Kevin Mullings – a special talent that should be nurtured

September 16, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

By Michael Benjamin  

The debate has been intense and many are questioning at what period is the proverbial ‘impressionable age?’

Kevin Mullings

Kevin Mullings

Some have labeled this period during adolescence when they believe that youths can best be molded. Kevin Mullings is a typical example of this theory and is at that time of his life when the proverbial ‘tree could be bent;’ at ten years old he seems set to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in the ‘square jungle.’
Kevin lives in Albouystown, an area that is unfairly stigmatized as a community of bad folks. Contrary to this belief, ‘Almantown,’ as the area is commonly known, has produced top sportsmen, academics and notable citizens the likes of Mayor Hamilton Green, former WBA welterweight champion, Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis and Professor at the University of Guyana, Sociologist, Andrew Hicks among other notables.
Maybe Lewis’ feat a decade ago has inspired the youths of the ghetto to the extent that several gyms have since mushroomed in Albouystown and resulted in the discovery of worthwhile talent in the fistic sport. The Andrew Lewis Boxing Gym is a gift to that community in recognition of Lewis’ world title feat, while head of the People’s Syndicate Promotions, Keith ‘Buckilo’ Bazilio had bought a building and converted it into the Forgotten Youth Foundation Boxing Gym. Further down, to the western end of the community, is the Harpy Eagles Boxing Gym, where Kevin hones his skills under the tutelage of James Walcott.
The youngster exists under very humble circumstances, as had Lewis before he found his destiny in the fistic sport, and believes that boxing could be the catalyst to his personal and eventually professional development. Therefore, it was a blessing when the Demerara Distillers Ltd responded to a call from the executives of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) and sponsored an U-16 Boxing tournament with the aim of providing a platform for young pugilists to expel stored up energies even as they pursue what could possibly be a lifetime vocation.
The first edition occurred some two years ago and many of the boxers in the advanced stage of their amateur careers could attest to the effectiveness of the initiative. Over the past weekend the nation’s Simon Pures were once again in action and it was really a joy to behold as those pugilists engaged in fistic competition. Amongst the many boxers, Kevin Mullings stood out with a thrilling display that earned him a well deserved minority decision over Shaquancy Wright (EBG).
It was a display of guts, determination and skill and Mullings was justly rewarded with the Best Boxer award and a few prizes to go with it. Welterweight Contender champion, Jamaican, Sakima Mullings viewed the bout and was truly impressed to the point that he handed over a special prize to his namesake.
Indeed, one must tip their hat to the DDL and the GBA for the sterling initiative but naturally the question of progression arises. Here is where I wish to encourage those businessmen and women with a nationalistic verve to support initiatives of a similar nature and reach out to the less fortunate youths bent on law abiding lives but challenged by the absence of the most basic requirements to do so.
Kevin is another firm example of the talent nestling in the ghetto in need of that extra support to realize their dreams. He is truly an exceptional talent and deserves support to achieve lofty goals. He is talent to watch!

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$1B Revised Laws of Guyana project…Lawyer says incomplete, incorrect volumes can cause litigation

September 14, 2014 | By | Filed Under News 

There is mounting evidence of serious and numerous errors in contained in the Revised Laws of Guyana released by

Christopher Ram

Christopher Ram

Government in March, said commentator, Christopher Ram.
Describing the omissions as colossal incompetence that has implications for judges, magistrates, lawyers and administrators, Ram, an accountant and lawyer by profession, in a telephone interview, said the errors are so grave that the only sensible option at this stage is for the complete withdrawal of those laws.
“This is to ensure that they are properly edited by competent technocrats properly supervised before being released.”
The issue was addressed in Ram’s blog chrisram.net last week under the caption –”The Laws of Guyana – Incomplete and Incorrect”.
Kaieteur News understands that the Law Revision project was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of more than US$5M ($1B). “IDB should immediately disassociate itself from this monumental embarrassment which should be placed squarely at the feet of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Anil Nandlall, Chairman of the Law Revision Commission.”
Other members of the Commission were Mr. Ashton Chase, OE, SC; retired Justice Madame Claudette Singh, CCH; Mr. Cecil Dhurjon, CCH, SC, Chief Parliamentary Counsel, and Mr. Charles Fung-A-Fat, Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel.
The lawyer contrasted the “negligent work” of Nandlall’s Commission and the “amateur performance” of the technocrats in the Ministry of Legal Affairs with the flawless quality of the last revision in 1977 under Sir Sridath Ramphal, Bryn Pollard and their team, in an era when computers were still largely unknown.

Missing pieces
Ram said he believes that any corrective measure requires a professionally led, interested Law Revision Commission that takes its work seriously, “with the actual work being done by competent technocrats. Both of these were missing in this fifth attempt by the PPP/C to publish laws.”
According to Ram’s blog, one of the problems involved the Forest Act which carries a Note on Subsidiary Legislation stating that: “The Forests Regulations have been omitted as new comprehensive Forests Regulations are shortly to be made.” And in relation to the mining sector a Note of Subsidiary Legislation in the front page of the Mining Act states: “Subsidiary legislation made under this Act have been omitted due to the advanced stage of preparation of new comprehensive subsidiary legislation”.
He pointed out that close to four years since the effective date of the Revised Laws those new comprehensive Forests Regulations have still not been published. “Apparently, neither “advanced stage” nor “shortly” connotes imminent to the Ministry of Legal Affairs.”
Ram pointed out that the Law Revision Act under which the exercise was carried out requires that the Laws of Guyana must also include a chronological list of Acts, a table of contents and an index. “The Laws of Guyana as published include neither a chronological list of Acts nor an index. The failure to include a list of laws omitted, a chronological list of Acts, and an index means that the Laws of Guyana as published themselves do not comply with the law. Without being facetious, the laws are themselves lawless.”
“Significant though those omissions were, if they were indeed the only omissions, they may have been considered tolerable from a theoretical perspective, although the practical effect of the omissions would be of some consequence.”
Ram noted that the National Accreditation Council Act of 2004 does not even appear in the current laws despite the fact that it was never been repealed. “Meanwhile the Council continues to operate within the framework of a nonexistent law.”

Litigation
Ram said that he had over the past several weeks, had cause to review a number of legislation. “Almost without exception they are errors of either omission or commission meaning that things that ought to be included in the Laws of Guyana are excluded, or things that are included ought to have been excluded. One of the errors in the tax laws could give rise to unnecessary litigation and cause losses to the revenue of the country.”
Ram noted that in the case of the Tax Act which is used daily by attorneys, the courts and the business sector, the changes brought about by a number of amending acts were completely ignored, leaving the act as published without several key inserts. The revised laws even retained a number of provisions that were later removed by the National Assembly.
Ram described that but for the seriousness of the matter, the statement by Nandlall that the laws are to December 31, 2010 while certain of them were updated to 2012, would be “laughable”. He said that this was “completely unacceptable and unprecedented” in the history.
The commentator said that while legal officers and practitioners are entitled to assume that the laws published under the Law Revision Act are complete and accurate, in Guyana that would be a risky assumption to make. “The laws are neither complete nor accurate. The impact of such errors on the administration of justice could be substantial. What if an issue to be resolved by the court by reference to the Companies Act, or indeed any other Act, touches on a point of the law that is a victim of one of these errors?”
The lawyer suggest that one solution may be one of the solutions may be the completion of the index, the chronological list of Acts and the list of the laws omitted. “The other is an immediate and competent review and edit of the entire eighteen volumes to make sure they are complete and correct. In the interest of the proper administration of justice, this has to be done. No legal system can function properly if the laws as published are inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable.”
Ram said that Minister Nandlall has to own up to his own contribution to the messy state of the laws. “He owes the country not only an apology but what he is doing about correcting the several defects.”
He said that once again, the taxpayers are burdened with the cost of incompetence by a governmental entity. “No doubt all of those involved were handsomely rewarded, and no doubt too no one would be held responsible for the embarrassing result of their efforts. Meanwhile, those who purchased copies of the laws must feel particularly aggrieved. In fact they would seem to have a legitimate case for a refund of their money. Those who decided not to expend $825,000 on the laws may feel vindicate”, Ram concluded.

