The curtains came down on the Inter-Agency Task Force Hearts and Minds Under 25 Football 7s Tournament at St Paul Street Recreation Ground in Port of Spain with Beverly Hills toppling Laventille United 3-0 in the final on Saturday.
The boys from Beverly Hills took an early lead and were 2-0 ahead at half time before scoring another late item to seal the victory. Their goals came off from Isaiah Lewis, Keron Boyce and Curtis Romany before an appreciative crowd of just around 300 fans at the venue known as the “Quarry” which has been a stomping round for several past national players including Densill Theobald, Kerwyn Jemmot, Arnold Dwarika and Russell Latapy among others.
The eight-week tournament which was held in collaboration with the Miscellaneous Group and the Football 7 Association of T&T, saw over one hundred players from ten community teams come together for matches through the period with teams coming from areas such as Mentor Alley, Sea Lots, John John, Laventille, Beverly Hills, Beetham, Trou Macaque, Duncan Street, Sogren Trace and St Paul Street.
Community Activist and Community Liaison Officer for the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Hal Graves, fondly known as “Uncle Roy” heaped praises on the initiative of the Police Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) through the Hearts and Minds Programme to stage the tournament which he said brought borderline communities together during the period.
“I was very pleased to be at the finals of the tournament run in collaboration with Miscellaneous and the IATF. It has been a massive success. We had teams representing communities which months ago were shooting at each other and to see them come together and play largely without incident is phenomenal,” said Greaves.
“Peace has reigned throughout these communities, we have not had community upon community attack since the football started . There is a willingness to organize sporting events within the communities where the have invited other communities and former enemies and what we are seeing is the emergence of true community spirit. This augers well not just for the crime situation but the development of the youth,” Greaves added.
He noted that camaraderie throughout the tournament was outstanding.
“What developed between the crowned of people who had formerly been at war was outstanding. To see people from Block 8 and Beverly Hills, Hillview, John John coming down into St Paul Street, to see people from Beetham come and sit with people from John John, people from Sea Lots come across, people from the Crescent, Mango Rose, guys from up on top, John John, St Barbs, Mentor Alley, was just fantastic. If you told people three months ago this would happen this would say no. The coming together of communities where people would have said this is Muslim, this is Rasta, this is enemies, happened here and it was football and love.
“We are glad to have people like Miscellaneous on board with us because as we get these business community Police partnerships happening more, we are going to transform this country,” Graves concluded.