Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden says there will be no peace deal between government and the Cayman Islands Football Association until the entire executive committee has put itself up for free and fair elections.
Minister Bodden welcomed the news that former national team captain Lee Ramoon has been appointed to replace disgraced Jeffrey Webb at the helm of the local game.
He expressed confidence in Mr. Ramoon, saying his appointment is an important step forward.
But he said simply changing the leader did not necessarily change the equation. To press the point, there is no specific allocation for CIFA in the budget.
Government withdrew its annual funding of approximately $130,000 a year several months after Webb’s arrest amid a row over CIFA’s last internal elections.
At that time, Mr. Bodden called for the association to hold a new vote for all six elected posts on its nine-member executive council. He stood by that request this week, following Mr. Ramoon’s appointment. There are three elected members still sitting on CIFA’s leadership council who worked under Webb as president. They are first vice president Bruce Blake, Peter Campbell and Mark Campbell.
Also on the committee are Wendy Fisher, who was elected as deputy general secretary on Saturday, and treasurer Armando Ebanks, who was elected in August to the role vacated by Canover Watson, who was jailed in February in a different corruption probe.
Mr. Bodden said he was “very happy” with the election results.
“I wish to offer hearty congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Lee Ramoon, a man I know well, who means well, and is very able to do the job, given the right tools and support.
“I am looking forward to meeting with him soon to discuss the way forward. At the moment, there is no specific allocation in the new budget and I wish to state clearly that funding will not resume until we have a new administration.
“Putting someone credible into the office of president, albeit a step in the right direction, is not sufficient for the government to resume its funding to CIFA.”
CIFA’s ability to run the sport has been hampered since Webb’s arrest and guilty plea, with government and international governing body FIFA withdrawing some funding. The ability to attract new corporate sponsors is an added concern in the current climate.
Mr. Bodden said government continues to support the sport of football through contributions to clubs, players and programs, as well as youth tournaments, but was not ready to resume financing CIFA.
“Knowing Lee Ramoon the way I do, I am sure he understands this as good or even better than me, being a responsible, senior, long-term civil servant and economist who works in the Treasury Department of this country,” he added. “We look forward to the day when CIFA gets its house in order and we can resume our contributions to facilitate the hiring of a much needed technical director for this focus sport, which has a large number of young persons involved.”