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Fitness Express sponsors airfare for Mr. Guyana CAC participation

September 12, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Reigning Mr. Guyana Kerwyn Clarke is aiming for the gold medal at the 42nd edition of the Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Championships (CACBFF) on October 4-5 in St. Maarten.

Jamie Mc Donald (left) hands over the cheque to Mr. Guyana Kerwyn Clarke.

Jamie Mc Donald (left) hands over the cheque to Mr. Guyana Kerwyn Clarke.

Long time sponsor and supporter, Fitness Express has once again energized Clarke making it possible for him to be on stage in St. Maarten. Owner/Manager Jamie Mc Donald in handing over the cheque to Clarke stated that he was once again very pleased to be associated with the top Guyana bodybuilder.
“Fitness Express is once again very delighted to be associated with Clarke and his endeavour to bring back the gold medal at this year’s CAC competition. We have been following and supporting his progress over the years and we know that he would be successful, thus our decision to support him.”
Mc Donald has been supporting bodybuilding and sports ever since opening for business a few short years ago and according to him, will continue to give back to ensure development of Guyana’s athletes.
Clarke, who won bronze in the Welterweight category at last year’s competition said he is going after the elusive gold this time around and is grateful to Fitness Express for their partnership.
“I would like to thank Fitness Express for their continued support to me, I really do appreciate it.”
Despite being taken down by influenza for a short period which impacted on his preparations, Clarke said that he is up and running again and has regained his composure as he puts things together to bring back the top prize.
“My confidence is very high at the moment and I am very focused on the task at hand and can’t wait to get on stage next month to make myself and country proud.”
The Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation (GABBFF) named five athletes who will compete in St. Maarten, Clarke in the Under-164lbs category, Devon Davis (Flyweight Under-132lbs) class, USA based Bruce Whatley, Caerus Cipriani who will be the first Guyanese to compete in the Men’s Physique competition and female, Alisha Fortune set to strut her stuff in the Miss Body Fitness competition.
The GABBFF will be holding a fund raising bar-b-que to support the team on Saturday September 27 at the Victoria Law Chambers, South Road from13:00hrs. Tickets are $1000 and can be obtained from any member of the federation’s executive.

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Former Golden Jaguars Captain, Chris Nurse, lashes out at GFF

September 12, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Guyana’s bid to qualify into the second round of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU)

The Guyana team that took on Barbados on October 6, 2011.

The Guyana team that took on Barbados on October 6, 2011.

Men’s Caribbean Cup tournament recently in St Kitts & Nevis ended dismally with the local team finishing in the third place spot with a goal difference of -4.
While some have lauded the efforts of a team they feel is now gelling, one of Guyana’s leading defensive midfield players and undoubtedly the most successful Captain, Chris Nurse, in a letter dispatched to the GFF President some time ago, has vented his disappointment and disgust at the treatment and apparent exclusion of overseas based players by the GFF selection committee.
Mr. Nurse is aggrieved over the contents of an interview aired on the National Communication Network (NCN) and stated that a number of national team players both in Guyana and overseas have contacted him to express anger and disgust while stating that they felt disrespected.
“The perceived interpretation of these comments is hurtful and disrespectful to all national team players whether home based or overseas,” Nurse wrote. He remains adamant that officials of the GFF are out of line to pronounce against any player of Guyanese nationality, wherever they may reside, that represents Guyana even as he referred to the FIFA constitution. “Each of the senior players of the 2011/2012 national team has met the criteria to represent Guyana otherwise they simply would not have been allowed to participate,” Nurse pointed out.
He further argued that though he was born in London England, he has strong family lineage to Guyana through his father, grandparents, uncle, sister, nephew, cousins and a host of other attachments.
“I am extremely proud to be able to represent Guyana; it is in my heart and in my blood and I will not let anyone rob me of that privilege,” Nurse stated matter of factly. He also stated that his achievements and feats all rub off positively on Guyana.
“Your comments reek of ignorance, and instigate segregation and fascism against your own people; whilst it is your job to foster unity and fight for one cause, you are merely facilitating division and segregation,” declared Nurse in his correspondence to Matthias.
The national ball weaver said that if Guyana is indeed serious of emulating Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Costa Rica among other countries, fielding teams at the World Cup level, then football administrators will have to change their blinkered approach to team selection.
“Eighty percent of their players consist of overseas based players; Costa Rica has Joel Campbell, a tremendous talent from Arsenal now playing in Spain; are you saying he does not merit selection simply because he is not resident in his country?”
Nurse rhetorically queried.  He also posits that by that measure the United States of America ought not to have selected Brooks, Green, Diskerud, Chandler, Jones and Johannsson to its national squad. “If the mighty USA with 3 full-fledged professional leagues, hundreds  of stadia, and the well established amateur collegiate system go the route of selecting overseas based players, why must officials of the GFF frown upon such strategies?” Nurse wants to know.
He also feels that Matthias in his capacity of President of the GFF should generate funding while engaging worldwide corporate support. Further, he is adamant that Matthias’ decision not to recognize foreign based Guyanese players could prove counter-productive as he would fail in his endeavor to attract broad based support from the corporate communities that regard those same players with respect.
Nurse also lashed out on Matthias’ administrative ability and what he termed a lack of transparency; “all promises made and were to be the foundation of your administration, yet 15 months later here we are, still to see the fruition of these promises!” declared an exasperated Nurse.
He maintains that following participation of the Golden Jaguars in the 2014 World Cup Qualifier, the GFF administration had inherited a globally marketable unit but failed to capitalize.
“We tided by devoid of adequate facilities, no league matches, minimal certified or qualified coaches and a struggling economy; the Federation was in possession of the best football asset, a team performing beyond its means,” Nurse ranted. He believes that a senior team capable of success would fuel production at every level with the right investment. “It would generate investment leading to money for facilities, money to educate coaches, money for development ….”
Nurse is adamant that Matthias’ stance is counterproductive and his view that monetary resources are wasted on foreign players is archaic. “It is easy to make unsolicited claims about a topic that fuels resentment towards foreign born players; if you believe that foreign based/born players are the problem with Guyana national team then you should close up the borders and become the first fascist, isolationist football nation in the history of world football,” Nurse suggested.
To add credence to his claim Nurse pointed to the Technical Director, Mark Rodrigues, who Matthias has appointed to that position while sanctimoniously frowning at players of similar dispensation. “You have employed a foreigner to assemble the national team yet have difficulties with foreign based players, how hypocritical!” concluded Nurse.

