GC Foster, JCA strike MOU deal
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
The Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) and the G.C. Foster College of Phy-sical Education and Sport yesterday penned a four-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the institution's Spanish Town campus in a partnership that is geared to aid the development of the sport.
"This is an important means to getting our players to be equipped, not only in the areas of sport, but also in their own personal development," said JCA President Lyndel Wright of the new arrangement.
The agreement will see both organisations joining forces to advance the sport through academic programmes, short-term technical courses, collaborative research on pitch preparation and maintenance, as well as the prevention of cricket-related injuries.
Both parties are expecting the first batch of eight students, which will be identified by the JCA, subject to ratification from a joint selection panel, to commence their programmes this September. Several minor details are still being ironed out but Edwards Shakes, principal at G.C. Foster College, is looking forward to the programme and believes it will help his institution to continue realising its role and obligations towards sport development.
"We feel very honoured to be entering into this partnership with the Jamaica Cricket Association. As a part of our strategic focus, we have been engaging in partnerships and forging closer relations with the various national sporting associations," said Shakes. "I think this is necessary because it brings credibility to our programme, and part of our role is to build capacity for the development of the various sports, and cricket is no exception.
"Preparation for life after cricket is important, and we offer these opportunities for the persons to be trained in coaching and other activities. We want to see G.C. Foster as the centre of cricket development in the region," Shakes added.
G.C. Foster College, the island's only sports-only educational institution, has produced some of the country's top cricketers, including its most successful, captain Tamar Lambert, Odean Brown, Keith Hibbert, Andre Dwyer, Matthew Sinclair and Damion Morgan.
Groundsman Willis Burt is also regarded as one of the most respected in the region and is currently part of the West Indies programme.
Wright is confident that the partnership will bear fruits and ensure sustainable growth for the nation's cricketing talent.
Beyond playing days
"We think that what is important is that players can only compete for a certain time in their lives, and the greater part of their lives continue beyond those playing days. We are looking to equip them with the tools necessary to help them in their playing days, and also a means to live beyond those playing days," Wright noted.
Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, was also on hand to witness the deal and applauded the coming together.
"I am always happy to be part of any initiative that will further develop the sporting industry in Jamaica. Certainly, G.C. Foster College remains our premier physical activity institution in the country, and to have this partnership between the JCA and the institution is long in coming and will serve the sport well," said Neita-Headley.