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Basketball Federation Opposes Private Concession of the Civic

The Civic is seeing an extraordinary transformation with an investment of millions of dollars.  It is a facility that will undoubtedly attract numerous events and audiences.  There seems to be one hiccup foreseen once the construction is completed and the facility becomes functional; that is, the management of the structure.  Recently, the Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL) had announced that they would be seeking private persons or entity to oversee the management of the facility once it is completed.  It is a move that the Belize Basketball Federation (BBF) is not happy with.  As a matter of fact, they wrote to the Prime Minister of Belize expressing this concern, saying that the private sector concession of the civic will economically weaken the sporting organizations as they would not have open access to train and entertain matches but would rather have to incur financial costs to do so despite it being a public facility.  The 3-page letter to the Prime Minister went on to note, quote, “This is a timely and critical issue for the BBF as we are now entering the peak of the international competition cycle for basketball and it is our intention to field national teams in the upcoming Central American Games in December of this year, the Commonwealth Games in April next year and the Central American & Caribbean Games in August next year. In addition to this, there is now a new FIBA Olympic qualifying competition format which commences in November this year and kicks into full swing from 2018 onwards. This will feature home and away series for regional play thereby making it mandatory for each country to host games.”  End of quote.  The BBF went on to note that should the Government proceed in this fashion, it would make Belize the only country in the region to have a publicly owned facility leased to private sector parties for management.  The BBF did commend the Government on the state of the art facility but added that the sporting community as a prime stakeholder has not yet been consulted on this matter and it is their hope that this is not a done deal and further consideration would be had on the matter.  The BBF did suggest that management of the facility be shared under a single entity comprised of the National Sports Council on one hand, and an umbrella grouping of national sporting federations.  The letter is dated August 3, 2017 and was carbon copied to the Minister of Sports, Patrick Faber, and the National Sports Council along with other sporting organizations.