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The GABF has a FIBA mandate to govern the game in Guyana

September 12, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) primary objective is to promote, supervise and govern the playing of amateur basketball in Guyana as International Basketball Federation (FIBA) stipulated. In addition to its local obligations, the GABF has the responsibility of preparing male and female national teams to represent Guyana at any regional or international tournament.
It is important to have a good relationship with all Government institutions, in particular with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport. A good relationship with the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) is also important. The GOA can be a strong ally of the GABF in developing basketball. The status of basketball is best reflected in the relationship between great industrial systems and state institutions on one side and the GABF and its initiatives and requests on the other side.
I write in response to the series of editorials published in the Guyana newspapers in reference to the preparation and responsibility of the Guyana national men and women U-19 basketball teams competing with other National Federations that are members of FIBA.
If you are executing an international competition with players that are the national team and are wearing the country’s names as the official name of the team and playing under FIBA official basketball rules, then it must be approved by a National Federation regardless if it’s a qualifying or non-qualifying competition.
Whose official basketball rules are the IGG using? Is it the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), FIBA or does IGG have their own official basketball rules developed by the Government?
Everyone is failing to understand the subject matter at large; no one is questioning what Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) is doing as it relates to youth basketball development. In the past the Haynes Foundation has invested millions of dollars in YBG and National Schools’ Basketball Festival (NSBF) programmes due to the lack of youth development in the sport from previous GABF administrations.
The subject is: “The GABF is the sole authority to select any National Team regardless of the competition merit.”
The National Sports Commission (NSC) and YBG has to allow the current GABF Executive Committee to execute their plan and stop associating previous GABF leadership and what was done in the past with this new GABF Executive Committee.
Instead of dividing the basketball fraternity in Guyana, the Government through the offices of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Ministry of Education needs to work with the GABF and its sub-associations to develop and grow the sport.
“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future,” says George Bernard-Shaw
Please note that despite the manner in which the business of sports is conducted under the Goodwill Agreement between Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, National Member Federations of FIBA have a mandate to uphold and respect the General Statutes of FIBA.
Specifically, the participation in a basketball activity within the geographical jurisdiction of a member of FIBA requires the approval and sanction of the particular Federation.
I am writing to first inform your organisations, namely NSC and YBG of the mandates of FIBA, and second to inform you that the participation of teams from other jurisdictions requires the approval of the National Federations of both home and visiting teams.
I trust that this may bring to your attention the need to secure the approval and sanction of the respective National Federation. This letter will also serve as notice to our respective National Member Federations that the Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) event has not been sanctioned or approved by the required entities with statutory authority.
The IGG is an international event that needs the National Federation’s approval. This does not need any interpretation or translation. As a small basketball country, we frequently compare our programmes to multi-million dollar programmes in the Unites States etc such as USA Basketball (USAB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The NBA is affiliated to FIBA through USAB and follows the governance of USAB. In fact the NBA and USAB each occupy a seat on the FIBA Central Board, which was elected this past August at the FIBA World Congress in Sevilla, Spain.
If the NBA adheres to the governance of USAB, why can’t the YBG organisation do the same with the GABF?
“Basketball has evolved since 1891. Basketball is not only about players, the administration of basketball is equally as important as the players. A sport cannot exist without structure, remove the rules, referees, administrators, fans, equipment and all we have are players looking at each other on a blank hard-court.” – Horacio Muratore – Elected FIBA President.

Yours in sports,
Patrick Haynes
Vice President of Finance and Marketing
Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC)
CONCENCABA, Board Member

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YBG has a place, but order must prevail

September 10, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

By Edison Jefford
Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) has a place on the annual calendar, make no mistake about that but it raises serious questions about its character if it continues to paddle against the tide of order, which the national federation is attempting to impose.
The YBG programme that hosts the National Schools Basketball Festival (NSBF) is an authentic youth programme; it has a great vision, and its structure is correct with conferencing nationwide, before the top teams converge in Georgetown for the final.
The NSBF turned nine this year, which among enduring sport activity in Guyana, represented an important milestone being just one year short of a decade. In addition, it characterise the building of a formidable foundation of the nursery of basketball in Guyana.
With that said, and having achieved its goals over the years in the absence of a proactive national federation in the form of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF), YBG cannot be so short-sighted to stumble in a soluble administrative ditch.
Basketball in Guyana needs the NSBF, but what basketball also needs is structure and order. The YBG programme cannot run in contravention to the rules and regulations of the GABF, which is the governing body for all basketball in Guyana. The GABF has that mandate from International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
Understandably, in the absence of a stronger and properly constituted national federation, NSBF forged ahead. But in the advent of a federation that understands its role and functions locally, the YBG programme has to fall in line with the tenets of the federation.
In a previous article, where I called for stakeholder support for GABF in enforcing its relevance, I angled this subject from the perspective of the federation. The result was a response via Guyana Times calling for an end to a “devious and unfounded crusade” on the YBG programme in which several inaccuracies and isolation of holistic thought surfaced.
I will not, however, respond to the mischievous attempts to denigrate my work in the context of libel. I am sure Chris Bowman, who is the head of YBG, knows how to deal with matters, which he believes to be libellous; publishing a letter in one section of the print media is certainly not the way.
With that aside, the fact remains the fact: YBG is a good programme that needs to appreciate the existence of the parent body for basketball in Guyana. That was and remains my point. The YBG programme cannot claim to lead parents and students when it is in contravention of the rules and regulation of the national federation.
As I had written before and I maintain: “The federation is simply asking that programmes such as YBG comply with its regulations and rules.” Why is compliance such a difficult task for the YBG programme that has done most things right up until now?
The National Sports Commission cannot continue to disregard the role of the national federation in the selection of national teams, opting rather to allow YBG to select the team. Bowman would be untoward to defend YBG selecting a national team ahead of the federation, especially since all other associations are allowed to select their teams for the Inter-Guiana Games.
This is a simple matter, YBG must hasten to bring itself under the umbrella of the federation, and obtain the right empowerment to function. I don’t think that Bowman and YBG want disorder to be one of the lessons their programme teach student-athletes. Bowman can get emotional, and on his haughty horse again and rant in the Guyana Times, but until he does so, he will undermine an entire decade of his work.

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Sports officials updated on intricacies of banned substances at WADO workshop

September 8, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The widespread use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs has tainted the sports landscape worldwide and officials are valiantly advocating the minimization, or better yet, the total eradication of such practices. Towards this end, these officials remain adamant that education is the sole means by which the stakeholders can become aware of these practices thus fostering new approaches to the elimination of the scourge.

Minister of Sports,  Dr. Frank Anthony (right) and President of the GOA points to the message, displayed at the workshop Saturday morning.

Minister of Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony (right) and President of the GOA points to the message, displayed at the workshop Saturday morning.

It was with this focus that the Caribbean arm of the World Anti-Doping Organization (CRADO), the Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO), organized a workshop for affiliates of local sports Associations/Federations at the National Resource Centre, Woolford Avenue Saturday morning.
Conducted under the theme, ‘Understanding Anti-Doping and the Requirements to Keep Athletes Clean,’ the forum attracted more than 50 representatives from the local administrative sports landscape along with top government officials including Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr Frank Anthony, Permanent Secretary within that Ministry and CRADO Board Member, Alfred King, President of the Guyana Olympic Association, K A Juman Yassin and other popular personalities within the sports sector.
Minister Anthony delivered the feature address and lauded the organizers for what he described as a comprehensive programme. He also expressed his regards, on behalf of the government, to officials of the RADO while reflecting on the fact that doping is as old as organized sports. He said that officials operated devoid of the methodology for testing until 1928 when the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) took an assertive stance and banned the use of illicit drugs in sports.
Minister Anthony said that 30 years onward, following the world famed event, Tour de France, when officials were pressured to intensify efforts to curtail the scourge. France was then credited with being the first nation to implement anti-doping legislation. “In 1999, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced the first anti-doping legislation and world sports administrators now operate on a common platform,” informed the Sports Minister. He reiterated the ill effects of drugs on athletes and said that he was impressed with the work of WADA over the years.
Minister Anthony also noted that on many occasions the athlete is unaware that he/she is using banned substance; he said that officials are concerned that influential individuals associated to the athlete might be instrumental in the administration of the banned substances. He said that officials have since widened the net to sanction those persons in their bid (WADA officials) to truly contain the scourge. He subsequently warned the athletes and officials responsible for their sports training, to familiarize themselves with the wide list of banned substances in order to familiarize themselves. “The smarter athletes become in attempting to avoid detection, so too are international organizations engaging in research to detect these (illicit) drugs before instituting sanctions,” said Mr. Anthony. He said that the onus is on the athlete to educate him/herself on the issues pertaining to the subject as there is much to be learnt.
Earlier, Mr. Alfred, who delivered opening remarks, noted that doping is now a public issue and need to be addressed. His remarks were preceded by those of Ms Tessa Chaderton Shaw, Executive Director of Caribbean RADO, who spoke on the role of the RADO and the 2015 World Anti Doping Code, therapeutic Use Exemption and results management. Later in the day, several facilitators spoke on varying topics including Sasha Sutherland; Executive Assistant (CRADO), on the doping control process, Karen Pilgrim and Charles Corbin, Doping Control Officers of CRADO, discussed the doping control process while Dr Navindranauth Rambaran, another doping control officer of CRADO, spoke of the 2014 prohibited list of drugs.

