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New Fortress Energy and the St. James Municipal Corporation handed over a new multipurpose court to the community of Catherine Hall in St. James on Monday (May 9).

Construction of the court was a project that commenced last year, partially funded by the municipality at a cost of $1.5 million under its Community Signature Project programme. Additional funding of more than $2.5 million was provided by New Fortress Energy.

The Community Signature Project programme was conceptualised by the municipality to create a facility that will encourage the development of communities. A wide cross-section of the parish’s citizens is expected to benefit through the implementation of long-term, sustainable projects.

Terminal Manager at New Fortress Energy, Montego Bay, Robert Rodney, in giving remarks at the handover ceremony, stated that “multipurpose courts and the activities that they allow, signal a big part of [a] community’s commitment to its residents. It shows that residents are important”.

“Multipurpose courts serve as a needed recreational reprieve for community members. At the end of a long day, young people can come to the court and play a game of football, basketball, or netball. [It] is a positive outlet for young people to channel their energy into something positive that can help to build them and keep them active,” Mr. Rodney noted.

He added that New Fortress was “delighted” to refurbish the court, which will form an important part of the lives of Catherine Hall residents.

President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Janet Silvera, says that “what is happening here today is a significant step in the right direction”.

Ms. Silvera highlighted the importance of the implementation of sports-based initiatives, as they play a significant role in crime-and-violence-prevention strategies in various communities on the island.

She commended New Fortress Energy for continuing to make a difference through various initiatives in St. James.

“Sustainable partnerships such as this is what Jamaica needs, let us stand up and unite to build and lift Jamaica away from the negative crime-and-violence image and more towards the positive image our sporting greats have made us renowned for,” she said.

“As we use sports in this community, I know, I have no doubt whatsoever, that it will bring positivity, so I implore you to ensure that this does not become a ‘white elephant’… . It’s a proud moment for Catherine Hall,” Ms. Silvera said.

Councillor of the Spring Garden Division, Dwight Crawford, stated that the new court “means a lot to the community [and] it means so much to me”.

“[I] have a lot of love for New Fortress Energy, because they have put their money where their mouth is, and this is a good example of how corporate citizens need to operate,” Mr. Crawford said.

President of the Catherine Hall Community Development Committee (CDC), Ava-Gaye Gordon, also thanked New Fortress Energy for the role they played in ensuring the completion of the court.

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