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Dec 31, 2007

Court order allows banned riders to race; B.C.A. says not so!

Story PictureLike all races, the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic is a pressure filled event as more than a hundred participants are expected to compete for the prizes and the glory. But as local riders prepare to head north, developments in Belize City this afternoon could mean extra drama at the start line. News Five’s Janelle Chanona reports.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Today the four riders banned by the Belize Cycling Association for failure to show up for drug tests, emerged from the Belize Supreme Court triumphant as their attorney successfully obtained an ex-parte injunction against the suspensions.

Tricia Pitts, Santino’s Attorney
“The grounds for our application basically surrounds the rules of natural justice. You know there anti-doping charges alleged against these riders and those are very serious charges, but the riders were never given an opportunity to exculpate themselves, so that was one of the main grounds of our application.”

Janelle Chanona
“Knowing the characters involved in this case what happens next?”

Tricia Pitts, Attorney
“Well, what comes next is an inter partes hearing, where both parties will have their fair day in court. But in the mean time, what happens the parties will be able to ride the race; the four cyclist. And the ruling of the court is an order and Belize Cycling Association, as well as Mr. Gerald Garbutt has to abide by that otherwise he will face contempt charges.”

Santino Castillo
“Although I’m happy that we can ride the race, obviously, I’m still traumatised by the entire series of event, Janelle, and I’m really—I just have to pick up myself and the team to get ready for tomorrow to race now.”

With their court order in tow, Team Santino’s says they’ll be in Corozal town for the start of the Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic.

Santino Castillo
“I firmly believe that The Belize Cycling Association and Mr. Garbutt did everything wrong, they didn’t abide by the rules, I’m abiding by the rules. And you just can’t do things without following the rules, ad hoc, you know you’ve got to follow the rules. Had they followed the rules and we were wrong, then we’re wrong. But they did not follow the rules, you have to follow rules and regulations and Mr. Garbutt as far I’m concerned and for the short while that he has been President, he doesn’t follow rules. We’ll have our day in court as well, this is far from finished clearly.”

“They’ve convicted us guilty and in this country you are innocent until proven guilty and they don’t have a shred of evidence. And I’ll just tell them I‘ll continue to race with them and I’ll continue to beat them.”

While the sponsors insist that the race is still on, tonight there is talk that cyclists supporting the B.C.A.’s suspension may not ride in protest of the court order.

Tricia Pitts
“Cycling is an arduous sport, it takes dedication from both parties and obviously they have to love it to be in it. It needs to be amicable between them for the growth of the sport and these are powerful persons in cycling who will continue the line of cycling, so they need to get along.”

Of note is that up to news time, the protest committee asked to review the Association’s decision had not publicised their ruling in the matter. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

In speaking with Gerald Garbutt this evening, the Cycling President maintained to us that based on his attorney’s advice, the court order has no jurisdiction against the association’s suspension decision. Garbutt told us he will be meeting with this attorney, Dickie Bradley, tonight to decide a course of action before tomorrow. With both sides taking opposing positions, the 2008 edition of the Krem race should be very interesting indeed.

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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