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Moraikobai Sojourn – Part 1

September 7, 2014 | By | Filed Under News 

Countryman – Stories about life, in and out of Guyana, from a Guyanese perspective

By Dennis Nichols

Moraikobai’s unsullied beauty (photo: canadiantraveller wordpress.com)

Moraikobai’s unsullied beauty (photo: canadiantraveller wordpress.com)

Unexpectedly simple pleasures abound in life, but you need to know how and where to find them. An open and curious mind is a prerequisite, along with a thirst for new and sometimes fortuitous encounters. Like the ‘PPP’ stall I discovered at Bourda Market, so labelled because there I can enjoy some of the best puri, phulourie and potato ball my taste buds ever savoured. Or like the ten months I spent in the pristine Region 5 enclave of Moraikobai in 1993.

The journey along the Mahaicony River, in March of that year, from the East Coast Demerara Bridge was a long one, boring in parts, but with enough of that elemental ambience I crave in riverine settings. After about four hours, and more than 80 miles later, I noticed the river branching off into a tributary, the Francois Creek, a meandering stream with waters of darkish amber deepening to black that would take us to Moraikobai, a village of about 1,000 people, nestled in the arms of the waterway.

As the boat carrying me and my two sons gurgled to a stop at a small landing, I breathed deeply of that unmistakable forest air that I’d soaked up 17 years before in the North West District when I arrived there as a teacher fresh out of training school. Here I would be taking up my second headmastership in a similar hinterland milieu, sans electricity, potable water, telephone, and served medically by a tiny, provincial clinic, staffed by a nurse.

We were met and welcomed by the village captain, Martin Adrian, and a few of his aides, who showed us to the headmaster’s cottage, a wooden two-bedroom building with only the most basic furniture – two tables, an aging suite of chairs and a bed, ‘bachy’ style. The first few days we shared it with an American fellow, I think an artist, who’d gone there to do some kind of research. I remember clearly the very first night there I was invited, and went, to a party under the schoolhouse where I drank a beverage I thought I’d forgotten about – Piwari. It tasted bad but felt good, if you know what I mean.

Moraikobai is an Amerindian word that means ‘heart of the mora tree’. The people there are Arawak, or Lokono, which appears to be their more authentic name. I’d always wanted to live amongst a community of Arawaks, and this seemed a rich opportunity to understand and absorb at least a part of their culture. I would become a sort of amateur ethnographer, something I had tried to do while living and working among the Warrau in the North West, without much success. Now it would be different I told myself.

The months I spent there were remarkable for many things, not the least of which was a strengthening of the bond with my three sons (another came later) whom I enrolled as pupils of the primary school, interaction with several singular village characters, and great rapport with the children I taught and mentored. It was there that my sons really got into some ‘jungle skills’ like swimming and diving, fishing, canoeing, trekking through miles of bush trails. And girls.

The village is strikingly laid out against a central open area, around the perimeter of which lay the school buildings (All Age and Nursery) a church, the Health Centre and several cottages. On full-moon nights this open area was so bright that my sons and I were able to play cricket with some of the locals – a surreal experience, made more exotic by the atmosphere of a natural amphitheatre framed by a stunning vista of palm trees and other forest flora.

On moonlit nights also, people would gather to have a gaff, imbibe liquor and maybe listen to some old Charley Pride or Wesley Hamilton songs. Tales could be told of spirit folk in the bush, and of other-worldly experiences, not for the weak-hearted. I loved them, especially when the older folks got going, their tongues loosened by drink, so that you didn’t know where the real story ended and the fanciful one began.

It was in Moraikobai that I heard about people who could disappear from behind a single leaf, and of such invisible, preternatural beings communicating by eerie whistling while morphing into wild animals, of strange lights that hovered in the distance and vanished at will. It was there, while trekking the six miles from Yarida Landing to the village, that we saw the impressive paw prints of large jaguars and heard the weirdly echoing cries of howler monkeys.

There too I was introduced to perai on the wrong side of the food chain, cassava bread (called Kali) dipped in white pepperpot and served with freshly-caught fish, and water coconuts that tested the liquid-holding capacity of my stomach. And in the primordial creeks, my sons and I would occasionally paddle and explore, feeling for all the world like authentic pioneers in virgin territory, until our stomachs led us back to the teacher’s house, maybe half a mile away, and an often unwelcome return to ‘civilization’.

On Saturdays we washed clothes; rather I did, on the bank of the creek, while my sons swam, dived, and cavorted with their friends not 20 yards away, and I was teased about not having a woman to do my washing for me. I don’t know if it was my feminine side kicking in, but I enjoyed washing and afterward seeing the clothes billowing in the wind on my makeshift clothesline

But all was not joy and fairy-tale fancy. During the day I would be absorbed with schoolwork and preparing meals for me and my sons. But some nights, especially when the moon was hidden, the hours would drag by as I sat by my doorstep, the mosquitoes would start a mini war, and the little radio I listened to would broadcast what seemed to be the most tedious and mundane programmes imaginable. Ah, that was when I missed the lights and the lunacy of Georgetown, and the warmth of conjugal closeness.

This kind of monotony was however transient, for as I alluded to earlier, I mixed easily with the local residents and with my school family of seven teachers and about 150 children, so that I was never truly lonely. (How could I be, also, with two teenaged sons and one pre-teen?) And there was always the opportunity to walk along the sandy paths and visit new friends.

Next week I’ll tell you more about this beautiful little paradise (now electrified, but hopefully not too modernized) You’ll meet an old woman who drank to stay healthy, a man who came to the village to play cricket and never left, and a group of schoolchildren who did something to ‘make my day’.

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Sports officials updated on intricacies of banned substances at WADO workshop

September 6, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The widespread use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs has tainted the sports landscape worldwide and officials are valiantly advocating the minimization, or better yet, the total eradication of such practices.
Towards this end, these officials remain adamant that education is the sole means by which the stakeholders can become aware of these practices thus fostering new approaches to the elimination of the scourge.
It was with this focus that the Caribbean arm of the World Anti-Doping Organization (CRADO), the Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO), organized a workshop for affiliates of local sports Associations/Federations at the National Resource Centre, Woolford Avenue yesterday.

The Message Says It All! Minister of Sports, Frank Anthony (right) and President of the GOA Juman Yassin both endorse same.

The Message Says It All! Minister of Sports, Frank Anthony (right) and President of the GOA Juman Yassin both endorse same.

