The development of sports in Mayaro and the wider south-eastern region of Trinidad received a major assist from bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) with the formal opening of newly refurbished basketball and tennis courts at the Mayaro Resource Centre (MRC) on Thursday, July 7.
These improved facilities expand the varied range of activities and services offered at the multi-purpose complex, which facilitates initiatives in sports, education, human capacity development, health and wellness, as well as micro-enterprise funding and development.
On hand to cut the ribbon and formally open the hard courts were top officials of the energy company, headed by Claire Fitzpatrick, regional president, bpTT; Mary Streett, senior vice president bp Americas, communications and advocacy; and Giselle Thompson, vice president, corporate operations, bpTT.
Giving a hearty ‘thumbs-up’ to the new courts was the Member of Parliament for Mayaro, Rushton Paray, who lauded the pioneering efforts of bpTT for, “rising to the occasion by providing sporting and educational facilities in Mayaro where funding is always a challenge.” The Mayaro MP also appealed to other corporate citizens to invest in similar facilities and services for the people of Mayaro and surrounding communities.
Paray further stated, “When we have the example of a corporate partner like bpTT, we can only build on the work they do. We need all hands on deck to make maximum use of these facilities and I urge our schools and other stakeholders such as the Ministries of Sport and Education to come on board to train our athletes, not from the age of 18, but from age six.”
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented optimum use of the MRC, Claire Fitzpatrick assured the audience that bpTT was gearing up to restart the sporting, educational and health and wellness activity in full to reinforce the binding relationship between bpTT and the community of Mayaro.
“We look forward to celebrating the emergence of world-class athletes from these first-class facilities. This is yours to make it as good as it can be and we know that with the talent in Mayaro, you will make it great,” Fitzpatrick explained to the gathered Mayaro stakeholders.
The basketball and tennis courts follow upgrades to other aspects of the MRC including the world-class swimming pool and conference facilities. In the near future work is expected to commence on upgrades to the football facilities.
Jameson Rigues, corporate secretary of the All Mayaro Sports Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that oversees sports development in the region, said the opening of the courts was a major event for celebration by the community.
“It is heart-warming to see what bpTT has been doing in Mayaro, not only in sports but in all aspects of life. Basketball is one of the major sporting disciplines in Mayaro. It is a great privilege to have this first-rate facility on our doorstep and I assure you that the youths of Mayaro are eagerly looking forward to using these courts,” assured Rigues.
On hand to ‘christen’ the new basketball court were members of the Trinidad and Tobago female Under-16 basketball team under the guidance of national coach and former player, Learie Sandy, who said he was sure the new court would encourage more youths to enter the sport.
National tennis coach, Anthony Jeremiah, also welcomed the refurbishment of the facilities and expressed the hope that more youngsters in the community would engage in tennis with the first-class courts now available to them.
The opening of the basketball court marked a special occasion for former national star player Matthew Pierre who now serves as community liaison coordinator at bpTT. Pierre celebrated his birthday in tandem with the opening ceremony and rolled back the years with a few practice three-pointers that saw his display some of his excellence.
Pierre is also founder and president of the Matthew Pierre Basketball Academy, which has sparked a resurgence in the sport in Mayaro in recent years.
Also witnessing the momentous opening of the courts were Raymond Cozier, Chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation; local government councillors, Wendell Perez and Renelle Kissoon; as well as Darron Charles, Physical Education and Sports Officer II, Ministry of Sport and Community Development.