Olympic Committee holds rare election. On Saturday at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, the Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association, Belize’s National Olympic Committee affiliated to the International Olympic Committee, called a special meeting. It was also a historic meeting, because the torch was passed from founding member Edward “Ned” Pitts to a new president, Bowen and Bowen executive Hilly Martinez. Pitts is the longest-serving head of a sporting organization in Belize – he was in charge of the Olympic body for an astonishing forty-two years and continues as President Emeritus by special motion at Saturday’s meeting. But he is now in declining health, and decided to step down. Martinez has been on the executive, in the role of secretary and then vice-president, for 39 years and now moves up to president. His vice-president is another long-time stalwart, Owen “Sonny” Meighan, while Yolanda Fonseca is secretary. The executive is rounded by Josephine Flowers as assistant secretary and Giovanni Alamilla as treasurer, with trustee members being Herman Pastor, Allan Sharp and Arturo “Tux” Vasquez. Speaking with reporters, Martinez said that Flowers, Alamilla, Pastor, Sharp and Vasquez represent the “new blood” of Olympism in Belize, and that the Association, which controls funding for Belize’s 30 sporting federations from football to cycling to table tennis, looks to move into a new era of transparency and accountability by holding regular elections and producing audited financial statements. Martinez will serve until the next election is due in 2015; by law Olympic federations must hold elections by June of the year following the Summer Olympic Games, scheduled for 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. According to Martinez he will be seeking funding for a sports facility dedicated to Olympic sports and pledged to more greatly assist local sporting federations.