Conducted under the theme, ‘Understanding Anti-Doping and the Requirements to Keep Athletes Clean,’ the forum attracted more than 50 representatives from the local administrative sports landscape along with top government officials including Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr Frank Anthony, Permanent Secretary within that Ministry and CRADO Board Member, Alfred King, President of the Guyana Olympic Association, K. A Juman Yassin and other popular personalities within the sports sector.
Minister Anthony delivered the feature address and lauded the organizers for what he described as a comprehensive programme. He also expressed his regards, on behalf of the government, to officials of the RADO while reflecting on the fact that doping is as old as organized sports.
He said that officials operated devoid of the methodology for testing until 1928 when the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) took an assertive stance and banned the use of illicit drugs in sports.
Minister Anthony said that 30 years onward, following the world famed event, Tour de France, when officials were pressured to intensify efforts to curtail the scourge. France was then credited with being the first nation to implement anti-doping legislation.
“In 1999, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced the first anti-doping legislation and world sports administrators now operate on a common platform,” informed the Sports Minister. He reiterated the ill effects of drugs on athletes and said that he was impressed with the work of WADA over the years.
Minister Anthony also noted that on many occasions the athlete is unaware that he/she is using banned substance; he said that officials are concerned that influential individuals associated to the athlete might be instrumental in the administration of the banned substances.
He said that officials have since widened the net to sanction those persons in their bid (WADA officials) to truly contain the scourge. He subsequently warned the athletes and officials responsible for their sports training, to familiarize themselves with the wide list of banned substances in order to familiarize themselves.
“The smarter athletes become in attempting to avoid detection, so too are international organizations engaging in research to detect these (illicit) drugs before instituting sanctions,” said Mr. Anthony. He said that the onus is on the athlete to educate him/herself on the issues pertaining to the subject as there is much to be learnt.
Earlier, Mr. Alfred, who delivered opening remarks, noted that doping is now a public issue and need to be addressed. His remarks were preceded by those of Ms. Tessa Chaderton Shaw, Executive Director of Caribbean RADO, who spoke on the role of the RADO and the 2015 World Anti Doping Code, therapeutic Use Exemption and results management.
Later in the day, several facilitators spoke on varying topics including Ms. Sasha Sutherland; Executive Assistant (CRADO), on the doping control process, Dr. Karen Pilgrim and Mr. Charles Corbin, Doping Control Officers of CRADO, discussed the doping control process while Dr. Navindranauth Rambaran, another doping control officer of CRADO, spoke of the 2014 prohibited list of drugs.

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42nd CACBFF C/ships – St. Maarten GABBFF shortlists 5 athletes to date; funds needed

September 5, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Reigning Mr. Guyana, Kerwin Clarke headlines a 5-member team selected by the Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation (GABBFF) to represent this nation at the 42nd edition of the Central American and Caribbean Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Championships (CACBFF) set for the Island of St. Maarten from October 2-4, next.
Clarke, who will compete in the Welterweight (Under 164lbs) Category would be accompanied by fierce rival Devon Davis who will campaign in the Flyweight (Under-132lbs) class; USA based Bruce Whatley, Caerus Cipriani who will become the first Guyanese athlete to participate in the Men’s Physique competition and the lone female, Alisha Fortune set to take part in the Miss Body Fitness competition.

Kerwin Clarke (right) and Devon Davis

Kerwin Clarke (right) and Devon Davis

Alisha Fortune

Alisha Fortune

GABBFF President Keavon Bess said that himself and former President Frank Tucker, a CAC Accredited Judge will be accompanying the team to St. Maarten.
While Whatley, a former powerhouse in the sport in Guyana will fund his own way to CAC, the other athletes have already started the process of seeking sponsorship to offset expenses associated with the trip.
Bess said that from the GABBFF from its standpoint would be holding a bar-b-que on Saturday September 27 to assist with the raising of funds. He is calling on fans of the sport to the venture. Tickets are available from any member of the GABBFF Executive as well as the local based athletes selected at a cost of $1000.
The venue on September 27 is the Victoria Law Chambers, South Road and bar-b-que would be served from13:00hrs.

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Re: FIFA’s Intervention in Local Football Long Overdue

September 3, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Dear Editor,
I share similar sentiments expressed by your Sports Journalist, Rawle Welch in the publication of his article captioned “FIFA should appoint Normalization Committee to rescue Guyana’s Football, ” K.N: 31.08.14.
Moreover, when it’s taken into serious consideration that in all three instances of Congresses held under the auspices of the GFF which had representatives of FIFA/CONCACAF present; Sadly, the supposedly distinguished and learned gentlemen failed to intervene in electoral malpractices outlined by a few of Matthias’ challengers.
So, factually and in actuality, the “golden silence” emanating from the esteemed gentleman of FIFA/CONCACAF, automatically would have transformed, into disgruntlement among detractors of Matthias and quite rightfully so!
Its common knowledge that FIFA’s Statutes and the Federation’s Constitution were violated i.e. why was there no pronouncement upon eligible voters at the Electoral Congress, along with the voting rights of provisional members!
Strange indeed, that in the latter two instances of “walkouts by representatives of legitimate affiliates, no attempt whatsoever of mediation was made”. Or was there any explanation offered, aided by written circumstantial and supportive evidence in accordance to FIFA Statutes! Meanwhile, on a point of observation, which is to the best of my knowledge, no individual in Guyana owns a football club. This is primarily due to the fact that the sport locally, is at an amateur status.
And the modalities pertaining to club ownership, in accordance with the statues of FIFA, as it relates to Guyana, places two clubs at a significant disadvantage over all the others, as salaries/wages are paid to a core of senior players; coaching and managerial staff.
As such the lure of a monthly paycheck over-rides the development of youngsters among their fellow peers at the age-limit level. Editor, a pertinent point that Mr. Welch has overlooked is the “gridlock” that is continuously unfolding among the Executive of the GFF.
Wherein, the resignation and suspension (sic) of Vice Presidents have left the President, “caught between a rock and a hard place” in relation to convening a meeting. While decision making /implementation would also be affected, since all it needs is one member’s absence and a quorum can’t be had.
The end result no meeting can be convened! Despite all of this, compromise is a lost word/term in the vocabulary of the incumbent! As it relates to the selection of the provisional squad comprising of 30 players that was finally broken down to 18, it leaves much to be desired.
A two weeks period of training; encampment and a few practice matches against questionable opponents remains nothing meaningful to measure progress. Once again I must agree with the journalist, “the team has to be one of the poorest assembled to represent Guyana in decades”. And may, I add it’s the only time in decades a squad is released publicly, with no mention of the player’s respective clubs! With Walter Moore being the only overseas based player, can the GFF seriously expect to achieve maximum results, when it’s taken into serious consideration that all the other participants are calling up numerous overseas based players!
And please let it be known that rebuilding cannot be derived within four years, with 19-20 year-old players many of whom never had the privilege of playing adequate age limit competitive football, domestically or nationally.
Walter Moore, who started his career at GFC, before moving to Fruta Conquerors, was exposed to coaching methodologies under the tutelage of the late Peter Lashley and subsequently Deryck Whyte.
The truth about it is that Mr. Denzil “Hunky Brains” Thompson doesn’t have it in-depth to devise any long term development coaching plan, since if this was so, GDF with all the facilities at their disposal would have had a cabinet overflowing with winners’ trophies.
Rather his appointment as Head Coach, debunks any challenge posed by the overseas based and the experienced players locally, which may cause some degree of embarrassment to the GFF.

Respectfully yours,
Lester Sealey

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YBG is the manservant of the Director of Sport

