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Sep 9, 2013

Media tour of twenty-million dollar Marion Jones Stadium

Construction of a world class facility to be called the Marion Jones Sporting Complex commenced in 2004. Two political terms and several re-incarnations later, the complex is still underway. The media has, with good reason, grown very skeptical and cynical whenever this facility is mentioned. There was a proclamation last week that it would be, if not complete, at least available for limited use by the end of the year. Today, Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth granted a tour of the multimillion dollar facility showing off impressive thirteen million dollar grandstand with a panoramic view of the sea. Mike Rudon was there and has this report.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This semi-finished sporting complex is named for the Belizean/American sports sensation who donated an initial amount of money for its construction…then took back that money when no construction ever took place. Today, the grounds of the Marion Jones Sporting Complex lie in the shadow of a towering structure which, as impressive as it is, seems to be far from complete.

 

Herman Longsworth

Herman Longsworth, Minister of Sports

“We are, I would say in terms of the structural works, about eighty-five percent complete in terms of the structural works. As you can see from coming up from downstairs we’ve done a lot of the finishes as well. We’ve almost plastered everything downstairs and as soon as we clear out we’ll start with the floor works and that sort of thing. The emphasis for us is to complete the public areas first. We do all the public areas and then try to get the facility to a point where we can start to use it. And then we continue finishing all the other things that need to be finished.”

 

And to be fair to all concerned, the monumental five-story structure is very striking and modern, fitted with elevators and every amenity and luxury a sporting audience could imagine, including press areas and VIP boxes overlooking the sea.

 

Herman Longsworth

“This building is everything. It is a grandstand facility. It’s similar to what, on a much smaller scale, you would see in much bigger countries where everything is here. Just below us are the concession areas where all the shops and everything will be for the spectators to buy whatever they want to buy. We have below, storage facilities for all the sporting equipment, we have locker rooms, referee rooms, we have a gym, we have offices for the National Sports Council because we want to bring the National Sports Council here and have them live here. So all that…it’s a one stop shop! Everything is here.”

 

Right below this amazing structure is the area dedicated to sports, for which the complex is also named.

 

Herman Longsworth

“What you see here is the FIFA standard football field immediately on the ground here below us. You can see the four hundred meter track over in the distance there…and you can see the cycle track on the ground here. Over to the right you can see the beach volleyball facility that we’ve built and used before.”

 

The grandstand is costing almost fourteen million dollars of about twenty million dollars which is the total cost anticipated when the facility is complete. That doesn’t include the fence, which was budgeted to cost one point eight million dollars.

 

Reporter

“If somebody was to say you know what, three-quarters of the money was spent on bleachers, the public area and the fence, and a small portion of the money was spent on the actual sporting out there…because I can tell you that coming out here…love the view, love this building and everything, but then there’s only a track, and there’s not much to see out there in terms of sporting…”

 

Herman Longsworth

“But when you say only a track…that is a world class track. That is not just some track. A good bit of money has gone into that, so that all the track and field athletes will have a world class facility to be able to use. That football field is going to be a FIFA standard football field. Again, it’s not some little facility. This is a world-class facility that we’re building here, and the athletes will have access to that. That is what we’re doing for the athletes. But we also have to take care of the spectators; we have to take care of the people that will make the sport happen. They will come and spend their money to ensure that the athletes can continue to go. That’s how it works…that’s how it works.”

 

And for it to work, people have to start making use of the facility. Longsworth says he is still hoping for the end of the year.

 

Herman Longsworth

“We are concentrating on ensuring that the public areas are complete. When the public areas are complete, we can open the facility to the public, and that is my concentration right now. That is what all this work is toward. We will finish the other areas that aren’t necessarily public areas after we have ensured that we cover all the public areas and have it ready for use.”

 

Longsworth has big dreams for the addition of other sporting areas to the complex, including an Olympic size swimming pool and a racquetball court. He says that he has already received tentative funding for those plans. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Media tour of twenty-million dollar Marion Jones Stadium”

  1. Concern says:

    TWENTY MILLION, TWENTY MILLION, TWENTY MILLION. Having said it three times allow us to think, and no longer imagine how corrupt our people have become. If somebody was to say you, know what, three-quarters of the money was spent on bleachers, the public area and the fence, and a small portion of the money was spent on the actual sporting out there…BECAUSE I CAN TELL YOU COMING OUT HERE THERE IS VERY LITTLE TO SEE FOR TWENTY
    M I L L I O N $$$$$$

  2. karim says:

    Take a look at the pictures above to see what $20,000,000.00 LOOK LIKE folks. What will it take two hundred million $$$ ‘s to build a stadium or to turn the politicians into millionaires?

  3. guerra says:

    No amount of explaining can convince us that the money was spent on that stadium. WHY ARN’T ALL THESE GUYS IN JAIL? LOL

  4. Eye in the Sky says:

    Only in Belize is a stadium named after a Cheat and Felon.

    The stadium should be re-named after on of our honest football heroes instead.

  5. Rod says:

    I agree with eye in the sky we don’t want a cheaters name on anything except for next to the other cheater judas their two names will go down in history as two thieves.

  6. javier says:

    Belizeans its time to stop pointing fingers we must move forward the up keep of such a stadium will require professionalism lets learn to live as one after all lets do for our country and not what our country can do for us pup or udp lets move forward weve been in the dark too long we have great athletes lets learn to show the wworld we can be and work as a team .God bless Belize

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