The Orange Walk Town Council is back in the news for a second time this week. The Council and the National Sports Council are at loggerheads over the use of the People’s Stadium. Deputy Mayor of Orange Walk Ian Cal told Love News that they are being required to pay over five thousand dollars to use the People’s Stadium for the Council’s annual Fiestarama Fair. The Council refuses to pay that money. But this situation is not new to the Council. Only last year, the Council had difficulties accessing the Stadium. Following much dialogue, the Council reached an agreement with the Orange Walk Sports Council to pay ten percent of the gate proceeds to obtain access. This year, Cal said the preparations were flowing smoothly, with the management of the Orange Walk Sports Council granting the Town Hall access to the People’s Stadium under the same agreement as last year. But the National Sports Council had other plans.
Ian Cal, Deputy Mayor of Orange Walk: “Preparations have been going on from over a month ago at the People’s Stadium. Permission has been granted to the local management team there so we had no problem. All of a sudden now we see an email from the National Sports Council telling us that we would need to pay $5,000 for the rental of this stadium and again proceeds from the gate. Now the committee and the council itself think this is ridiculous because you know as we know the municipal fair is not to make any profits per say for the council, it is something to give right back to the community, and this is what we use to give back to the same young people of our community who want to go back to school. Why from last year just as how we are agreeing this year to pay 10% of the gate proceeds which amounts to approximately $2,000 every year we don’t mind paying that but why charge an additional $5,000 this year? That is the issue we have because $5,000 we can do a lot with $5,000 which can help some more students.”
Cal says they responded to the National Sports Council, emphasizing the nature of the event and who are the beneficiaries. The National Sports Council wrote back saying the money being charged was a standard rental fee for the stadium. And just like the Sports Council, the Town Council is not budging from its position.
Ian Cal, Deputy Mayor of Orange Walk: “The kids rides are here but they are parked outside of the compound, we cannot access the compound, they have the gates locked so these guys are here from last night how do we plan to proceed? Simply to review their proposal. I mean it’s a municipal fair so it goes right back to the kids it’s not for profit so we are asking them to review. I mean there is a lot that is being put into the Fiestarama already, some businesses that are participating are already going through an expense and are already doing their promotions. Like I said the teams are already there people have already been contacted, people are already prepared and buying things to prepare food, it is this coming weekend the 28th and 29th so a lot will be lost if we just cancel Fiestarama just based on something that is an agenda. Because if we can get permission from the local authorities here at the People’s Stadium why is it that the National Sports Council cannot agree to that as well.”
The fair yields a profit of about nineteen to twenty thousand annually. The OrangeWalk Town Council is reaching out to Minister of Sports Patrick Faber to intervene, as he had to do last year. The Fiestarama Fair is held annually and showcases the products and services of local and national entrepreneurs, artisans and businesses.