September 3, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Dear Editor,
First, let me congratulate you on the excellent article you carried on Thursday, August 28, 2014, captioned ‘GABF strong stance needs support’ written by Mr. Edison Jefford; the piece captured both our efforts and our plight.
Mr. Editor, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link; the last paragraph of the article in your newspaper referenced our fight to remain relevant, and as bothersome as the statement is – it is a fact.
(Chris) Bowman of YBG (Youth Basketball Guyana) on August 30, 2014 – unsuccessfully tried to erase the points made by Mr. Jefford in his article in the Guyana Times. He then went on to raise queries about ‘Camp Pass it On’ that took place in Istanbul, Turkey from August 11-17.
Mr. Editor, Please note the following: Camp Pass it On is a Camp held in Turkey and hosted by the Turkish Basketball Federation to promote basketball for Under-14 kids and a Coach Under the age of 35; (b) It is a global event that lasts approximately one week with over 75 participating countries, with each country sending three persons; (c) Regarding the nature of the event – here is an extract from the Turkish Basketball Federation: “We have countless activities planned, including basketball practices, tournaments, team-building activities, Istanbul sightseeing, planting trees and flowers in the PASS IT ON Garden, participating in a Turkey 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women promotional video, and many other surprises”.
(d) The main reason Guyana didn’t send a team to Turkey was because Mr. Junior Hercules was unable to obtain leave from his employer to attend the Camp. Hercules was the Manager for Guyana’s 2014 CBC (Caribbean Basketball Confederation) Men’s team, which had just returned from Tortola, British Virgin Islands at the time.
(e) Funding was also a challenge as we had drained our resources to fund the Guyana’s Men & Women’s Teams participation in the 2014 CBC Championship. I communicated with Chris Bowman on or before August 4th, 2014, specifically to assist with funding for Stanton Rose’s airfare to Turkey and he said in principle the YBG had no problem in assisting Stanton.
Earlier in the year, Bowman had proposed Stanton as an ideal youth for Camp Pass it On – we in the GABF accepted the merit of the recommendation. All was well and good – until we did not have a chaperon to accompany the minors, a chaperon’s presence is required for the minors to attend.
Mr. Editor it is important that you know these facts about YBG: Youth Basketball Guyana Inc. was incorporated on January 14th, 2013 (though its National Schools’ Basketball Festival is nearly a decade old) this should be a matter of concern for YBG sponsors.
The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) is the only sports Federation in Guyana that has an entity trying to compete with the Associations/Federations goals and objectives.
Section 4 of Article 1 of the YBG Articles of Incorporation states: the purpose of YBG shall be to organise, promote, regulate and operate an independent youth basketball programme in Guyana. At a minimum, YBG shall operate programmes for mini basketball, high school basketball, youth basketball, elite basketball and coaches and referees development on a year- round basis.
Clearly YBG is a parasitic organisation that is seeking to perform the mandate given by FIBA to the GABF.
The de facto Minister of Sport, Neil Kumar has found an ideal lackey in the form of the Bowman led YBG, which plays into Kumar’s efforts to weaken the leadership of the GABF, starting with Colonel Godwin McPherson, continuing with Mr. David Patterson and now these interferences with the present administration of the Federation.
The Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Commission should not be supporting the YBG instead of GABF. None of the aforementioned Presidents of the GABF were willing to be soup-drinkers to Kumar’s idiotic behaviour, thus the uphill struggle to keep the GABF relevant and effective over the past several years continues.
With the Ministry of Sports actively trying to undermine basketball falling under the banner of the GABF, it sends the wrong message to the business community and basketball stakeholders in general while the same Ministry positively promotes YBG; a one-man show that is happy to kowtow, accommodate and benefit from whatever excesses Kumar is willing to persist in promoting.
Over the years YBG has generally failed to develop and spread youth basketball in Guyana, even with large and generous sponsors, we have empty venues when games are played; no inter-school girls basketball over the last three years and limited school participation, even though YBG has been praising itself for their involvement in basketball since 2007.
In paraphrasing Shakespeare, I look forward to the day when the GABF no longer has to suffer the slings and arrows of the outrageous ‘Director of Sport’ and his manservant in the form of YBG.

Respectfully,
Nigel Hinds
GABF President

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Pacesetters evade late scare to win GABA Trifecta title

September 2, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 
 Pacesetters’ Rayon Cummings (right) collects the Trifecta Division I Championship trophy from GABA President, Michael Singh Sunday night.

Pacesetters’ Rayon Cummings (right) collects the Trifecta Division I Championship trophy from GABA President, Michael Singh Sunday night.

Trinity Grid Holdings (TGH) Pacesetters evaded a late scare in the fourth quarter against Pepsi Sonics to win the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) Trifecta First Division title Sunday night at Burnham Basketball Court.
Pacesetters held on for a 75-71 win after leading 61-50 going into the final period. The eventual Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament Sonics’ guard, Jason Squires with assistance from Junior Lovell, went on a rampage in the period, almost pulling off a stunning come-from-behind victory.
However, Pacesetters held their nerves with Point guard, Travis Burnett putting up 24 points and forwards, Travis Williams and Joslyn Crawford adding 21 and 12 points respectively. For Pepsi Sonics, Squires had 28 points while Earl O’Neil had 11 points. Squires scored eight of his 28 points in the final period, including a huge three-point jumper to open the deciding period of the game.
Pepsi went on a 15-0 run in the period that landed them the lead at 65-61 with five minutes to play in the period. Burnett then got Pacesetters’ offense back on track and soon the momentum shifted back to the top seeded club in Georgetown.
Pacesetters regained the lead at 70-68 before Burnette, Crawford, Williams and Royston Siland came together to take Pacesetters to victory. Pacesetters held a 20-16 lead in the first quarter, compliments of 11 points from Williams, which included three huge shots from downtown. Pacesetters also held the lead at halftime with a 36-33 advantage in a contest that showed early signs of going down to the wire.
Pepsi Sonics’ free throw shooting didn’t help them, missing 11 attempts to be outscored 25-17 in the penultimate quarter. Burnette rose to the occasion as he has done so many times before in the third quarter, scoring 10 points before setting Pacesetters on path to victory in the final chapter.
Plaisance Guardians had won the Division III title while Colts won the Division II competition.
Plaisance’s Colwin Nurse adjudged MVP in the Division III contest with Colts’ Nikkoloi Smith winning the Division II MVP award. (Edison Jefford)

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An Inglorious End to Alpha’s Champions League Campaign

August 31, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

“The difference between amateurs and professionals” according to Alpha United’s Head Coach, Wayne “Wiggy” Dover in his post match comments, following his team’s 1-4 loss to Portland Timbers, in the CONCACAF Champions League match on 19.08.14 at the National Stadium, Providence.
Editor, once again the visitors sublime performance, only this time around the margin of victory was justifiable. Since the Timbers were able to convert the goal scoring opportunities they created, while capitalizing on the hosts elementary mistakes!
Once again the crowd support/attendance was poor, primarily due to a lack of proper marketing. The continued non-use of the print media for advertisements; featuring at least 5 pre-match write-ups, in the daily newspapers, along with strip ads would have aided significantly, the product of football as being marketable!
Fliers/handbills featuring the two Brazilians surely would have attracted a few hundred of their nationals, with restaurants, hotels, bars and business places as the source of advertising. But for some strange reason Alpha’s administration on two consecutive occasions remained devoid of ideas!
Finally, in a previous letter I did indicate that Portland Timbers would have been a tougher opponent that the Honduran lineup and mistakes would have to be minimal. Indeed, this was a stark reality, since their display both tactically and technically was superior to that of Alpha. Nevertheless it also must be taken into serious consideration the sad state of local football. Wherein the nation’s National Club Champions with a large influx of foreign players, could not have given a more favorable account of themselves.
Suffice it to say that on three previous occasions, once as a host, Alpha could not have won the Inter-Guiana’s Club Championship.
So, in actuality the transformation to compete against a professional outfit leaves a wide gap, and until and unless semi-professionalism is not seriously looked at, it is hardly likely the results will change for the better.
The upgrading of coaches certification to a higher level remains of utmost priority. Neighbouring Brazil, with a FIFA accredited Elite Coaching course would be the ideal start for two locals.
The Guyanese public ought not to be disappointed with Alpha’s performance, but rather to assess the state of local football, that offers nothing significant for development in comparison to what the visitors at club level offers, i.e. medical staff and warm ups for the substitutes!
With one return match left for Alpha, having lost the return game to Olimpia 0-6, securing a solitary point which is hardly likely or scoring a goal would be a significant achievement. Since from two home matches and one away match, Alpha is pointless, winless and a goal difference of -10; after scoring 1 goal, while conceding 11!
By the way what of the unprofessional display by the Grenadian international Kithison Bain, who is in the twilight of his career and refused to shake the coach’s hand, upon substitution! Would he continue to be a part of Alpha’s lineup?
Respectfully yours,
Lester Sealey

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Boxing Coach Sebert Blake completes high grade boxing course Has to endure one week wait for results

August 29, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

A week after leaving Guyana to participate in a one week Extraordinary International Amateur Boxing Association Professional Boxing World Series Boxing/AIBA Professional Boxing/AIBA Open Boxing Certification Course, Forgotten Youth Foundation Coach, Sebert Blake, has returned home and though he will have to wait for about one week before his assessment is complete, Blake is confident that he has made the grade.
Blake who returned to Guyana yesterday from Cuba declared that though the programme lasted merely a week it was most grueling. He said that activities commenced last Wednesday, one day after he had arrived, and was as taxing as it was beneficial.

