Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club has made great strides
--Says Secretary By Jeune Bailey Van-Keric
Guyana Chronicle
February 27, 2004

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THE Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club has made great strides over the past years, Club Secretary Mr Hubert Foster has reported. Mr Forster made this disclosure during an interview with the Chronicle last week.

The first ever cricket academy in Berbice was organised by the Club in August 2002 with an attendance of 72 youths, who were taught the skills of the game by Renwick Batson and Esuan Crandon.

The Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTYSC) is also reported to be the first such institution to have a Berbice Cricket Hall of Fame, and the only recreational facility to have four official sponsors in Courts Guyana Inc., Bakewell, Farfan and Mendes Limited, and Sprint 151.

Foster said that in addition to being history makers, the RHTYSC lists among its achievements the nurturing of cricketers including 14 junior and three first class players; 24 players for all levels of Berbice Divisional Cricket; one player each for the West Indies at the Under 15 and Under 19 levels; and another for the West Indies Cricket Academy in Grenada.

The Secretary also disclosed that restoration work at the lower Corentyne Secondary School was accomplished with the Club’s financial assistance of $4M, while club members single-handedly transformed the Area ‘H’ Rose Hall Ground from swampland into a modern sport facility by investing $20M. The ground now has two pavilions, and all-weather court, a spectators’ bleacher, two score boards, an outdoor bar, boundary boards and side screens.

On an annual basis, the RHTYSC holds an awards ceremony at which in excess of $800,000 in prizes are given to outstanding youths in the fields of sports, culture and education.

It also hosts an annual $5M anti-drug and pro-education campaign that targets 60,000 youths in Regions Five and Six, and, also operates a $3M annual charity programme that assists less fortunate families with basic amenities.

One-on-one tutoring in the Sprint 151-sponsored Reading Project for Primary School pupils organised by the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club.

Foster reported that the period 2002-2003 has been very successful for the Club, whose two new television programmes, “Melodies and Memories” and “Soulful Moments” were launched along with three new television public service messages on drug abuse, education and racism.

In addition, a new $10M Youth Centre was opened by the Club, which now serves as the Head Office and includes two dressing rooms, a counseling room, a computer centre, and conference hall. A $1M modern gym, which His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo has visited, was also established two years ago.

The Club was represented at the United Nations-sponsored special session on the Rights of Children held in New York, USA to focus on governmental policies for children around the world, and to hear from young leaders their views on problems.

The Sports Club, the brainchild of St. Francis Xavier Community Developers, was formed in May 1990 with the aim of offering sports, culture, and education as alternatives to life on the streets. Its objective is to help youths become spiritually included and to improve sports activities in the township and the surrounding villages.

Despite the RHTYSC’s various achievements, there are a few problems affecting is smooth operation, said Mr. Foster.

He explained that the economic situation in Guyana has resulted in the Club facing the difficult option of closing down some of its activities and programmes due to a shortfall of revenue. The Club’s anti-drug and pro-education campaign faces the greatest threat as several donors and supporters have been forced to scale down contributions.

The Club, Foster said, is reviewing its plans with the aim of working within the funds available. This would mean reducing some programmes and projects.

The RHTYSC, he noted, is very saddened at the turn of events since members are now reaping the fruits of the hard work begun 13 years ago.

However, he posited, the Club’s greatest challenge at the moment is to reduce the annual costs of transportation and photocopying, which account for about 40 percent of their annual operation budget. Club leaders are mulling the purchase of a minibus and photocopier and plan seeking donations in order to acquire these items.

Another major problem for the institution is the monthly electricity bill of over $15,000. This is so because the power company charges the Club based on commercial rates. All efforts to have the Club put on a domestic rate have failed, Foster lamented.

Despite those challenges, the Club’s projections for this year include restoration work at the Area ‘H’ Ground. This work will entail the construction of boundary boards, a modern scoreboard, a Benab, and adequate water facilities. The Club plans to expand its evening classes and reading projects.

The RHTYSC Secretary feels that the negative attitude of the Mayor and Town Council towards youth development is delaying the formation of a management committee for the Area ‘H’ Ground.

However, Foster pointed out that it was hard work, togetherness and faith in the youths along with the leadership’s zero tolerance on indiscipline that had brought about the Club’s success.

He noted that the support of official sponsors and hundreds of other persons or agencies had contributed to their achievements. Foster singled out for special words of gratitude Courts Guyana Inc., GT&T, Bakewell, Sprint 151, Farfan and Mendes, Ansal McAl, Banks DIH Limited, Guyana Beverage, Mings, MACORP, GUYOIL, and Metro.