If it were only that he was a two-time Cross Country champion or KREM Classic champion, then Ernest “Jawmeighan” Meighan would have done enough to be forever remembered by Belizeans. But he did far more than that, and in such greater style that he transformed himself from simply great to legendary. After Jawmeighn was shot and killed this weekend, the man most closely associated with Jawmeighan in his glory days, promoter of the Santino’s Cycling Team, Hon. Santiago “Santino” Castillo, spoke fondly of the deceased.
“Well, I’ll be very honest with you. That’s the part I will enjoy speaking about the most. Jawmeighan is one of the few talents in Belize. Probably Jawmeighan and Marlon Castillo, had they been drafted by a professional team when they were 18 years old, they could have both made it to the Tour de France. I am so serious about that statement. Those are the two talents that I believe could have made it internationally. Jawmeighan, as it is, stayed and competed in Belize and won every single race there is in Belize. You can’t mention a race that Jawmeighan did not win. From the Krem Classic to the Cross Country, Belmopan Classic, there is not a race that Jawmeighan did not win. At one time they had Saturday races. Jawmeighan wan nine in a row, nine Saturday races in a row. He would jump out and run from start to finish. That young man was talented. Jawmeighan could train two times, three times, a week, and still come out there and hurt people.”
We gather than Hon. Castillo could have spent all day telling Ernest Meighan stories, as many who knew him can. But we will share one of his fondest memories, the finish of the 2001 Cross Country Cycling Classic.
[Paraphrased] “ Well, let me tellyou about Jawmeighan. He has a whole bunch of nicknames that the public, probably, doesn’t even know about. First of all they use to call him ‘Baawee’. Where did that come from? That came from the ambulance. Anytime you hear the ambulance ‘wee-baawee-baawee’, he is behind the ambulance, and no one else was around. So they gave him that name ‘Baawee.’ They use to call him ‘Cleks Cleks’, because when he change the gear you hear ‘clek-clek” – Jawmeighan gone. By the time you look around Jawmeighan is gone. They called him the ‘Golden Bwoy.’ They called him “Bridget,” “Soloman.” The amount of nicknames he had was unbelievable.
He won the two cross countries, 1997 which I will give due respect for. He won that and at that time he was riding for BELCHI, it was right after that I drafted him. In 2001 he won under the Santino’s banner when the very powerful Jose Robles, Jawmeighan and Andrew Smiling got away around Cheers, and ran all the way to Belize just the three of them, and Jawmeighan cross the line first. The first words out of his mouth, in fact, the only two times I’ve cried for Jawmeighan was when he died yesterday, and when he cross the line in 2001, he hollered ‘Weh mi boss deh? Weh mi chief deh?’ and he went straight to me and he hug me up and said ‘Dis da fi yuh’, and tears just came out of my eyes. He was unparalleled when it came to the cycling world, and every single cyclist out there knows it.
Castillo closed with this summary of the man, the cyclist, the legend who evolved from sprinter to all-around performer.
[Paraphrased] “When Jawmeighan first started he was a sprinter. Jawmeighan ended up being what you’d call the complete package. He could sprint. he could pace, he could time trial, and he could climb. He ended up being the complete package. First he could only sprint. He was known as a middle distance rider. As a matter of fact, everybody used to say, ‘ Jawmeighan would never win the cross Country, only good for hundred miles, and in 1997 he proved them wrong, by winning the Cross Country. Soon thereafter he became what we call ‘the complete package’ inside him.”