For most of his term, Minister of Youth and Sports Herman Longsworth has been bedeviled by the construction and development of three sport stadia in Belize City. The biggest project is the Marion Jones Sporting Complex which broke ground six years ago, when Elvin Penner was the Minister and Longsworth was the contractor. The second is MCC Grounds which was closed for renovation and the installation of lights at the stadium. And the last is Berger Field, located in his own division of Albert, which he had promised would receive a major upgrade. While the developments at Marion Jones and MCC are going apace, the last is largely abandoned although there have been some upgrades. Here is his summary.
Herman Longsworth; Marion Jones is pretty much ther. We are putting in a security fence shortly and I hope for us to have some competition there very, very shortly. Just to let people know that it is ready. In terms of the MCC Grounds, we are doing the underground wiring now for the lights. It’s just a matter of finishing up the underground lights and installing the posts and then getting the actual connection in. So, I am hoping that there is a transformer at the Marion Jones Stadium that we won’t need any more. It was the original transformer for te original facility, that we can move that to the MCC and use that to power up the new lights. So that should happen in the next couple of weeks. We are hoping we could get everything sorted out for that. In terms of Berger Field, I have to be honest with you, I don’t know that anything will happen with Berger Field. What I have done is I’ve tried to go and put up the lights so that thecommunity can have the use of the facility. You will see that there are lights there. We did that. I made sure that that happened and we’ve given the control of it to the community. So they can control it and use the facility.
According to Longsworth, he no longer has the budget for the kind of upgrades he wanted to give Berger Field, leaving him “extremely disappointed.” Works are being planned for an indoor facility at the Sporting Complex as well, Hon. Longsworth tells us.
Herman Longsworth; Marion Jones facility will be a FIFA standard football field. MCC won’t be. THe MCC is a secondary field. We can’t afford the lights, etc, to go there. It’s going to be for secondary competitions.
Reporter: Like for Premeir League and so on?
Herman Longsworth;Premeir League can be played there but Premeir League can also and will probably be played at the Marion Jones Facility and that facility, now that we have gotten the actual committment from the Mexicans, to get the lights, we are going to get the FIFA standard lights very shortly and they are also going to be constructing an indoor facility on there. We are in conversation with them now to have a little ground breaking ceremony shortly and you will be told about that in t h next week or two that will happen and the Mexicans will be out there with us to do the groundbreaking and then you will know officially of all that is going to happen there.
The Complex project was estimated at between 12 and 14 million dollars in cost when ground was first broken.