February 7, 2020 0 By Horace Mills

Plans are afoot to improve more sporting facilities at Linstead Primary and Junior High School in St. Catherine.

The announcement came on January 15 when Government handed over a brand new $4 million multipurpose court to the educational institution.

General Manager of the state-owned Sports Development Foundation, Denzil Wilks, said the court was built on time and within budget, adding that it is part of a bigger plan.

“There is an overall development programme for the school which we are looking at; we don’t have all the money to do it yet. Initially, $15 million was approved, and this [court] was what we call the low-hanging fruit, and so we have built this; it costs four million thirteen thousand dollars,” he said.

Wilks further told The Beacon that effort will be made to secure more funds for the remainder of the projects because the Sports Development Foundation is unable to cover the full cost at this time.

“We are looking at the [football] field, and we are seeing what [funds] we can accumulate. That is going to cost quite a bit because we will have to build a retaining wall. This [multipurpose court] is the start and, once we start, we call on stakeholders to come together because the Sports Development Foundation alone cannot do it,” Wilks said.

He expressed hope that the development of better sporting facilities will help reduce crime in the Linstead area.

“Sports has now become so critical that, once we have it organized in a particular way, that is what should represent the major portion of our intervention across the length and breadth of this country to stem the crime problem,” Wilks said.

Chairman of the Sports Development Foundation, Newton Amos, in the meantime, urged persons to take good care of the multipurpose court.

“This project is very important and critical to the school environment. It enhances learning and learning development especially at this time when we have so many issues with behaviour and conduct in our schools,” he said, adding that the facility should also benefit the wider community – at the discretion of the school.

Commenting on the project, Councillor for the Linstead Division Herbert Garriques told The Beacon that he is happy to have been involved from the outset.

He said he was among the first persons who saw the possibility for the project and brought it to the attention of Minette Anderson-Myers, parish manager at the state-owned Social Development Commission.

The general community also played an integral role in making the multi-purpose court a reality, according to Ruby Tenn of the Linstead Community Development Committee. “We are so proud to be standing here to see the result of the work of volunteers and community members in Linstead; it is a great feeling,” she declared.

Meanwhile, Principal at Linstead Primary and Junior High, Gloria Johnson, thinks the ‘long overdue’ multipurpose court will play a significant part in the development of students.

“I am beaming with delight foreseeing what is to come – skills development, [and] students developing a career in basketball, netball, table tennis, lawn tennis and volleyball. I am seeing where, in the future, we are going to be maximizing the use of this court,” the principal added.

A similar sentiment came from Telbert Roberts, Chairman of the board at Linstead Primary School.

“I am thankful for this court; it is a gift in the waiting for a long period and history has come to past. It is up to the community and the school to keep it going, to cherish it and to protect it because it is ours,” Roberts further said.

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