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By Neto Baptiste

Aspiring ABLP candidate for the All Saints East and St. Luke Constituency, Neil Cochrane, has pledged to rectify lighting issues at the McPond community field before the end of the year.

Cochrane, who is set to contest the party’s primary against Collin James who lost the seat by 10 votes in the 2018 general election, was responding to pleas from coach of the All Saints United football team and former national player, Schyan Jeffers, to have the issue rectified.

“Schyan can rest assured and rest on my commitment and my team’s commitment that we will work with them to resolve the lighting issues at the McPond playing field. At the moment, we have already had the wires run and the lights have been delivered for the basketball court, so it is just the rain that has stopped the installation, but as it relates to the football field and other playing areas there, we have lights as necessary to take care of that, as well as to look at the faults they are having,” he said.

Work at the facility, Cochrane said, could start as early as this week with hopes of completing the repairs and or installations by the end of December.

“We are going to work with them to resolve this, and this has nothing to do with waiting for a primary to be held and those kinds of things. This is my commitment to them, the people and to the youths that we will have that resolved. We will go and deal with them from next week, when I will have my people go and see what the challenge is, and then we will take it from there. We will resolve this hopefully, before the end of the year,” he said.

“We are also working on John Hughes and the guys over there who control there, and once the weather allows the field to dry enough so that we can start the installation, then the lights will be installed at John Hughes,” he added.  

Jeffers, a former national coach, said his concern is for the youth within the community who are seemingly gravitating to the street corners due to the absence of nightly sporting activities.

“The youth are going back to the corners because we can’t get to play any football because the lights [at McPond] are so horrible we can’t get to play, and it’s putting the youth in a different focus and it’s draining the community and we don’t want that. It started off with an electrical problem and then the lights started to go bad and everything just deteriorated from there,” he said. 

Cochrane, who is also president of the Antigua Turf Club (ATC), has also lit the Swetes basketball court with a pledge to upgrade other sporting facilities within the constituency.