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“We need to demonstrate the power of sport in Trinidad and Tobago to make a positive difference in our communities and in our beloved country,” recommended TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene with his focus on the current state of crime in Trinidad and Tobago.

“On every occasion, I stress and urge our clubs to understand that their success and the sustainability of clubs and the TT Pro League is to work in building relationships in their respective communities,” continued Skeene, speaking at the official launch of the 2011-2012 Digicel Pro League Championship on Wednesday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium VIP Lounge.

“The League offers our best coaching and playing talent and the pathway to build a career out of their passion and God given talent.

“Not withstanding that the TT Pro League is in a constant battle, today I speak with you on the backdrop of a State of Emergency with the sad vivid images of hundreds of young Trinidadian men in what have been dumped hotspot communities.”

On the Sunday 21 August the Trinidad and Tobago Government issued a limited State of Emergency with curfew hours between 9pm and 5am in six crime “hotspot” areas in north, east, south and central Trinidad in a bid to clamp down on criminal elements.

The “hotspot” deemed areas are the City of Port of Spain, the City of San Fernando, the Borough of Arima, the Borough of Chaguanas, the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation and the Diego Martin Regional Corporation.

The State of Emergency originally installed for a 15-day period, was on Sunday extended for a further three months—ending in November with an 11pm to 4pm curfew.

“The League is impacted in one way or the other,” continued the distraught Skeene.

“Every community is our community. The League has clubs representing in all of the various communities in Trinidad and Tobago.

“And we are supposed to utilize football as the vehicle to change the lives of the youths and future leaders of our country.

“As we launch the start of our new season, which I still believe will be a tremendous and exciting season. Let us all be inspired by the challenges we face. Let us realize that professional sport is not the problem but part of the solution.

“Sport is part of the cure. So let us with determination and an isolatable built be resilient and resolute to raise our status and engage with our respective communities through project HOPE(Helping Others Everyday is a Priority).

“Of course the Ministry of Sport and our sponsors are important and we thank them for sharing our vision.

“But let me also urge all stakeholders to see beyond the kicking of the ball and winning trophies. Let us focus on striving for excellence but in doing so, appreciate that we have a profound responsibility to eachother, our communities not only in local football, but the effort for peace and positive process in T&T,” said Skeene, a former T&T international.

The 2011-2012 Digicel Pro League Championship begins on Friday with a “Super Friday” double header at the Marvin Lee Stadium. DIRECTV North East Stars are against newcomers T&TEC FC from 5pm and Caledonia AIA against defending champions Defence Force from 7pm.

Round One Match Day One continues on Saturday with the newly dubbed “Fiesta Saturday” at the Ato Boldon Stadium. Police are up against Adam’s Construction San Juan Jabloteh from 4pm and W Connection against St. Ann’s Rangers from 6pm.