Two former Cayman Islands national team players are bidding to replace disgraced football chief Jeffrey Webb as the islands’ football association hosts its first contested presidential election in more than 20 years.
Alfredo Whittaker, who also played professionally as a goalkeeper in Costa Rica, and Lee Ramoon, the former Cayman national team captain, are the two candidates in Saturday’s election.
Renard Moxam, who was thwarted in a previous attempt to challenge Bruce Blake for the first vice president role, has opted not to run.
Webb, who served as the association’s president for more than two decades, was officially terminated in December last year after pleading guilty to involvement in racketeering and bribery schemes at world football’s governing body, FIFA.
Both Mr. Ramoon and Mr. Whittaker told the Compass Thursday they would seek to offer a change from the old regime and bring in a new era of transparency at the association.
Mr. Whittaker said, “Just by having elections we are making a step forward. We haven’t had an election for president in 20-something years. The clubs will have the opportunity to express how they really feel who can take CIFA to a different standard.”
He has circulated a manifesto to the member clubs with the introductory comment, “The secrecy and lack of answers have to come to an end. This association is yours, is mine, is the country’s and as such I am willing to answer for every move, every penny and every question.”
Mr. Ramoon said he hoped the clubs would look at what’s on the agenda and choose the best person to move football forward.
As a former national player and a youth coach, he believes he has the credentials to lift the level of the game.
“We need to take stock and go back to the grassroots, develop our youth programs and try to get players into college on scholarships” he said.
Mr. Ramoon, who works for government in the Treasury Department and serves as deputy chairman on the Central Tenders Committee, said he had the expertise to improve the association’s transparency and accountability – issues which have dogged the previous regime.
He will also seek to repair the association’s relationship with government, which pulled its funding after expressing concerns about a lack of change in the aftermath of Webb’s arrest.
Mr. Whittaker, who was previously head of the referees department at CONCACAF, said whoever is elected needs to restore credibility to the association and win the support of sponsors and buy-in from the clubs.
He said he could work with the existing Executive Committee, which still includes several people who served under Webb, but added, anyone who is not “pulling their weight” should step aside. He acknowledged that there are those who “do not believe” in the executive committee, but said the association has to find a way to move forward under new leadership.
He added, “I am not quite a new face. I have been involved in football for 22 years as a player, an administrator and a referee. I have never been on the Executive Committee. I have taken this challenge, not for something personal, but because I think I am in a position where … I can help Cayman football come out of this [crisis] real quick.”
CIFA has made no official announcements about the candidates for its election since nominations closed last Friday, and acting president Bruce Blake did not respond to requests for information this week. The extraordinary congress to elect Webb’s successor is scheduled for 11 a.m. at George Town Town Hall on Saturday, according to the candidates.