Sebert Blake

Sebert Blake

He said that the course attracted over 100 participants from some 24 countries and dealt with such topics as nutrition, boxing techniques, strengthening, tactics and the scientific aspect of the sport. He said that facilitators were drawn from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Poland and the USA among other countries.
Blake, who had earlier earned a Diploma in Sports when he travelled to Hungary, said that he was already exposed to some of the material and was able to adjust. “The course more or less tested participants to ascertain what they knew and to introduce them to the new rules,” explained Blake.
He said that the material was of a very high level and activities were intense. “This course was both physically and intellectually challenging and served to prepare me for future arduous tasks,” said Blake.
The programme also entailed practical sessions where participants were required to be in the corners of chosen boxers with each ‘coach’ given a specific task. Blake said that he was tasked with the role of’ cut man’ but was not required to get into action as none of the pugilists suffered cuts or bruises.
Further, participants were given a written test that covered every aspect of the course. Blake said that once he is successful in the AIBA Professional Boxing and the Professional Boxing World Series Boxing courses he would qualify to coach and handle boxers at any level of championships under the auspices of AIBA.
This is also important for local boxing since currently only Terrence Poole is so qualified, locally and in the Caribbean, which meant that only he could have seconded boxers in AIBA competitions.
Three entities, the Guyana Olympic Association, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and the National Sports Commission, had supported Blake’s trip and he has issued heartfelt gratitude to his benefactors.
Mr. Blake had earlier promised to do his best while saying that his primary objective is to assist in the development of the sport and to groom young amateur boxers to impact on the impending 2016 Brazil Olympics.

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GABF’s strong stance needs support

August 28, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

By Edison Jefford
Philosophically, the new Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) might be purist, but it is surely not pathetic in its pursuit to regularise and bring structure to local basketball. Such goals beg for widespread support from all stakeholders of the sport.
It is appalling to discover that after years of administrative dormancy, a new, vibrant, committed and hard working federation is being castigated in the context of high-handedness for enforcing what should be simple rules and regulations.
The issue here is the emerging perception of so many, some on social media, that the federation is somehow running amok for enforcing several disciplinary actions on national players, referees, officials and coaches for varying infractions.
Chronologically, it is prudent to begin with the uniform issue that came out of the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships late last month, which resulted in many senior national players being fined and banned.
The GABF had asked all players to simply return both the warm-up and competition uniforms to management following the Championships. Instead, several players opted to keep the items as a souvenir piece (the Captain, a former NBA player, framed his) or as retribution for stipends they believed were owed to them for representing their country.
These uniforms are re-usable and names can be swapped to accommodate new players; they also cost in excess of US$10,000 to produce. The federation was at its wits’ end to find funding for a male and female team for CBC as well as outfitting both teams.
The GABF thought it wise to produce outfits that can be kept for future engagements, therefore lowering future participation costs. However, several players, most of whom should have been in positions to set the example, defected from what should have been normal.
Players kept the uniforms, forcing the federation to issue fines and bans if the items were not returned. How is it that an edict from national authority supervising a national team to return the property of the federation can be flouted and somehow some within the basketball community believe an injustice was done to players?
Rules are rules. If the federation asked that uniforms be returned then the uniforms should have been returned; simple! Are we in that era where we partner with wrong and condone indiscipline even at the emotional level? Players who wanted to keep the uniforms should have informed the GABF that they will fund the production of their uniforms.
Continuing in chronology, the Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) and Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) issues perpetuated the disregard for the authority of the national federation, which sadly, started in-house with the players’ uniform issue.
The GABF had asked that it be recognised as the sole authority for basketball in Guyana and as such, programmes such as YBG ought to be sanctioned or else they remain illegitimate. YBG is relevant here because the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport through its National Sports Commission (NSC) continues to say that it uses the YBG National Schools’ Basketball Festival (NSBF) to select the IGG Basketball team.
All this is done outside of the authority of the federation (in all basketball and related matters). It is corrupt to have national leaders usurping the role of a national federation, thereby transferring such authority to an independent programme that receives subsistence from the NSC; this should not have been condoned at a basic, more so, ministry level.
Again, the federation is simply asking that programmes such as YBG comply with its regulations and rules. When the federation now moves to ban officials, who knew what was the position of the GABF if they participate as part of the unsanctioned IGG basketball event, the matter is dealt with at the emotional level.
This needs to be given some time to marinate, before a conclusion is made that suggests that we are condoning systemic flouting of rules and regulations, indiscipline, insubordination and gross usurpation of roles and responsibilities. Basketball stakeholders whether fan, player or sponsor, should support the GABF in what has become a fight to remain relevant.

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GABF suspends referees, coaches for IGG participation

August 27, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) has suspended several basketball officials, including coaches and

Nigel Hinds

Nigel Hinds

referees for their participation in the ‘unsanctioned’ Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) that Guyana hosted earlier this month.
The National Sports Commission (NSC) opted to use Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) ahead of the GABF, which is the governing body for basketball in Guyana, to select the national teams for IGG in usurpation of the role of the national federation.
As a result, the GABF called the team selected by Director of Sport, Neil Kumar’s team and not the national team, since it was not a GABF-sanctioned unit. The GABF had also warned that penalties will be imposed for officials and players who defectively participate as part of the ‘unsanctioned’ basketball team.
The suspensions come on the heels of widespread benching of senior national players for mass indiscipline at the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships in the British Virgin Islands last month.
Below is the content of the GABF release:
“Dear All,
Please note that the following persons have been suspended with immediate effect from GABF sanctioned activates, including the activities of its affiliates until further notice due to their participation in 2014 IGG Games:
Aubrey Young; Rawle Toney; Mark Trim; Willon Cameron; Leona Kyte; Warren Wilson and Ann Gordon.
Please note that we are in the process of scheduling a GABF General Council Meeting for either September 20th or 21st where pronouncements on the above suspensions will be finalised.
We appreciate your co-operation.
Nigel Hinds
President GABF”

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LABA unaware of reported suspensions of national players

August 25, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Players eligible for Victory Valley Royals championship next weekend in Linden

Plans are in train for the staging of the Victory Valley Royals eight team knockout basketball championships which bounces off next weekend at the Mackenzie Sports Club Hard Court.
Senior Official of the Linden Amateur Basketball Association, Mr. Joe Chapman, said that this tournament will be followed by the third annual Trophy Stall Regulation Open League tournament from mid September.
Quizzed on recent reports that two national players from Linden, power forward Dwayne ‘Brown Sugar’ Roberts of Retrieve Raiders and centre Shane Webster of Amelia’s Ward Jets have been suspended and fined by the Guyana Amateur Basketball Association, Chapman said, “We are not aware of those suspensions from any official source and as such the General Council of the LABA on Friday night was forced to ignore the reported sanctions.”
The Secretary informed in a release yesterday, that approval has been given and the tournament will bounce off with registration of players and club affiliation for the remainder of 2014 to be completed by today when the association meets again with the clubs, and the draw for the tournament will be done at a meeting from 6:30 pm at the Mackenzie Sports Club Lounge.
Chapman said that while the LABA president was among four federation officials who addressed the allegations against the players, LABA president Mr. Haslyn Graham was not representing the association as he is a vice president of the governing body GABF.
Additionally, the long standing secretary said he believes that based on reports gathered there were swirling allegations of mistrust before, during and after the July held Caribbean Basketball Championships in the British Virgin Islands of Tortola which brings into questioning the resultant suspensions and fines for not returning the national basketball uniforms to the federation by the players.
He said he wanted not to further comment on the reports of an entire basketball team being sanctioned for any wrong doing because nothing official is with the association. However, he said when that time comes the association will deal with what is brought to their attention. Chapman said that he was told when the GABF executives would have met on Saturday 26th July, a follow up meeting with the General Council of the federation would have been held but to date this was not done.
The clubs slated to contest the Victory Valley Royals eight team knockout basketball championships are the hosts Victory Valley Royals, Kings, Amelia’s Ward Jets, Wismar Pistons, Block 22 Flames, Bankers Trust Falcons, Half Mile Bulls, and Retrieve Raiders.

