Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
St James venue to host schoolboy kick-off
Intense behind-the-scenes lobbying has finally landed the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) the right to use the Catherine Hall Sports Complex for the opening matches in the 2012 Manning and daCosta Cup competitions, after negotiations broke down late last week.
Competitions director George Forbes last week told The Gleaner that ISSA was unable to pay the more than one million dollars being asked for then by the managers of the complex, the St James Parish Council.
"We want to play the matches at Catherine Hall but we cannot pay what they are asking," Forbes had said, while adding that Jarrett Park was to be the new venue.
However, in a surprising twist, a decision was then entered into for ISSA to use the complex at a reduced cost of $800,000, brokered by a steering committee that oversees its management. The committee, headed by respected Montego Bay businessman Howard Ward, of Ward's Power Tools and Services, brokered the deal on Sunday.
"Mr Ward was very instrumental in bringing this to the kind of resolution that benefits all. It is much better to get $800,000 than nothing at all," Forbes reasoned.
"Kudos to Mr Ward and the members of the steering committee for helping us in this way. We at ISSA are grateful and happy about this, and sponsors, too, are happy, as will the spectators, who will now have more space."
Hydel take on Manning Cup champions St George's College at 2 p.m. in the opening match of the double-header, followed by the match between daCosta Cup champions Rusea's High and Herbert Morrison Technical at 4:15.
The dress parade and opening ceremony will take place at approximately 3:45 p.m.