Cyclist, lawyer may consider legal recourse
By Edison Jefford
President of the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) Hector Edwards declined to comment on the Jude Bentley furore ushering in a season of silence on an issue that needs urgent attention at the highest level of his administration.
Kaieteur Sport contacted Edwards yesterday to facilitate an interview with the University of Guyana lecturer on the Bentley problem, but he refrained from any comment citing that he has been misinterpreted too often on the matter.
“I would refrain from any discourse on the matter. I think I have been misinterpreted too often,” Edwards told this writer via telephone. The federation is yet to clarify its position on Bentley apart from consistent request for apologies.
The embattled cyclist had indicated that the last request for an apology came from acting GCF President, Cheryl Thomas last Wednesday. He said that he will not apologise since all his prior attempts were met with discourtesy.
Bentley’s lawyer Ronald Burch-Smith told this newspaper yesterday that while he has not received an instruction from his client to seek legal recourse, the option is certainly being considered given the GCF silence on the issue.
“Clearly the federation has not said why they are refusing to license Bentley. You would have thought that a serious sport association would rush to clarify its policies, but the silence is utterly bewildering,” Burch-Smith indicated.
The Disciplinary Committee of the Guyana Cycling Federation met on May 23 and 30 in 2006 to penalise Bentley and Warren McKay after reported indiscipline on their way to, and in Australia for the Commonwealth Games.
McKay and Bentley were both guilty of similar infractions but McKay received a lighter sentence: McKay was suspended for six months and fined $10,000, while his counterpart was suspended for one year and fined $30,000.
In the minutes of the May 30, 2006 meeting, the Disciplinary Committee reported that the athletes were reprimanded according to the International Cycling Federation’s Discipline and Procedures–Forms of Infringement rules.
McKay paid his fine, served his sentence and is competitively riding to this date. Bentley, on the other hand, is still serving his sentence despite known attempts to pay his fine and return to competitive cycling in Guyana.
It is three years now since Bentley has not competed here and his attempts at two separate events earlier this year were both met with disdain. He is being accused of creating fracas among cyclist and blocking one of the races.
He has denied the accusations stating that the cyclists were protesting against the current sub-standard state of local cycling. Kaieteur Sport learnt from its reporter who was at that event that Bentley was not the cause of the blockade.
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