Burrell calls for more private sector support
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) head Captain Horace Burrell says it is vital to the national programme for the Reggae Boyz to advance to the Final Six phase of the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying series.
Jamaica lie third on goal difference in Group A of their semi-final behind the United States and Guatemala — all on seven points — with two games to be played later this month.
Burrell, who was speaking at the presentation ceremony of the St James FA's 2011-2012 season at Montego Bay Cricket Club on Thursday night, said there were benefits to be had, other than getting closer to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil in 2014.
"It's very important for us to get to the final six as then support will come pouring in," he said, adding "I'm confident that (coach Theodore) Whitmore and his staff will take the team to the promise land."
Burrell, who was recognised for his contribution to the sport once again, lashed the private sector, especially tourism interests, for not making a more meaningful contribution to the sport in St James.
He said with the exception of the Sandals Group, not enough hotels were sponsoring leagues or making any serious social interventions in the area.
"Montego Bay is the tourism mecca but we're not seeing the kind of support expected. These successful hotel are raking in huge profits but give nothing back. That can't be right; that is so wrong," said Burrell while urging the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA) to "take a closer look at the social involvement of the hotels".
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for West Central St James and Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Sharon Folkes-Abrahams, who was the guest speaker, said she was optimistic St James would once again assume its position as the top football region in the country and said she was "sick and tired of Montego Bay being labelled as the crime capital" of the country.