“I want to make you one promise. I will find the funds to build a dedicated first class basketball facility. The achievement of team Belize deserves no less.” – Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dean O. Barrow.
Belize City was buzzing with excitement when the Civic Center opened up for its first semi-pro basketball game on Monday, April 30. The event marked the fulfilling of a pledge that Prime Minister Barrow made to Belizeans at the end of a motorcade for our national basketball team. The Jaguars had just returned from Cancun, Mexico after lifting the spirits of an entire nation by winning the silver medal at the COCABA Championships. The outpouring of love by Belizeans who lined the road sides when the team return to the country was all the evidence the administration needed to see exactly how much can sports unite a nation. This event prompted the greatest investment in sports development in Belize’s history.
Prime Minister Barrow has committed and spent almost $100 million towards the construction and rehabilitation of sporting facilities countrywide since the COCABA silver medal winning team returned to Belize. Since the last general elections, multi-purpose sports facilities have opened up across the country and the opening of Civic was the culmination of this commitment to sports development. This was one of the reason the UDP was bold enough to proclaim that the Best was Yet to Come.
Over 4,500 Belizeans made it out to the opening of the Civic Center on Monday. This was the largest crowd ever gathered to witness a sporting event in the country’s history; in large part due to the fact that this was the first sports facility built to fit that many people inside. The well-known quote from the classic movie “Field of Dreams” comes to mind: “Build it and they will come.” The experience inside the Civic was amazing. The air conditioning system alone was good enough to satisfy all the curious patrons. Then the event planners showed off the dynamic lighting system that switches to spotlight mode or back to total illumination in a split second. There were flame throwers, surround sounds, numerous exits and photoshoot worthy bathrooms.
Critics of the Civic Center have been silent since the opening on Monday night. Belizeans across party lines have expressed how proud they are of the new mecca of entertainment in Belize. The United Democratic Party has once again delivered on a promise to the people.