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Aug 17, 2009

Team Belize wins silver and gets heroes welcome

Story PictureBy now you probably know two things about the COCABA championship for men held in Cancun, Mexico last week: one, Team Belizean Heritage finished second and two, Team Mexico won a squeaker after a questionable flagrant foul was called with the score tied and only twenty seconds left on the game clock. For many people it was just the proverbial nail in the coffin after our team faced obstacles all week-long including questions of player eligibility and the pressure of needing daily permission to proceed in the tournament after each win. But every dark cloud has a silver lining and on Saturday afternoon, members of Team Belizean Heritage were given a hero’s welcome unrivaled in Belize’s sporting history.

[Motorcade through city streets…]

Anthony Michael, Executive Director, National Sports Council
“Those guys played their hearts out. They played for Belize, they played for us, they played for you and they made us proud. Congratulations to our national heroes.

Kevin Siroki, Head Coach, Belizean Heritage
“Every one of those players showed true Belizean blood and true Belizean pride and I appreciate every one of them. We’re fourteen strong and we’re gonna get better and next year we’re gonna show everybody what Belize is made of and we’re gonna be a power in the whole region. And you guys out there, the fans, the players and everybody out there I just want to thank you all. Keep supporting us and keep doing our best. Thank you very much.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“These guys have really given us, I think a phenomenal lift. It was clear that the entire nation was rooting for the team; felt this overwhelming sense of pride in being Belizean, in seeing citizens of talent who live in Belize and who live abroad coming together for the greater glory of our country… absolutely fantastic, unforgettable experience. It was more than necessary for me to come and signal the pride and the gratitude that I’m sure all Belizeans feel.”

William Neal
“Now PM, you spoke about a very important promise to boost the basketball program in Belize, how serious are you about that?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Serious, I’ve already—the president of the C.D.B. was here coincidentally on Thursday and I raised it with him. He’s assured me that it’s the kind of thing they are prepared to do. So we are in the process now of trying to put together a list of projects. C.D.B. is ramping up its funding and this will be a priority on that list of projects we will submit to them. It’s not going to happen in six months, we—for example, they have committed to funding the Kendal Bridge and you see how long that’s taking. These processes are a little bit complex but we have this in principle indication from them that it’s a yes so I am sure that it will work out. I’ve also spoke with the Venezuelans. A new Charge D’Affaires from Venezuela came to pay a courtesy visit to me on Friday and I raised it with him. The next Petro-Caribe summit is supposed to be held here in Belize. I will take that opportunity to push it with the president of Venezuela so that we have two irons in the fire at the same time and I’m sure that there will be other avenues to be explored as well. It is a matter of who would be able to do it quickest for us but I am absolutely determined that it will get done.”

Later in our newscast, sportscaster James Adderley will bring a complete play by play of Friday’s basketball action from Cancun’s Benito Juarez Poliforum, in Sports Monday.

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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