Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Grange promises top-class facility for eastern Jamaica

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2020 | 12:24 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Minister of Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange said that plans are now in place for the establishment of a multipurpose sports facility in eastern Jamaica.

Grange told The Gleaner that the complex, for which they are currently seeking a suitable site, is expected to feature a synthetic running track and will play a major role in sports development in the region.

“In the east, we are in discussions with Factories Corporation to identify a location and to put in place a state-of-the-art facility for a sports complex that would include a synthetic track,” said Grange.

“This will certainly enhance the development of our athletes and it is long overdue. It was one project that we listed as a legacy project for Jamaica 55,” Grange said. “We had identified the Goodyear facility for the location, but Factories Corporation have now come up with this fantastic development out there and so we had to change the plans from that location.”

Goodyear location

The Goodyear factory location, which sits just outside of the parish capital Morant Bay, is being developed as a new town centre and will feature government and commercial interests.

“This is most deserving for the people out there because coming out of the east, we have Juliet Cuthbert, and we have so many other great sportsmen and women coming from that side of the country, and so we will be doing all that we can to ensure that they get this multipurpose facility,” Grange said.

However, the minister noted that she could not give a timeline as to when construction will begin on the facility.

Meanwhile, former national representative in the jumps, Wilbert Walker, head coach of Paul Bogle High School’s track and field team, said the construction of a multipurpose sporting facility in eastern Jamaica will provide a massive boost for athletes from that section of the island.

“I think this is going to be one of the greatest things that could ever happen to the east because we have a lot of talent and whenever we have that, we have to ship off the talent where they can get the better opportunity,” said Walker. “But if we have that (facility) in the east, then that simply means that we can keep our talent and showcase the persons from the east, and they can stay within the east and that would also uplift persons from the east.

“I think this is a big move and also very positive, and this will also motivate a lot of young persons coming up to know that there is a way out, and we all know that sports is very powerful in Jamaica,” Walker added.