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Aug 16, 2017

The Lights are On at Marion Jones; Athletes Will Make it their Home

Wednesday night saw the launch of lighting fixtures for what is expected to be the crown jewel of Belize’s sporting facilities, the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. The Mexican Agency for International Development and Cooperation, AMEXCID, has become a key partner in advancing the development of the stadium to represent more sporting disciplines, with the building of a training facility for basketball and volleyball joining the athletics and cycling tracks as well as a football field. Sports Minister Patrick Faber says it is time to put aside the past issues and look forward to a brighter future. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has more.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Marion Jones Sporting Complex is easily the most delayed development project ever to be undertaken by the Government of Belize.  With construction of the multimillion dollar facility finally completed, the stadium was illuminated on Tuesday night before an audience of government officials, including Mexican Ambassador Agustin Garcia-Lopez Loaeza, young athletes and sports enthusiasts.  Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber was on hand for the inauguration.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Sports

“The improvements are tremendous.  You could now see this stadium shaping up and I’m not going to get into what happened in the past or what didn’t happen.  The thing is that we are moving forward, I think the developments have been tremendous.  The Mexicans have said that they want to be a part of helping us rejuvenate sporting facilities in Belize.  The contribution for them to the Marion Jones has been the lighting system and they’ve indicated that they will, in fact the monies have already been approved, they had a groundbreaking sometime ago and we had some difficulty for the construction of a covered training facility that will not be at the federation approved level, the international federation level, but will be there for the service of all Belizeans who are interested in the sporting disciplines of basketball and volleyball.”

 

The Mexican Agency for International Development and Cooperation, AMEXCID, has been instrumental in assisting the National Sports Council with this endeavor.

 

Agustin Garcia-Lopez Loaeza

Agustin Garcia-Lopez Loaeza, Executive Director, AMEXCID

“This is one of the infrastructure projects that we have.  As you know, we have the so-called Yucatan Fund and this Yucatan Fund gave ten million Belize dollars for this project.  The first stage of the project is just giving light to the stadium and we are looking at it now, we are giving music and light today to this wonderful stadium and the idea is to have a second phase of this project which will be the Mexican Pavilion.  And just to have the acknowledgment that football is not the only sport, sometimes the Mexicans think it is, the Mexican Pavilion will be able to build these covered facilities for basketball and volleyball.  The idea, of course, is that sports is part of a healthy community for youth, but also for adults like me that love sports.  It is wonderful to go and be able to have teamwork.”

 

While the lighting of the Marion Jones Sporting Complex is only the first part of a ten-million dollar comprehensive infrastructure cooperation project for Belize which is financed by the Mexican government.

 

Patrick Faber

“The Ambassador Garcia-Lopez who was here from the Mexican Development Cooperation initiative, made it clear, along with myself last night, to the UNOPS people, the UNOPS is an arm of the United Nations for Project executions.  They were the ones who the Mexicans contracted to make sure that we get value for the ten million dollars that they have invested in this initiative and so they are the ones who are overseeing, not the Government of Belize and not the National Sports Council, they are the ones who are overseeing the works that are to come under this initiative.”

 

The building of these recreational facilities allows for the creation of public spaces for Belizeans, in an effort to strengthen social integration, as well as promoting social and economic development in the country. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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