By Neto Baptiste
Member of Parliament for the St. Paul’s constituency EP Chet Greene, said he will be writing to President of the Liberta Sports Club and former West Indies fast bowler, Kenneth Benjamin, requesting a meeting with the body’s executive in hopes of ventilating and possibly rectify any issues currently sullying the relationship between the two parties.
Greene, a former executive member of the body, made the disclosure when questioned about his current relationship with the sports club.
“Since becoming the representative of St. Paul’s . . . , I’ve worked quite closely, giving quite a bit of benefit and support to the activities of the club. I have my own feelings about some things, but I have the right to do that, what I would not do is to wash Liberta people linen in town, we will wash them at home and so what I can tell you is that I will be dispatching a letter to Kenneth Benjamin, the president, requesting a meeting with the executive of the club because there is quite a bit in the air that needs to be settled. I do not have any interest in running the club but I was born in Liberta, I am a former president of the club, a foundation member of the club and so anything in St. Paul’s and in this instance Liberta, impacts me and affects me,” he said.
Reports are that following last season’s championship run in the top flight of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association’s domestic programme, there has been some form of animosity between Greene and Benjamin.
The MP, last season, supported the club through a donation of two Toyota Vitz cars for raffle, the proceeds of which were intended to offset the costs associated with the Liberta Blackhawks’ participation in the competition.
Since then, Greene said he has not been offered the courtesy of a report by the club as to how much monies were raised via the venture, but that his support for the community is unwavering.
“When I made two cars available for raffle last year to the club, it was to make sure the club could have finances to meet its obligations to our athletes and develop our programmes. When I got the government to fix the basketball court it was in the hopes that the sports club would develop a basketball programme so that our youngsters would have basketball as part of their remit. When I gave support for netballers, it was for netball to be a part of the fabric of sports in the community. When I offered support for the return of volleyball, it was again for the same reason, to get volleyball on the calendar. When I did what I did for Jimbo’s [Rahkeem Cornwall] celebration, my cousin, Hayden’s [Hayden Walsh Jr.] celebration, and anything that I do, it is because I am a born Liberta man, and so nobody can stop me from being a part of that,” the MP said.
Greene said his aim is to unite all stakeholders in a common goal.
He has urged fans to keep supporting the team and it’s coach, Rowan Benjamin, as he believes the Blackhawks can, and will, make a solid run at defending their 2018/19 Premier Division title.
“Sports in Liberta began before I got there, it will be there after I have left and not only me, all of us who occupy the space at the moment. We are mere servants of the people and what is important is that we have a working relationship which brings the best out and delivers the best to our people and our community,” he said.
“You know the joy we had last year when we won the championship, that joy is now being sullied. But it is not done, because with about 12 rounds of matches, things can still happen. A winning streak of three matches could put Liberta back into the hunt, and so I am asking all of the people in Liberta to let’s re-double our efforts of commitment and support to the team, to the coach [Rowan Benjamin]. I know Benjamin is under immense pressure, I’ve heard people call for his head, but how can a coach, one year, win a cup and the next year it becomes so dastardly bad for the team, that he must be fired,” Greene added. Blackhawks, who had struggled without a win in six matches, broke out of their slump on Saturday, crushing Five Islands, 4-0 in Saturday’s opening match at the Antigua Recreation Grounds. They however, remain second from bottom in the 10-team standings with six points.