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In 1983, the famous American singer Anne Murray, gave us the song, ‘A Little Good News’. The song basically talks about all the bad things happening in the world and that it would be nice to get up one morning to pick up the newspaper and not see any bad news. Well, with all the bad things that have been reported in our little Trinidad & Tobago recently, I would like to share a little good news.

It has become the norm to despise some of the youth of our nation, especially those who hail from so called ‘rough communities’. However, I am here to let you know that there are productive and promising young people striving to succeed in these ‘hot spot’ communities.

Today I want to highlight two young persons from the community of Bayshore, Marabella, which is part of the train line in Marabella. Fayola Jack and Jahreem George are both teenagers and National Rugby Players who have represented Trinidad and Tobago at international tournaments, including Commonwealth Youth Games, CAC Games, PanAm Games and Rugby Americas North (RAN) Tournaments. They were both nominated as the First Citizens Sports Foundation Youth Players of the year 2018 for the sport of rugby. Both Fayola and Jahreem are nineteen years old, and are active members on the Senior Men’s & Women’s National Rugby Teams, with Jahreem also being and integral member of the Men’s Under 19 Team.

The love for the sport, hard work, dedication and discipline have certainly started to bear fruit in an environment that may be less conducive for success. However, they are fortunate to be living in the only Rugby Village in Trinidad and Tobago. Yes, the number one sport in the Bayshore Train Line Village in Marabella is Rugby, where even the smallest child knows the sport.

Over the years the Rainbow Sports, Culture and Social Organization has produced several elite National Rugby Players, like Mark Hamilton, David Straker, Agboola Silverthorn and many more. The Rainbow Rugby Club was founded by Mr. Rudolph Jack who is also the current President. His vision, for over thirty-five years, is to use the sport of rugby as a means of steering the young people away from a life of crime. The challenges in achieving this vision have been many and varied over the years, but with the valleys also came the mountains. ‘The race is not for the swift, but for those who endures to the end’. Mr. Jack has over the last few years, taken rugby to other communities in the south, namely Guapo, Sobo Village, Moruga and Mafekin, just to name a few.

Fayola recently represented the Trinidad & Tobago Senior Women’s National Sevens Team at the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens / 2020 Olympic Qualifier in the Cayman Islands and the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru in July 2019. She brings to the team a level of professionalism, aggression, fearlessness and skill that makes her an integral part of the squad.

Being the youngest of ten siblings, eight of whom are rugby players and her father being the founder and president of Rainbow RFC, it is as though Fayola is destined for this course. She is presently assisting her father with coaching rugby at various schools in the south at the moment. As a continuation of her rugby career and future, Fayola is also working hard towards going abroad to play with a club and pursue her first love to become a professional rugby player. One of her career options is also becoming a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. She has been a member of the Senior Women’s National Rugby Team from the age of thirteen and is a very aggressive, no nonsense type of player, who gives it all on the rugby pitch.

We wish her all the favour and success as she pursues her dreams and fulfil God’s plan for her life.

Jahreem George is an integral part of the Men’s Under 19 National Rugby Team that placed third in the 2019 Rugby Americas North (RAN) Men’s Under 19 Tournament, from July 18 to 21, 2019 in Barbados. In the third place playoff, he stepped up and scored three of the four tries to help his team secure a bronze medal. He hails from a family of six siblings, three of whom actively play rugby with Rainbow RFC, with his elder brother Johnason Alleyne also being a National Rugby Player. Like Fayola, Jahreem’s dream is also to be a professional rugby player, but that may mean having to migrate to a Pro Rugby Team abroad at some stage, since that avenue does not currently exist in Trinidad & Tobago. He has made a total of three tours with the Senior Men’s National Sevens Team over the last couple of years, as one of the youngest players on the team, and by all accounts, he performed admirably. Focused, determined, disciplined are just a few adjectives to describe this young man who, like Fayola is destined for greatness in the sport of rugby and anything he diligently puts his mind to. We also wish him great success in all his endeavors.

Fayola and Jahreem may be two of the recent success stories thus far, but there are a few in the community who have started on this rugby course and have fallen away either due to a deviant lifestyle and even lost their lives in the process. The struggle is real, and we need all hands on deck. The family structure, the church, the sporting bodies, the business community, the government and such, need to work together for the good of our children’s future. Sport can and should be one of the distractions from a life of crime, but a lot more needs to be invested in terms of human resource, mentoring and finances. It always seems as though the persons with the heart and vision for the youth through sport, seldom ever have the resources to fulfil the call. ‘Those who have ears, let them hear.’

I want to make a plea to the rugby community, the village, family, friends and all persons interested in positivity for our youth and nation building, to encourage and support them in their honourable pursuits. There is so much negativity around and so much tears being shed, that we long for some good news when the sun rises. Let us lift up our youth, for ‘Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve’.

Jahreem George

Fayola Jack