- Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, says that a tripartite partnership for an Under-19 cricket competition and academy programme will ensure that Jamaica returns to dominance in regional cricket.
- Regarding the academy programme, players will be selected to undergo further technical development in the Sandals Cricket Academy at Sabina Park from July 3-20.
- It is hoped that within three years, the National Under-19 team will begin its climb back to the top of West Indies dominance.
Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, says that a tripartite partnership for an Under-19 cricket competition and academy programme will ensure that Jamaica returns to dominance in regional cricket.
This partnership is being led by Sandals Resort International (SRI), which has agreed to a three-year sponsorship, in collaboration with the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) and Rainforest Seafoods.
The total sponsorship value of the JCA’s Under-19 programme is currently at $10.5 million over the three years.
Speaking at the launch of the competition and academy, Ms. Grange acknowledged that over the past 10 years, Jamaica has won six straight Regional First Class Championships for senior male cricketers and was just as dominant in the women’s equivalent.
She also stated that while the country’s age group teams were successful, there has been a steady decline over the last few years.
“We have seen a steady decline in performances especially at the youth level, but as a national team, we always want to be the winners. We won’t accept anything else but being number one,” she said, at the function, held at Sabina Park in Kingston.
Ms. Grange noted that the partnership is not solely about winning at the Under-19 level, but about the development of the youth, “preparing the next generation of West Indies (Cricket) stars”.
In his remarks, Director of Corporate Services at SRI, Jeremy Jones, said that cricket has been associated with his company for approximately 16 years, beginning with the Sandals Foundation Cricket Academy in the Eastern Caribbean.
“Sandals has a belief in the richest treasures of the Caribbean and that is the human capital. We have a very rich history in cricket. The partnership we have with JCA is important to us. We’re happy to support the JCA,” he said.
For his part, Rainforest Seafoods General Manager, Jerome Miles, noted that his company believes in developing youths and shared the same vision of Sandals in having a stronger West Indies Cricket team.
“We hope that we will be able to unearth talent (because) there is no doubt that the talent exists,” he said.
The Sandals under-19 Cricket Competition begins on June 17 with four teams competing in a round-robin format over four weeks, with the final for the Sandals trophy played in the fifth week.
Teams included in the 50-over competition are the Eastern Flames, Western Heat, Northern Lights and Southern Sparks.
The competition will be played at various locations including the Melbourne Oval, and Jarrett Park to name a few.
Regarding the academy programme, players will be selected to undergo further technical development in the Sandals Cricket Academy at Sabina Park from July 3-20.
The players will be selected to the academy based on performance, potential for development, discipline, attitude, aptitude and eligibility for future selection to the National Under-19 team.
At the academy, the players will be exposed to, among other things, media engagement skills, social interaction techniques and financial management planning.
It is hoped that within three years, the National Under-19 team will begin its climb back to the top of West Indies dominance.
It is also being hoped that within five years, if the programme continues, Jamaica will place at least two persons from the initial cohort to the West Indies team.