner and then to the appeal’s body. The Belize City Defenders received the contract with the contract with the player’s signature on twenty-sixth December 2022 along with pictures of the player signing. Point two, when the matter was first brought to the attention of the BEBL commissioner; he requested from the Defenders that they provide proof that the contract with the player’s signature had been transmitted to them either directly from the player or an authorized representative of the player. Using the two contracts in his possession and after a telephone conversation with the player and a conference call with both teams, the commissioner issued a ruling on January eighteenth, 2023 which suspended the player for a period of one year. The commissioners ruling was appealed by the Belize Hurricanes and put before an appeal’s body. In a written ruling delivered on February second, 2023, the appeal’s body erroneously overturned the player’s suspension; notwithstanding the fact that the appeal’s body written ruling contains contradictions and faulty determinations that also caught our attention. On a conference call held on Friday, February third 2023, seven of eight BEBL teams concurred that there had been a miscarriage of justice and given admissions by the commissioner’s office to evidence tampering, the judgement of the appeal’s body was therefore flawed and could not stand. The original decision by the commissioner to suspend the player would stand.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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