CIBA plans to build multi-million dollar arena

A local sports association has stated its intentions to build a world-class sports venue.

The Cayman Islands Basketball Association (CIBA) recently said that it plans to build an indoor basketball facility for roughly $3 million.

‘We are currently in the planning phases of building a sports arena. The Ministry [of Youth and Sports] had looked into establishing a sports facility in West Bay for about $3 million years ago.

‘We are not sure how much the arena will cost to build exactly but I would say $3 million is our ballpark figure,’ says Second Vice President of the CIBA and Chairman of the Fundraising Committee Mr. Joel Jefferson.

Funding for the project is expected to originate from the CIBA. Eventually the Cayman Islands Government and possibly the private sector will assist in its completion.

The arena is expected to be ready in about 3 years. No set location has been decided as the CIBA has yet to acquire the necessary land space. However, George Town is the ideal location.

‘We are looking to be somewhere central. The Crown has a lot of property in George Town. A very promising location for us is by the Truman Bodden Sports Complex as they have so many sports going on there already,’ Mr. Jefferson stated.

The arena is expected to be utilized by official teams for various sporting occasions. Its use will be coordinated by the CIBA. On the other hand, it is not certain whether the arena will be made available for public use.

‘Who will use the arena is yet to be decided as we are still in the planning phase of the project. However, the arena will probably not be for the public. I think it will be used primarily for sporting events,’ Mr. Jefferson said.

The CIBA has more than just basketball games planned for the arena. According to Mr. Jefferson, the CIBA will work with other local organizations to host other sports.

‘We are looking to involve the volleyball and netball associations more in our planning. International standards dictate that their games should be played indoors. In order for Cayman to host international events in those sports, they must play indoors.’

The plans for the new arena come after years of concern over the quality of sporting facilities in Cayman after Ivan.

‘There are so many people involved in sports in Cayman. Right now, we don’t have the proper resources for these players, especially after we lost the use of the Lion Centre after Ivan. Many basketball players are discouraged with the current facilities.

‘It is a very different game when you play indoors versus outdoors. But I am confident that the quality of games will improve once the arena is built,’ Mr. Jefferson stated.

The idea for a sports arena in Cayman is not new. According to Mr. Jefferson, discussion about a premier sporting facility has been a long time in the making.

‘Over 20 years now we have been talking about it. But now marks the first time anyone has put their best foot forward.’

Mr. Jefferson took time to discuss the goals of the CIBA for the future.

‘We are toying with the idea to get together with other sports to bring major sporting events here. Examples of such events include the Island Games and world championships [for various sports].

‘Long-term, we hope to get kids in school pursuing a career while getting a chance to play internationally.’

Mr. Jefferson went on to talk about the future of basketball in these islands.

‘Our current state is very promising. With the facility in place however, Cayman will be established as a sporting nation. We have good talent here and our future is very promising. We don’t have scouts or coaches coming here to scout our players yet. But I think with the new facility that will change.’

For more information contact Mr. Jefferson at 945-8757 or Technical Director of the CIBA Voot O’Garro at 949-7082.

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