Sports the key to lasting peace in Rockfort
SportS has proven to be an unmatched, unifying force in the often-divided east Kingston community of Rockfort. And unattached youths in the Top Temple section of the community are adamant that this is one way to ensure lasting peace in the area.
They want corporate support to improve the sporting infrastructure in the community and to acquire more equipment to keep their peers engaged.
According to 20-year-old Hakeem Jackson, youngsters flock to sports fields on a daily basis, but a lack of goal posts, balls, proper playing surfaces and fencing are major impediments.
"If a nuh ball game, a netball, and when netball a play, the youth dem still come support the females," Jackson said last Thursday during a Gleaner/RISE Life Management on the Corner with Unattached Youths forum in Top Temple.
"But football is the true enjoyment of the community. It starts a lot of friendships.
"No matter where it is in the community, from you hear football, the youth dem ready to play. You start see youths from all 'bout who don't usually come out of their houses. If not even to play, them come to watch," said Jackson.
He added: "But we would love some help from one of those big companies because the majority of times when the ball game doesn't play is when we don't have any ball or any goal. We also want to improve the surfaces and put up some fencing around them so the thing is orderly and persons can feel secure and want to come out more."
With the summer holidays keeping more youngsters at home for the next two months, the outspoken St Andrew Technical High School graduate has appealed to the telecoms companies to not only assist with equipment, but to also sponsor six-a-side football competitions to further youth participation in sports.
"Persons in the area try to stage these competitions from time to time, but it's difficult for them to organise and offer prize money. So a big company like a Flow or a Digicel would be better able to get it done, especially now during the summer.
Also, if they come on board to stage it here, we can attract teams outside of Rockfort, from other inner cities, and that's unity again," said Jackson.
Eighteen-year-old Adonis Ferguson agreed with Jackson but argued that proper lighting was essential to improving the infrastructure.
He, however, felt that the nearby Cement Company would be better suited to assist with football equipment, arguing that the company had a very active football programme.
"A lot of persons work during the days and would like to play some ball when they get home, but by then, it's dark, and the street lights aren't the best, so that's another aspect to look at. It would also be good if Cement Company come on board and give us a couple balls, some gear, or so. It would mean a lot," Ferguson reasoned.