The announcement was made by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Sports, Honourable Shawn Richards, on Friday, February 14, 2020, during a ceremony to rename the St. Peter’s Playing Field the Atiba Erasto Harris Sporting Complex.
Atiba Harris is a football icon from St. Peter’s, who played for the St. Kitts and Nevis Senior National Football Team representing the country more than 60 times. According to his profile on mlssoccer.com, Harris has played abroad in England and Spain with Newcastle United, Cadiz CF, and Club Deportivo Linares. In 2008, he made his debut with Chivas USA in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States. He played for several MLS teams up until 2017. Atiba is beloved in St. Kitts and Nevis and actively supports various community efforts in St. Peter’s including the community football and basketball teams as well as the primary school.
Deputy Prime Minister Richards noted that since the government took office in 2015, three of the five major sporting facilities have been renamed in honour of national icons. This started in 2015 with the Kim Collins Athletics Stadium in Bird Rock in honour of the world champion sprinter. Then in 2019, the Mansion Playing Field was renamed in honour of the legendary cricketer James Bernell Harris-Matthew. The Atiba Erasto Harris Sporting Complex is the third.
“This government is willing to recognize persons if you have been able to excel,” Honourable Richards stated. “Very recently, we took a decision to put a committee in place to make recommendations to the government in terms of honouring our sporting icons here in St. Kitts and Nevis. Coming out of that, of course, we expect that very shortly more facilities, roads etc will be named after persons.”
The deputy prime minister encouraged current athletes of all ages to remain committed and work hard to excel in sports so that they too can serve as an inspiration to persons of all ages like Atiba and be immortalized in national history.