The Belize City Center served as the city’s premier sports auditorium, but it has been closed for more than two years, ever since government engineers pronounced it unsafe. Since that time the building has been left to rot as GOB searched for funding for a new facility, reported to be coming from Mexico. That financing pipeline from the north hasn’t materialized, at least not yet, though Prime Minister Dean Barrow is still looking in that direction. But according to Minister of Sports Herman Longsworth, the money has been found and the preliminary work of design and bidding is set to begin very soon.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“After an expected meeting with President Pena Nieto of Mexico, once we’ve determined where the Mexicans stand, where the new administration stands on the Civic Center loan we will proceed. In other words if that is not forthcoming we will finance the refurbishing of the Civic Center beginning this year with our own monies that we expect to get from some domestic borrowing or from the Petrocaribe restart that we as well managed to procure and which we believe will continue notwithstanding the most regrettable death of President Chavez.”

Herman Longsworth

Herman Longsworth, Minister of Sports

“As far as I know the Prime Minister has decided to institute what he calls a special purpose vehicle which is a private company that will wholly owned by government as far as I know; that will be responsible for investing these monies. The first project to come out of that is going to be the Civic Center. There is thirty million dollars allocated as far as I know to build the new Civic Center. I believe the company has been instituted; I believe that the legal process is just about complete. I expect that when we have our next cabinet meeting that we will know that it’s been done; I believe works will start immediately, thereafter. But you must bear in mind that there is that pre construction phase that the designs have to be done and vetted and that sort of thing. Tenders have to go out for contractors and that sort of thing. So that process is anywhere between three and six months depending on how quickly the design is gotten. I would say constructions should start by the end of the year.”

That will be good news indeed for Belizeans who enjoyed the use of the indoor auditorium for everything from sports competitions to concerts.

Channel 5