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The new state-of-the art Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St. James, was officially opened Saturday (June 5) by Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, and Venezuelan Ambassador, His Excellency Noel Martinez Ochoa.
The Sports Complex, one of several sporting and cultural facilities upgraded under the San Jose Accord Programme, boasts spectator seating with capacity for 7,000 persons, all-weather running track, multi-use courts, inner football field, administrative facilities, bathrooms and changing rooms, lighting, adequate parking facility and complete security fencing.
The official opening of the facility, established by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) at a cost of US$14.9 million and expected to become the crown jewel of sporting activities in Western Jamaica, was carried out against the backdrop of the second Western Primary Schools Track and Field Championships. Some 19 educational institutions from the county of Cornwall participated.

Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, addressing participants at the official opening ceremony for the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St. James, Saturday (June 5).

“It is truly a very important structure and a fabulous institution that will certainly provide great opportunities for people in this region,” Dr. Chang said.
He added that the facility will provide an infrastructure to allow for the building of an athletic programme to meet the region’s needs, as well as help talents in western Jamaica achieve greatness in the field of athletics.
“Sports today is big business, and we must begin to harness the talents in our youths and provide solid opportunities for them,” Dr. Chang said.
He suggested that the possibilities of the Sports Complex should motivate the Ministry of Education to re-introduce sporting activities as a formal part of the school curriculum agenda.

Sports Enthusiast Ray Harvey (left) receives an award from Meet Director of the Western Primary School Track and Field Championship, Albert Ferguson, during the official opening ceremony for the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St. James, Saturday (June 5). Mr. Harvey was honoured for over 30 years of contribution to sport in western Jamaica.

He said that sports have also played a critical role in bringing people and communities together, and the time is appropriate to use it to help overcome some of the “chronic and very dysfunctional activities” of inner city communities.
“The healing process must begin and it can do so through the promotion of facilities as this,” Dr. Chang pointed out.
He extended appreciation to the Government and people of Venezuela, for making major contributions to the overall development of Jamaica’s social infrastructure.

Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang (third right) and Venezuelan Ambassador, H.E. Noel Martinez Ochoa (third left) shake hands after unveiling the commemorative Plaque during the official opening ceremony for the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall, St. James Saturday (June 5). Also in picture are Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair and Member of Parliament,for St. James, Clive Mullings and Chairman of UDC. Mr. Wayne Chen.

“We will be ensuring that this is maintained and strengthened at all levels, economically, culturally and otherwise. We want the people of Venezuela to know that we do appreciate their contributions and we look forward to a sustained relationship in the years to come,” Dr. Chang said.
Ambassador Martinez Ochoa said that the Government and people of Venezuela were pleased to have been integral in funding and supporting the sporting facility.
“Please accept, on behalf of the Venezuelan people and its Government, our congratulations and best wishes for success for all,” the Ambassador said before joining Dr. Chang in unveiling the commemorative plaque, signaling the official opening of the sporting complex. Also attending the function were Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Clive Mullings.