However, one very agitated Mayor of Orange Walk Town sent out a press release in which he expressed his, “utter dismay and outrage at the Orange Walk Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports” . According to Mayor Kevin Bernard, the neglect and mismanagement of the People’s Stadium on the part of the Orange Walk Sports Council has forced the Band Fest to Move to Corozal.
“I want to express my outmost disappointment. I am totally in support of our residents who are upset over the matter, and we cannot blame the organizers for having to make that decision, but the blame is directly to be laid at the seat of the Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports for having neglected our People’s Stadium on the work that they should be carrying out there as a sports council. We believe that it is a total embarrassment to the people of our country that Orange Walk could not have hosted a band fest, (something that could have attracted over 10,000 people)”.
According to the Mayor, while it does cause some inconvenience for those attending the event, the effects of this last minute adjustment are felt mostly by the many business establishments in Orange Walk Town that would have otherwise benefited from the additional income.
Mayor Kevin Bernard: “We are too big. The smaller picture is that there would have been 23 vendors available to us to selling booths and food and so, in the People Stadium grounds. What about the many businesses we have in the ground itself? The last time they just came to Orange Walk, people could not find a tamales; those reas were the ones that sell tamales. The restaurants and the hotels were filled, the little back shops were sold out. Everybody in an every single shop in this town, you couldn’t find food after 1:00. So, that is what we are talking about”.
Mayor Kevin Bernard: “The council is not upset and the mayor is not upset because we would have gotten revenue from everything, but no, that is not the case. We would have not benefited anything else than that apart from the 23 vendors that would have paid their $60 and those monies now, we are reimbursing back to those vendors that cannot go to Corozal. What we are saying is that we are upset on the fact that the condition of the People’s Stadium has caused the Band Fest to move away from Orange Walk and go to Corozal, while I welcome a band fest at any location, that has been the decision, and like I said, it is a pity that it has to happen that way, but we need to put the blame where the blame should be and it is fitted the blame of the Sports Council, of the Ministry of Sports for neglecting the People’s Stadium for all these years”.
However, the Orange Walk Sports Council had a rather different story. We spoke with Sports Coordinator for the Orange Walk Sports Council Dwight Wade who told us that the forces of nature are to blame .
Dwight Wade- Sports Coordinator for the Orange Walk Sports Council
“The situation with the Band Fest presently is due to three months of rain that we had. We do not ave control over the rain and the rain messed up the field. We had to move our primary school basketball to Trial Farm basketball field due to this condition. So, we were forced to full our field and roll it, so that we can head it back to the standard. This is two months before the booking of the Band Fest, so the grass did not grow back as yet. All these allegations you are hearing out there, are false”.
Dwight Wade: “We moved immediately after the rain to repair the damages, but due to the drought, the grass did not grow back as yet. So, it is a minor as a minor, but people is growing it out of proportion. On behalf of the Sports Council, we have done everything possible that humans could get for the stadium into working conditions”.
Nevertheless, the show must go on and while Orange Walk Town Businesses are at a loss, Corozal Town businesses will reap the benefits as the Band Fest 2014 moves to the Northern most part of the country.