Craig Oates - an advocate for community development
At age 42, Craig Oates has achieved much, but he remains fully focused on his passion for youth and community development across Hanover, especially Woodlands, the place of his birth.
Oates, who now works with the Hanover Municipal Corporation's planning and compliance division, is determined to put Woodlands on the sporting map as he continues to put his own resources behind the promotion of sports, something he has been doing for the past 20 years.
"I started advocating for sports from I was 18 or 19, and I have been a part of the whole fabric of sports for the community of Woodlands for over 20 years," said Oates, who served in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and as head of security in the hotel sector.
"I help out in terms of vetting the youth for organised football competitions and cricket competitions," said Oates. "I sponsor the competitions and I help out with sports gears. I brought lights into the community for night football and that attracted persons from outside to come into the community to watch games."
However, Oates is not focused on sports alone.
"We advocate day-to-day for a lot of stuff, such as the poor water supply and garbage collection ... . I regularly call on the National Water Commission and National Solid Waste Management Authority to address these things," said Oates. "We also regularly call out the political directorate to address other social issues in the community."
Oates, as first vice-president of the Hanover Football Association and a member of the media fraternity in western Jamaica, is the founder of the Hanover Youth Academy, which was established in 2011, to promote the development of youth football in the parish.