A massive stadium in Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District, has been in the works for about three years. The project for the Marshalleck stadium was put on pause for while, but Benque residents can be rest assured that they will be able to witness the state of the art stadium in their own town. Reporter, Courtney Menzies went looking for answers in the country’s most western town.
Residents of Benque Viejo del Carmen were raising concerns after their proposed high-end stadium, which had started construction about three years ago had been put on pause for about a year. As Love News began to inquire about the stadium the mayor of Benque,Gerardo Marconi Sosa informed us that he had met with the project’s coordinator from Belize Infrastructure Limited and that the construction on the stadium will continue next week. Minister of Sports Patrick Faber explained more about why the stadium was put on pause.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Sports: “It is not the Ministry of Sports that is responsible, it is the Belize Infrastructure Limited but you are right in so far as as the Minister of Sports I sit on the Belize Infrastructure Limited board as co-chair and I will tell you that in fact there have been major developments from where we once were and the project is moving. The issue has been that the largest of what was intended certainly could not be carried out and so now the plan that was there BIL conceived to have done it in a way that it’s going to finish the project but not to the specifications that it once used to be at. We were planning to finish it for use but there are persons, individuals, advocates who are insisting that it ought to be done to the largest that it was once intended to be. People can be assured that in fact that the project is moving forward, in fact, if you go there you will see that there are tremendous works that have happened- I was there for the Benque Fiesta they used the field which is the jurisdiction of the town council, the mayor and I congratulate him on the fact that he has been able to get the field and all of that together. It’s just a matter of whether it is going to be finished to the specifications that it initially was intended for or it will be finished in such a way that it can be used and gradually it will be finished.”
Gerardo Marconi Sosa, Mayor of Benque Viejo del Carmen: “I became the mayor and we ensured that the project restarted, we started talking to BIL and BIL came over and the project is on. We have the football field technically ready to go, we do have games on a weekly basis.”
Reporter: Mayor Sosa explained that while the games are ongoing the bleachers are not in use because of the construction happening. BIL is planning to place bleachers all the way to the top of the stadium.
Gerardo Marconi Sosa, Mayor of Benque Viejo del Carmen: “The contract will continue as was planned. If you notice up on the last bleacher there is like a wall, that was there on purpose however discussions will have it removed and the contract will continue as per the requirements of FIFA. I do believe that at it’s ending it’s going to represent well, it is going to showcase what actually football is all about, the amount of people that it’s going to take is good enough. We do have our frontier which is Guatemala and we intend to have good games here at this football stadium.”
Reporter: The stadium will be able to hold about 4,000- 5,000 people, vendors will also be able to sell food and clothes at the stadium.
Gerardo Marconi Sosa, Mayor of Benque Viejo del Carmen: “The upper part of the stadium will have the facilities, the two facilities prepared, outside is going to have the sale of clothing, I would like to assume it’s clothing and mostly sporting wear, on the bottom half of the football stadium, because it’s two stories, we do have the players restroom on both ends and we are going to have the facilities for officials, doctors, etc so that it would be a one of a kind stadium in Belize.
Mayor Sosa said he believes the Marshalleck Stadium will be completed by the end of the year. The project was initially valued at five million but has proven to be more costly. The funds are provided by the Government of Belize.