The Mexicans have invested one million Belize dollars to have a lighting system for the football pitch at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. Those lights were officially inaugurated and tested last night during a ceremony that saw the presence of one of Mexico’s Vice Minister, Ambassador Agustin Garcia-Lopez. The ambassador explained to Love News that the lighting system is one of two projects for the Marion Jones Sporting Complex.
Agustin Garcia-Lopez – Mexico’s Vice Minister
“This is one of the infrastructure projects that we have. As you know we have the so called Yucatan Fund and this fund gave $10 million dollars for this project. The first stage of the project is just giving light to the stadium and we are looking at it now where music and light today to this stadium and the idea is to have a second phase of this project which will be the Mexican pavilion and just to have the acknowledgement that football is not the only sport, sometimes Mexicans think it is. The Mexican Pavilion will be able to build this covered facilities for basketball and volleyball. The idea is that sports is part of a healthy community for youth but also adults like me that like sports it is wonderful to go and be able to have teamwork and also for you to excel and eventually of course to be victorious in competitions in sports. Sports is part of the education of children so in that sense we give priority to these sorts of facilities.”
Minister of Sports, Patrick Faber explained that the cooperation between Belize and Mexico on this project for the Marion Jones Complex came after Belize had approached their Mexican counterparts for assistance.
Patrick Faber – Minister of Sports
“Sometime ago of course we approached the Mexicans about support for our sporting facilities and we sought their particular support for the covered practicing facility for basketball and volleyball that was approved and you may remember that there was a groundbreaking where we signaled that this was coming. As a part of this whole initiative though we were conscious that the Marion Jones facility here which has a football pitch did not have lighting and so that was incorporated into the arrangement and tonight we are pleased that the lighting has come through. It has been ready for some time but we wanted to wait for the visit of our special guest Ambassador Garcia and so this is why it is being opened at this time. It is also important that we look at this visit of Ambassador Garcia as an impetus to moving the process forward. You may or may not know that the UNOPS entity, it’s a branch of the United Nations they have been contracted to oversee the works and to make sure that we get value for money, that the Mexicans get value for the investment they are making and we’ve had some trouble with the project but with his coming and of course meeting with us in the government and meeting with the UNOS folks we are positive that there will be swift movement in terms of that and we are hoping that by next year we are able to complete those covered facilities for Volleyball and Basketball that will be right here on the Marion Jones compound.”
As it relates to the maintenance of the lights, Minister Faber explained how that will be done.
Patrick Faber – Minister of Sports
“The National Sports Council is now headquartered here at the Marion Jones Complex, in fact this facility is really a wonderful facility their offices that would be on the third floor and so this is the home of the National Sports Council so as it relates to everything here at the Marion Jones it is the responsibility for the National Sports Council. In fact it is what causes us to be able to move ahead. I think it’s no secret to Belizeans that it has been a struggle with finishing this project and it is through a half a million dollar almost budget for the Marion Jones that is given to the National Sports Council that you see the developments that are happening now. So all that grant money has finished, all the monies that have been given over time and you saw that the project stood still for a while it is moving very slowly; you will look around and see that the developments are here the place is shaping up nicely and we are not flamboyant about it but as people come and they see the will see that this is a really wonderful facility and that is because it is being maintained by the National Sports Council directly; as I’ve said their offices are now located here. The Roger’s Stadium which traditionally hosted the office of the National Sports Council we are trying to retrofit for the various different associations that were displaced from the Civic Center to give them a space to call home and we are working to make sure that they are comfortable in that regard although it’s not the strict responsibility of the National Sports Council or the Government of Belize to provide a home for these federations and associations we believe in supporting them as much as we can and so we are supporting them to have a place that they can call home.
The lights for the football pitch were installed by the local company, FT Williams.