Football stakeholders ponder Portmore becoming a parish

February 10, 2023
Michael Ricketts
Michael Ricketts
Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung
Elaine Walker-Brown
Elaine Walker-Brown

Football stakeholders believe there will be several implications should the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) continue with plans to make Portmore Jamaica's 15th parish.

GOJ, under Prime Minister Andrew Holness, is on a mission to separate Portmore, the largest dormitory community on the island, from St Catherine. It was a promise that Holness made before the 2020 General Election, and he has stepped up the effort since returning as prime minister.

Football interests, however, as they ponder the changes that will have to be implemented afterwards, contend that a proper assessment will have to be done should the law be passed.

Dennis Chung, general secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), argues that decisions would have to be made, including changing the JFF constitution to accept another parish association. Under the current constitution, 13 parish associations are recognised, with Kingston and St Andrew forming one body, Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA).

"I think the first thing that comes to mind is that we have the St Catherine Football Association that embodies Portmore. So if Portmore becomes a parish by itself, then the major implication is, do you have a 14th parish association, or do you keep them combined like KSAFA? Those are the decisions that will have to be made because obviously, there is an infrastructure that goes with it, so those are things that will have to be deliberated," said Chung.

It was a similar sentiment expressed by the President of the JFF, Michael Ricketts, who while being cautious in his response, proclaimed that should the decision be made, his administration would act justly and make the necessary changes, which might have Portmore getting a parish president.

"When and if Portmore becomes a parish, then they now ought to be treated as a parish. So, of course, we will be looking at how best we can now fit them into what is in our regulation. Portmore could very well have its own parish president or could join with maybe Kingston or St Catherine, but we will be looking at the possible options and ensure that the best one is instituted," said Ricketts.

President of the St Catherine Football Association, Elaine Walker-Brown, revealed that she was in a wait-and-see process.

"I don't know what will happen, so when we reach that bridge we will cross it," she exclaimed.

Peter Beckford, president of the Edgewater Football Association, stated that various members of his administration were already in dialogue about the possibility of Portmore becoming a parish.

"We've had talks with Portmore becoming a parish, and over the years, we in Portmore have been clamouring for a FA (Football Association) of our own. Right now, we could stick with St Catherine, and then if we see the need to branch off on our own in Portmore, we will take up the mandate.

"When you look at the dynamic, there is a diminished membership of Portmore clubs as there used to be in the region of 20 to 30-plus clubs, but now there's a diminished number of clubs, so I don't know if the fervour is still there," said Beckford.

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