The Pinelands community is synonymous with producing star athletes who have excelled at a range of sports. On Saturday evening, residents gathered at the Parkinson Resource Centre for the unveiling of a memorial recognising the stellar contribution of the late Wayne Trent, Tony ‘Jahtone’ Harris and Anthony Kippins to the game of football and by extension to the district.
The ceremony, which was attended by close family members, opened with welcome remarks from Colin Harewood, Community Aide for the area. He indicated that all three of these players who passed within recent years made a significant contribution to their neighbourhood. He credited fellow footballer Antony ‘Goose’ Harris with coming up with the idea to memorialize the players, as they teamed up to make the event a reality.
Deputy Prime Minister and parliamentary representative for the St Michael South East constituency Santia Bradshaw addressed the gathering. She said, “We are here this evening for what I consider to be a very important reason. Oftentimes we celebrate the victories when we have footballers bringing home trophies to the Pine and that gives us a very good feeling. But I think that it is important that especially our younger players and also people across the community appreciate and understand the role that these people, these individuals play in the development of the community because I think sometimes that is lost.”
The minister emphasised the importance of sport in densely populated districts. “Football allowed us to bring the entire community together. The Pinelands Youth Soccer Academy has been at the forefront obviously of this evening but also of leading the charge in bringing the youth players together. Our reasoning was, if you bring the young people together then the parents got to come and watch the young people.”
Honouring those who have excelled will be paramount. She noted, “I think that we have to continue to go a step further and to teach about the practices and ethics of these individuals, what is it that drove them to become not just household names but in many cases national players as well in the country.”
Bradshaw believes that youth from the area can look to them for inspiration, to chart their journey to becoming the next big talent from the neighbourhood known for its dominance in sport.
Randy Harris, President of the Barbados Football Association was honoured to be invited to the ceremony. He noted, “These three individuals were perhaps the best -behaved young men playing football at the time.”
“I am so happy that Pinelands came up with this concept to honour these three players and we in the BFA, I must say we have been lacking in this area for quite a while. We have just decided to put a mural of former players at the facility at Wildey so that we can honour all of the people who made a contribution to the game in Barbados.”
The BFA remains committed to the development of youth players. Harris shared, “We have employed two professional coaches to set up an academy for the clubs in Barbados and the vision of this is to produce players who we believe we can get out of Barbados using whatever connections we have so that these players can become self-sufficient in a talent and a skill that they possess.”
The respective families were happy with the gesture and took pictures by the memorial as they reminisced about their loved ones.
The presentation was followed by two exhibition games. (STT)