Netball neglect - Rural administrators call for greater attention from NJ
Netball Jamaica (NJ) has come under heavy criticism from administrators in rural Jamaica, who believe they are being neglected by the national body and that not enough is being done to develop the sport, particularly in their region.
Fabian Haynes, president of the Clarendon Netball Association, hit out at the Paula Daley-Morris-led NJ administration, which, he argued, have centred their attention in the Kingston Metropolitan Area and have shown little interest in the sport’s growth in rural areas.
“The president and her administration don’t keep in touch with the parishes and they are totally unaware of what is happening in the country. As far as I am concerned, they are just for Kingston. The clubs are dying, netball is dying and this is happening everywhere. Netball Jamaica is not doing anything for the parishes,” Haynes blasted, while stating that the focus seems to be on making money as opposed to driving the sport forward right across the country.
“[Under] this president, the affiliation fee rose from $7,000 to $40,000. So on that basis, yes [the focus is on money]. They don’t meet and see if you can afford it, they just insist on getting their $40,000 and if you don’t have it, they just cut you off,” Haynes added.
“I’m running a competition in Clarendon and I got a message that if I don’t come and pay my affiliation fee, they are going to give me a stop order from the court for my competition. The competition has 14 schools, some from St Catherine and Manchester, where nothing is happening. So on that basis, they [NJ] are more concerned about money than development.”
Gina Haughton, president of the St James Netball Association, which has contributed to the development of Sunshine Girls staples such as Shamera Sterling, former St James High student Jhaniele Fowler and Shadian Hemming, who had a brief stint with the senior team, also said her association has not received any help from Netball Jamaica for some time now.
“When Paula Daley-Morris took office, we thought they wanted to start afresh in terms of having a better relationship with the parishes. They came to meet with us, which we thought was to establish some foundation. To our knowledge, what they came for was because JSIF was sponsoring them and they were to go into the parishes to do training. However, I don’t know who they were training, because no training took place,” said Haughton.
“They wanted us to pay for affiliation and they are not giving up anything. I think it is more of a moneymaking thing for them more than any other thing. In my mind, if they cannot gain from it, then they are not interested,” she added.
“[There is] a whole lot of neglect. Years ago, from Marva [Bernard] was president, there were arrangements for a national under-14 system that would feed into a national team and subsequent older age-group teams. We got no help, nothing at all to help in any way possible from Netball Jamaica. Anything that happens out here, it is because of the St James executive and Garth [Burger King] to run youth and other competitions.”
Efforts to reach Netball Jamaica President Daley-Morris and Vice-President Tricia Robinson were unsuccessful.