For the second time in recent weeks, the administration of Omega Cares Incorporated (OCI) has broken ground for the construction of multipurpose recreational facility that includes a basketball court and a gymnasium with a seating capacity of 200, near the SKD Sports Complex.
The ceremony, which took place on Monday, December 19, at the Right to Play Conference Hall, adjacent the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, coincided with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Youth & Sports and OCI to work closely to see that the design meets its required standard.
Gajay Ananaba exchanged notes with Minister Wilson after signing the MOU.
The facility is a gift from Mr. Charles L. Ananaba, a former basketball player and his wife Patricia, who have retired as CEO and vice president for administration of Omega Insurance Group (OIG), respectively. OIG is the parent company of Omega Cares.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Youth & Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson was hopeful that the facility, when completed will not only help in the unearthing and nurturing of talents but also serve as a place of entertainment for people in the community. He said the facility has the potential to benefit young people in the community, especially between the ages of eight and 17.
Minister Wilson praised the company and its executives for the initiative, noting that it will meet the recreational needs of young people who reside in the area.
Wilson further told the residents that Mr. Ananaba is one of the best that Liberia could ever boast of when it comes to basketball.
“So, when they approached me on the project I was so excited about the idea, because somebody who played sports in this country, particularly basketball, has an NGO that wants to help modernize the facility here for the young children. It was something that we thought it was laudable to honor it,” he said.
Gajay Ananaba, president and chief executive officer of Omega Insurance Group Limited, expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Youth & Sports family and residents of ELWA Community for allowing them to construct the facility.
Speaking on behalf of the founder of Omega Cares, Mrs. Patricia Ananaba, Gajay believes that when the project is completed, it will become a talent development hub in the area.
He said his parents, who are also athletes, always had to go out of the city to play basketball. He said it is because of the need for a recreational facility that the company decided to undertake the initiative.
Gajay added, “It is said to whom much is given, much is expected,” he said, noting that their family has been blessed by God. “Therefore, we want to break ground today to establish a closed gymnasium for basketball. And it will provide playing time and protect our children, keep them out of the streets, and they can have a life of playing [and] enjoying sports.”
“I am happy, and I am proud that we can give back to the community. We want to say that we have been blessed as a family. But we must give back. And this is why we are building this closed gymnasium for the youth in this area,” he said.
According to him, his family’s aim is to see children in Liberia becoming useful in society, rather than being in the streets. He also clarified that his parents are not constructing these basketball courts for political reasons, “because it is not in our mind.”
He said work on the facility will begin Monday, December 24 and is expected to be completed in three months. Meanwhile, the construction of the ELWA basketball court is the second initiative that the foundation is carrying out. The first project is ongoing in the Brewerville community, north of Monrovia.