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Nov 29, 2017

St. Martin’s Builds ‘Swift Hall’

Saint Martin De Porres Parish officially opened its new Parish Hall that will serve many different purposes including a sporting gym and event complex. Construction started over a year ago and today, the media was invited for a look at the facility. Namesake Karl Swift, one of the Parish’s founding members, was on hand in person for the grand opening. News Five Andrea Polanco has more:


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Saint Martin De Porres Community has a brand new “city hall”. After almost a year and half of construction, the Saint Martin Parish officially opened the building today name “Swift Hall” Father Matt Ruhl says that there was great need for a space like this in the community.


Matt Ruhl

Father Matt Ruhl, Priest, St. Martin Parish

“There were two basketball hoops here; there was a court here and they got used every day except when it was raining. Our church also had no place to gather outside of church. The children had no place to have their assemblies. So, it only made a lot of sense to make a nice, enclosed but breezy building for all those people to use.”


“Swift Hall” was aptly named after Brother Karl Swift – a Belizean Jesuit who worked for more than thirty years in education in Belize. The now eighty-four-year-old was a founding member of the Parish and resident of the Saint Martin Community.


Karl Swift

Karl Swift, Building Named in His Honor

“I am glad I am alive to see a building that name after me. Usually they build a building after you die; after you die then the building and then they put your name and a lot of time the Government honor you too sometimes when you die. Then over your casket they talk a lot of things how you were good and this and that but then you done died. I thank God I am alive.”


Father Matt Ruhl

“It was like the Hall itself; it made so much sense for the hall to be here. If you go to St John’s you see all those halls; and I thought you know what, Karl Swift has put in as much time as anybody and there is no hall named after him. But he lived here at Saint Martin’s. So, I thought   that is the guy; that is the guy. It was just a common sense choice.”


Karl Swift

“Everybody know me .I was the only one between 1970-85 that was building, and not just building here, building the whole area. I was the only that was taking them to Merida and Mexico City hospital for doctor. I take people to buy a foot if you have one foot; one hand; cataract because we didn’t have hospital then when I say none I mean just the little old hospital that wasn’t doing nothing much for Belizeans. So, I start on my own I start to rent two seventy-seater Batty buses loaded with Belizeans – charged them a small fee and take them to hospital in Merida.”


And much like its namesake, the Swift Hall will be used to serve the school, the parish and the community.


Father Matt Ruhl

“The Hall will be used for civic events like basketball; there will be neighborhood meetings; the police want to use it for the cadets. So, there is a lot of civic use. But then it is also for our schoolchildren, particularly for our school children who are playing basketball and do recess and have different kind of picnics. But it is also for the Parish and for their fundraisers; St Vincent de Paul; project heal which is our extended day programme. So, three primary uses – school, church, neighborhood and finally, the broader community can use it if nobody is using it at that time.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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