By Neto Baptiste
Former prime minister and former parliamentary representative for the St John’s Rural West Constituency, Baldwin Spencer, insists he did not neglect the development of sports and sporting facilities within the constituency but said he was forced to choose between expanding the educational offerings in the area and improving some of the facilities in the area.
“It’s not that we weren’t conscious but in the context of the time it presented certain challenges and we had to prioritize. For instance, we had to determine whether or not we would have gone for the secondary school in Five Islands as opposed to development with the community center or the King George development park, and so not that we weren’t conscious but it was a question of what we felt was a priority,” he said.
Spencer, who also headed the Empire Football Club for many years, was an influential figure in the club’s success in the past. He has also sponsored a number of teams and clubs within the constituency.
The former PM who served for 10 years spanning 2004 to 2014, labelled as “unfortunate” a decision by the now ALP government to utilise the Five Islands facility for the University of the West Indies (UWI) campus.
“It’s unfortunate that something else developed after the facility was put there because we were responding to a great need at the time to educate and open the doors for secondary education for a wider cross section of youngsters in the Gray’s Green community and elsewhere but the new government had different plans and so we know what would have happened to that. The understanding was that after that we would have concentrated on both the community center and the King George development,” he said. In a recent interview, Spencer said sports and the rivalry that came with it, has played a pivotal role in the positive development of the Gray’s Farm, Greenbay and surrounding communities.