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New boxing gym project draws huge praise

Published:Monday | March 9, 2020 | 12:08 AMLeroy Brown/Gleaner Writer
Her Excellency Laurie Peters, Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica
Her Excellency Laurie Peters, Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica

An emphatic endorsement of the Jamaica Boxing Board’s ‘Gloves over Guns’ project was given recently by Her Excellency Laurie Peters, Canada’s high commissioner to Jamaica, as she gave the main address at the opening of the Montego Bay Boxing Gym, located at Jarrett Park, home of the Montego Bay Cricket Club.The gym will provide the base for the Boxing Board’s efforts to engage the youth in western Jamaica, in worthwhile activities, through the Guns Over Guns project, which has been running in the Corporate Area for a few years. The cricket club has made the third floor of its premises available to the Boxing Board, for the erection of a gym, and the Canadian government, through its Canada Fund, has agreed to provide equipment and assistance, to the tune of CDN$18,000 ($1.8 million).

Ambassador Peters admitted her love for boxing, and told how she used to hit the heavy bag with her father as a spirited young lady. She said that she was happy that she and her government were able to provide support for the Boxing Board’s project.The Canada Fund, she told the large gathering that included Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams and the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, allows her country “to support small-scale, but high-impact projects that align with the government of Canada’s international assistance priorities”.

The Gloves Over Guns project, she said, “was an easy selection, as it has a clear focus on peace and security, and we agree that using boxing as a platform for personal development, social support and community cohesion is a very ingenious and unique way of attracting young people, and providing the support needed, to transform their lives”.

Boxing Board President Stephen ‘Bomber’ Jones said that for him, the opening of a gym in Montego Bay was a satisfying moment, and that his hope was that “it would develop into a first-class facility”.

The Boxing Board, he said, was not only “ looking for boxing champions, but life champions, and the new gym would assist in making this happen.”

Several persons and groups had contributed to the gym, he said, and the Canadian High Commission, in particular, had assisted in making the dream into a reality.

Jones noted that among the other entities that assisted with the project were Clive Waldron and the Montego Bay Cricket Club, Deja Resort, Robin Russell, president of the Montego Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the I Love MoBay Foundation, MJKO Canada, Lasco, Food For The Poor, the JDF, and Kaleidoscope Paints.

The custos of St James Conrad Pitkin, also gave the project his blessing and said that he would like to highlight the fact that “boxing can be an engaging sport, and could provide a fulfilling and viable alternative to the youth of Jamaica”.