Regional

‘Give us Jarrett Park’

St James Cricket Board wants special considerations for use of MoBay’s sporting venue

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer

Thursday, January 16, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James

THE St James Cricket Board is appealing to the St James Parish Council for the use of Jarrett Park to play their national cricket competition home games, set to start in March.

Retired Jamaica Constabulary Force Superintendent Cecil Fletcher, who is the president of the local cricket board, as well as the Montego Bay Cricket Club, and serves on boards as high as the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association, told the Jamaica Observer West last week, that the board had written to the St James Parish Council requesting "special considerations" regarding the cost of using the multi-purpose facility as "the cost being charged by the Jarrett Park Management Committee," is out of the board's reach.

Fletcher told the Observer West that the board was willing to undertake a number of initiatives that would limit the parish council's cost, such as "not using the pavilion, lights and water".

Additionally, Fletcher, who was also a director of the Jamaica Cricket Board and chairman of national T20 champions MoBay Sixers, said his association was willing to take on "any preparations that would be necessary to get the facility ready, including continued cutting of the grass."

Noting that the St James Cricket Board was the only parish playing cricket in Jamaica's domestic competitions that is being asked to pay to use their own home grounds, Fletcher said the board is requesting a deal similar to the one that Red Stripe Premier League club Montego Bay United had struck with the parish council for use of the park.

A year ago, Montego Bay United reached an agreement with the council to use the Montego Bay Sports Complex free of cost.

Jarrett Park, Fletcher pointed out, was a gift to the citizens of Montego Bay from the Kerr-Jarrett family with a provision that it be shared between both football and cricket equally each year.

But he conceded that given the change in the seasons of both games, with football being played almost year round, that agreement was no longer feasible.

He also pointed out that the Trelawny Parish Council has allowed the Trelawny Cricket Association the use of the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium in Florence Hall that was constructed for the opening ceremony and warm-up games for the 2007 ICC World Cup.

Presently, St James domestic cricket competitions are being played at several venues, including high school grounds.

Fletcher noted, however, that while he is grateful to the schools and other grounds, they are not up to the standard of Jarrett Park.

He stressed that having a facility such as Jarrett Park, that has hosted regional, national and international cricket for decades, would help improve the game of cricket in St James, and bring the parish back to the heights it enjoyed back in the 1980s and 1990s.

"Denying the use of Jarrett Park to the cricketers is in effect limiting them and stifling their talents as a number of them have the potential to play cricket at a higher level," Fletcher stressed.

And while pointing out he was not seeking a quarrel with Mayor Glendon Harris, the chairman of the St James Parish Council, Fletcher said, "We are appealing to the mayor and we know good sense will prevail, that the mayor will facilitate the playing of the game at a cost that will not burden either the players or the cricket association in these harsh economic times."

Fletcher pointed out that it was a former mayor, Charles Sinclair Snr, who had instrumental in bringing flood lights to Jarrett Park, and called on Harris to "champion the sport with us," saying he "could equal or pass his predecessors in helping cricket and sports in St James".

Jarrett Park last hosted international games within the past five years, playing host to a touring Indian team that played a Jamaican team, as well as a series involving several teams in the West Indies 50 Overs.

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