Melbourne Cricket Club President Mark Neita hopeful US Ambassador Perry can help revival of Jamaica's cricket

By September 05, 2022
USA Ambassador to Jamaica Noah Nickolas Perry with Melbourne Cricket Club President Mark Neita and long-time MCC Committee member,Monica Ho Sue. USA Ambassador to Jamaica Noah Nickolas Perry with Melbourne Cricket Club President Mark Neita and long-time MCC Committee member,Monica Ho Sue.

President of the Melbourne Cricket Club in Kingston Mark Neita believes their hosting of the induction of USA Ambassador Noah Nickolas Perry into the Cricket Hall of Fame could be an important moment for the development of Jamaica’s cricket.

Born in Jamaica, Ambassador Perry, an alum of Kingston College, helped promote the growth of the sport in the United States during his tenure as a New York State Assemblyman and earned him the right to be inducted. 

“I did everything I could to make sure that New York’s government recognized the importance of cricket to the Caribbean-American Diaspora and that we are given rights and privileges to use the public parks and public sites to play the game we love,” he said in his acceptance speech during the induction ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Club on Friday.

Neita is hopeful that as the US Ambassador to Jamaica, he will do the same in the country of his birth.

“I think it’s very significant. The fact is the United States of America is going to be the next big cricket market and when you have somebody like the ambassador, who is passionate about the game of cricket and is prepared to help, I think it bodes well for the future of a lot of our youngsters,” Neita told Sportsmax. TV.

“I certainly hope that now that he is an inductee in the Cricket Hall of Fame it will open up the channels for us to have a very robust discussion about cricket, how we can develop the game, how the connection between the United States and Jamaica can be strengthened, how we can get gears here at discounted prices because we all know that the duty on cricket gear is prohibitive sometimes for our youngsters to get fully clothed for a game.”

His last point about the cost of cricket gear was an issue brought up at the induction ceremony by Executive Chairman of the Hall of Fame Mike Chambers.

Chambers mentioned that gear costing US$400 (approximately JMD$61,000) that was donated in Jamaica attracted duties amounting to more than JMD$100,000.

Neita expounded, explaining that the exorbitant duty has put a damper on the sport in Jamaica.

“The fact of the matter is that the high cost of the gear has a very negative impact on our young cricketers,” he said.

“It is almost up to the club for us to help to support the cricketers with all their gear because the reality is this; for a young player, say 12 or 13 years old, to be fully suited with a cricket bat, pair of pads, helmet, thigh pads, boots you’re talking about 60 to 70 thousand Jamaican dollars, and most of that is duty.

I just had an experience recently where I brought in a pair of cricket boots for one of my young cricketers because it was unavailable here, it cost me 35,000 Jamaican dollars just for duty alone and the shoes cost 120 Pounds; I mean that to me is just ridiculous.

 “Look around, you have fewer people playing cricket, fewer schools playing cricket and so we need to start about how to do something for the sport.”

He hopes that Ambassador Perry will be able to help with matters such as this.

“And this is why this is so important. I am sorry there weren’t members of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) here but this is a significant moment for us and I think this ambassador is passionate about the sport and I am almost certain that he is going to be a big asset to turn back some of that negativity when it comes to pricing the gear and the connection between Jamaica and the United States, so this is very positive,” Neita said.

“We are excited about this. I think it’s a significant event and I think the future is very bright for this collaboration between the US and Jamaica in terms of cricket.”

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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