The Daren Sammy Cricket Ground finally came alive this past Saturday evening after months without any sporting activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic and protocols put in place.
At least 500 sports enthusiasts were treated to three Charity football encounters, in an effort to raise much-needed funding for students from Gros Islet and its environs who were successful in this year’s Common Entrance Examination.
The man behind the scene, Dr. Venus Cherry, a Saint Lucian by birth who resides in the U.S.A spoke to The VOICE about the Charity Football showpiece.
“I have been here since March 6th, caught up between Covid -19 lockdown/curfew and the state of emergency and decided to use my time on island to help the Gros Islet Community in any way I can”.
How this initiative came to fruition: “I had a previous initiative going on where in collaboration with Safe/ Rise Saint Lucia we embarked on a mission to provide electronic devices to the children throughout the country, with the Covid -19 pandemic, the school children were doing their work from home. We knew that many disadvantaged children would not be able to have a device to do their work.”
According to Venus, they were able to provide 245 devices and have another 150 devices they will be getting in the coming days to distribute evenly throughout the country, especially to the secondary schools.
He said, “I have another initiative going on where I am collecting Text Books, so whoever have Text Books to give away, bring it to me and in turn, I will give it to anyone who comes with a booklist”.
Venus also spoke to the Principal from the Gros Islet Primary School; she confirmed that there are 46 students from Gros Islet primary who sat the Common Entrance Examination in June, 43 of them were placed in a secondary school.
He said, “Most people in Gros Islet are not working at present and as you may be aware there was a virtual Friday Night in order to raise funds to assist the majority of these individuals, it’s a while now, so it’s no way that money is still sitting there waiting for them to purchase school supplies”.
“There is a saying it takes a village to raise a child. As you can see, a number of sports enthusiasts came to support the six participating teams”. What bring people together more than sports? I played for Gros Islet and Saint Lucia and I know the rivalry between Northern and Sea View and the crowd that they bring, so I figured why not bring some heads together and see how much we can put this together”.
Organization time: I spoke to the Northern players and head coach, Francis Mc Donald, and even if they are not playing because of some teething issues with the Saint Lucia Football Association Inc they were very instrumental in getting this organized with me. I also have Francis Lastic, he’s on board one hundred percent; Lastic went way beyond the call of duty to make this a success by bringing in other teams”.
Quota: “There is no cap, we just know, Gros Islet has 46 students; Grande Riviere is between 15 – 20 students, and not sure for the numbers for Monchy Combined. When we say Gros Islet we truly mean Gros Islet to include its environs. So there is no fixed figure, whatever we get in dollars and cents it will go to all those successful students, so their parents can purchase their books, uniforms, shoes etc”.
Transportation for the students: “We have also spoken to the Gros Islet Mini Bus Association to work out a deal with us where these successful students will get a card and they will be transported to and from school for free”.
The making of this: I sent out a number of letters to all business establishments in the north of the island and the response has been overwhelming. We have the likes of South Shoe Store; Pizza Pizza; Dominoes; Blue Waters; Massy Stores; Cell Saint Lucia; Shop Box; Rasco; Tiles Plus; La Place Salaizon; Golden Taste Restaurant; the Ice Factory; Computer World; Dax Supermarket; Sol Gas Station; Galaxy Gas Station; Golden Taste Restaurant and to include a number of individuals, they all came on board, they gave whatever little that they had towards this event”.
According to Venus, “I have other individuals who said, I want a name of a child and I will sponsor that particular child”.
Thank You: Dr. Venus took the time to thank all the media houses present. He said, “To be honest this can be overwhelming; to all the people who encourage me I say thank you. The Saint Lucia Fire Service, the Tapion Hospital for proving the safety protocols to include the temperature devices.
Meanwhile, in the matches played: Gros Islet Veterans (GIV) defeated All Blacks – Dennery Veterans 3-2. The goal scorers for GIV, Sherman Sylvester in the 17th minute; Eli Parkinson in the 32nd minute and Marlon Martin in the 39th minute. For ABDV, Claudius Monnerville in the 40th and 43rd minute.
In the second encounter, North Stars defeated Sea View 4-3, for North Stars, the goals scorers were – Iran Hunte in the 29th minute; Veto Lawrence in the 52nd minute; Troy Greenidge in the 66th minute and Nehemiah Morille in the 85th minute. For Sea View, the goal scorers were – Z. Theodore in the 6th minute; Zacherius Jones in the 50th minute and Curly St.Clair in the 60th minute.
The final encounter on the evening ended 1-1 between Monchy and Platinum, both goals came from the penalty spot.