China’s $50 Million Gift And The Master Plan

Saturday 25th, February 2012 / 11:48 Published by
in Sports

New Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. Photo Kyle Smith, The Nassau Guardian

The Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium might have been a $50 million gift from the Chinese, but according to Charles Maynard, the minister of youth, sports and culture, the government was able to negotiate to create $10 million worth of contracts for Bahamian sub-contractors and vendors.

“The agreement called for Chinese labor and materials,” he said. “But we were able to negotiate after the fact to use some Bahamian sub-contractors and supplies. This generated $10 million in direct labor or providing products and services.”

The great gift from China will be unveiled to thousands of Bahamians tomorrow night. The Chinese ambassador is expected to be on hand, along with government officials from The Bahamas.

While the event should further cements the business links between the two nations, the 15,000-seat venue also represents the beating heart of a rising sports and recreational village in Nassau.

Maynard further revealed to Guardian Business the plans behind phase one of the project. At least $50 million will be spent on this first stage alone. “The stadium is its centerpiece,” he said.

“The master plan has been created to ensure the overall environment is suitable for the use of the stadium. The contract now ongoing in terms of phase one of the master plan is $48 million. Previously, we spent $2 million to develop this master plan.”

The facility around the stadium, creating vast employment opportunities, will include a baseball and softball complex, a hot rod racing facility and another indoor arena with a capacity of 10,000 seats. The Kerzner Foundation, according to Maynard, is also planning a recreational complex for young Bahamians, including activities such as rock climbing.

“Moving forward, we expect to spend tens of millions to bring about the full vision and design,” he added.

The ambitious undertaking is consistent with bold declarations made at the third annual Sports Tourism Interface earlier this month.

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