Wed. Dec. 9, 2015
If you will, count me among the grumblers, skeptics and conspiracy theorists, if that’s what it takes to bring more clarity and assurance that we are not going down a well-known path to heartbreak and disappointment with our Belize Civic Center.
Remember when semipro basketball was at its zenith in the early 1990’s, and the crowd too much to fit in the old Civic Center; and the government of the day gave one of its cronies the contract to remodel and expand the Civic Center; and what we got was an oven, that punished stubborn diehard fans who still dared to come out to support the fledgling semipro basketball industry? May we be going down that road again? How can we be sure, when we have not been privy to the details of the plan in any public exposé; and now we’re hearing about “fully air conditioned”? Do you remember the many large insulated conduits that adorned the ceiling in the “remodeled” Civic Center, that were never activated for the supposed air-conditioning?
33 million dollars is a lot of money for our tax dollars to repay. A select group of contractors seem to be benefitting from the windfall of this government’s Belize Infrastructure Limited (BIL), a private company handling government contracts, with no oversight from the inactive Public Accounts Committee. Could this be another version of the so-called “retirement plan for the boys (and girls)”?
Sure, there are a number of sporting/public structures being built. A lot of money has been allocated. Has one “Sir Andie,” for instance, been given any of these many building contracts? Who chooses these contractors, or the architects who design them? Is there a tender process? How come, all of a sudden, the same company is chosen to do so many of these buildings? Sir Andie (veteran contractor Rudolph Anderson) built something that still serves well for softball at the Rogers Stadium. Why can’t a man with a long and outstanding sporting and building record be given one of these contracts, instead of some “just come” who has limited knowledge about sports in Belize?
I’m saying again. Let’s double check what’s going on with our new Civic Center construction, before it is too late, and then all we can do is cry, while others run laughing to the bank. We are a poor country, with hard times ahead. Our climate is mostly hot and likely to get hotter; but we are blessed, especially in the night time, with plenty of cool sea breeze in this coastal city of Belize. Are we making best use of what nature offers, by designing our structures to incorporate constructive use of natural air flow when feasible, and have the AC for use only when necessary? Will we be able to pay the energy bills to use this “dream” arena, or will we be saddled with another beautiful nightmare?
And, to make matters worse, it is not even like, when it is all done, we can say, well, at least a bunch of the unemployed guys from the area of Pickstock and Lake I got a “piece of the action” by gainful employment for a couple years. Not even that; a company from Ladyville, with workers from “out of town” are doing all the work, while we city folks look on.
Piles are soon to be driven, and cement will soon be pouring, and then it will be too late to “close the gate.” It may be that, after two long years waiting after the old Civic was leveled, Belize City residents are ready and willing to accept anything in place of nothing. Nevertheless, I still think, for our children’s sake, that we, the residents of this city, should be invited to have a look at, and, if we so desire, give constructive suggestions towards the plan for this Civic Center project from the ground up, that will be a landmark in our city for generations to come.
Let’s not wait “till di cow done gaan.”