By Neto Baptiste
The committee charged with renaming the famed King George V Grounds, a recreational park within the Gray’s Green community, is not backing down from a decision to rename the facility in honour of former Empire and national footballer, Keithley “KS” Sheppard.
This is according to Secretary for the KS Recreational Park Committee, Micah Samuel, who agreed that the body could have held some consultations with members of the public but added the body will move ahead with the original plans.
“I will be the first to raise my hands because we didn’t have or held consultations with 6,000 people, and I know we live within a community of 22,000 people in an area of six square miles. We have a tendency down there where we articulate and sometimes our voices get a lot louder than the people who are pushing the wagon.
“In this case, we have some people who are against the naming, but not against the actual reality, the concept or the initiative of renaming the park. It’s just that they are saying that enough consultation wasn’t done. I haven’t heard one person mention that KS Sheppard doesn’t deserve the renaming tribute,” he said.
Earlier this month, Samuel revealed that Cabinet has agreed to the renaming of the facility in honour of the former footballer and cricketer and that an official ceremony was scheduled for January 14 next year.
Samuel said the recent decision to postpone the ceremony to April 14 is not in response to recent public backlash to the decision.
“Keithley Sheppard is currently in California and his first child is having a baby, I believe [in] the first week in February, so they have written to us requesting that we delay or defer the unveiling ceremony to the 14th of April, so we are working towards the 14th of April,” he said.
One other member of the committee, Jason “Mud Man” Shaw, said that although he was initially against the move, he has since come around.
“I never wanted it to be named after any individual or any club. However, when I was invited to the sessions I was convinced that it had to be renamed and I wasn’t prepared to procrastinate no more and I can’t go to 50 [years old] hearing this colonial name in King George because I’ve never met the man and I’ve never seen the man so I am satisfied the pasture will be renamed and so I gravitated towards it,” he said.
Since the announcement, a number of individuals have spoken in favour of and also against the move, calling for the committee to reconsider and instead, look at a more neutral name for the facility.