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PM Hinds, lauds organizers as Pan American Martial Arts Games concludes

August 25, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds lauded the efforts of martial arts practitioners when he attended the Pan American Martial Arts Games (PAMAG) at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, Saturday evening last.  Mr. Hinds also took time out from his busy schedule to distribute the various prizes to the respective winners even as coordinator of the event, Professor Christopher Francis, acknowledged his presence. He said that Mr. Hinds has always been a friend of Martial Arts and is always supportive despite his busy schedule. “That’s a leader!” declared Professor Francis.

The participants steal a photo op with Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds and Professor Christopher Francis upon conclusion of the tournament.

The participants steal a photo op with Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds and Professor Christopher Francis upon conclusion of the tournament.

The venue was transformed into a hive of activity as the country’s best martial artists faced off with their counterparts out of Trinidad and Tobago for top honours in the above championships. The organizers were still in the process of compiling the results and we are forced to carry them in a subsequent edition.
Nevertheless, 4 years old, Trinidadian Ariana Ragbarsingh, was the youngest competitor and placed first in the Kata. Policeman, Keslin Peters, was the best in the self defence category with Ray Simon of the GDF finishing second. Orlando Cummings represented the Black Hawks Martial Arts Club and sealed off the final podium position in this category.
Indeed, those that attended the event were thrilled by several Katas, while the practitioners also demonstrated skill and adeptness in weapon fighting and combat among others.
The PAMAG commenced in Trinidad and Tobago in 2005 and last Saturday’s tournament marks the first time it was held outside of the Twin Island Republic. The participating clubs were Harpy Eagles Karate Club, Guyana Martial Arts Federation, Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Federation, Diamond Karate Organization, Guyana Amateur Karate Organization Rising Sun Judo Organization and the Black Hawks. Trinidad and Tobago fielded a competent unit of 17 practitioners called, “T & T Combined Martial Arts.
Meanwhile, the practitioners will earn rating points for participation in the Pan American Games slated for October 17 and 18 at the University of the West Indies Sporting Complex in Trinidad and Tobago. There is also the added incentive of qualifying for the grand finale where a team will be selected to compete in the Pan American International Championships Games.  Several practitioners will make guest appearances including Trinidad Master Andre Murray and Grandmaster, Roderick Titus.
That championship will see several countries fielding top teams with each vying for honours including the USA, Finland, Ireland, Korea, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.  Additionally, the championship would be graced by Asian President of International Tang Soo Do Moo Kwan, Wong Hung Lee who will be the special guest of honour.

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Local practitioners compete for honours in Pan American Martial Arts Games today

August 23, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The National Gymnasium will be transformed into a hive of activity this morning when

Professor Christopher Francis (extreme left) takes time out for a photo op with Grand Master, Titus, Master Murray and Sensei Newton.

Professor Christopher Francis (extreme left) takes time out for a photo op with Grand Master, Titus, Master Murray and Sensei Newton.

some of the country’s best martial artists face off with their counterparts out of Trinidad and Tobago for top honours in the Pan American Martial Arts Games.
The Games commenced in Trinidad and Tobago in 2005 and this morning’s activity marks the first time it will be held at another venue.
Trinidad and Tobago will field a competent unit of 17 practitioners called, “T&T Combined Martial Arts team, while several clubs out of Guyana will vie for honours.  They include the Harpy Eagles Karate Club, Guyana Martial Arts Federation, Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Federation, Diamond Karate Organization, Guyana Amateur Karate Organization, Rising Sun Judo Organization and the Black Hawks.
The practitioners will battle for the rating points in the Pan American Games slated for October 17 and 18 at the University of the West Indies Sporting Complex in Trinidad and Tobago. There is also the added incentive of qualifying for the grand finale where a team will be selected to compete in the Pan American International Championships Games where several practitioners will make guest appearances including Trinidad Master Andre Murray and Grandmaster, Roderick Titus.
That championship will see several countries fielding top teams with each vying for honours including the USA, Finland, Ireland, Korea, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.  Additionally, the championship would be graced by Asian President of International Tang Soo Do Moo Kwan, Wong Hung Lee who will be the special guest of honour.
The admission for today’s competition is $500 for adults and $200 for children.

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Ginelle Ifill gets full US Basketball Scholarship

August 21, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

By Edison Jefford
Guyana’s female team’s participation at the 2014 Caribbean Basketball Confederation

Ginelle Ifill, representing Guyana at the Inter-Guiana Games in Guyana, finishes a fundamental lay-up.

Ginelle Ifill, representing Guyana at the Inter-Guiana Games in Guyana, finishes a fundamental lay-up.

(CBC) Championships in the British Virgin Islands last month paid dividend for locally-based player, Ginelle Ifill, who has secured a full basketball scholarship.
The fundamentally sound Ifill was scouted at CBC and will leave Guyana next week for a full scholarship at Odessa College in Texas, United States of America. The 19-year-old 6’3″ player has been at the helm of local female basketball for some time.
Contacted yesterday after confirmation that the player is all set to leave Guyana next week, the top athlete said that she is excited that all her hard work, discipline and commitment to the sport have finally paid off, and as a result, the sky is the limit.
“I am excited and I really appreciate this very much because it shows that once you’re discipline you can achieve your dreams,” Ifill believes, adding that she was not 100 percent sure that there would have been this result, following the CBC experience.
She informed that scouts had spoken to her about the scholarship, but she was hesitant to commit owed to doubt. However, Ifill said she overcame such thoughts when she was contacted with the information that Odessa College wants her in their programme.
Asked about her future now that she is on path to become one of Guyana’s most celebrated female athletes, Ifill said that she plans to get her College degree while remaining in line to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) League.
“My plan is to play in the WNBA after College. I have to go to school and keep my grades up. I would just like to thank everyone for their support,” she said. Ifill attended Tutorial High School and resides in Plaisance on the East Coast of Demerara – a village that has also produced Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite and Guyana’s most renowned musician, Eddy Grant.
President of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF), Nigel Hinds told Kaieteur Sport yesterday that Ifill’s scholarship vindicates the federation’s decision to send a female team to the CBC Championships against criticism and all odds.
According to Hinds, the scholarship shows that if players are consistently exposed then there is no telling what they can achieve. He wished Ifill well and hopes that she uses the opportunity to advance what can be very fulfilling basketball and academic careers.

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Jamaican promoters laud ‘Contender’ initiative; preparation commences for next year

August 16, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Boxing promoters around the Caribbean have been inundated with challenges as they battle to procure worthwhile activity for the pugilists in their charge while at the same time attracting adequate crowd and corporate support.
It was this very challenge that President of the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC), Peter Abdool, aspired to address when he launched ‘Guyana Fight Night (GFN),’ an 8 bout card of 4 professionals and a similar amount of amateur bouts.
While Mr. Abdool sought to positively affect the fortunes of his charges with the introduction of the GFN initiative, boxing officials in sister Caricom State, Jamaica, attempted a similar ploy with the introduction of ‘The Contender.’ That initiative got underway in 2011 as against the local GFN version which commenced one year earlier. It seems that the GFN cards are briefly on hold while ‘The Contender’ has gained some traction, to the extent that those promoters have extended invitations to their Caricom counterparts in several territories to participate in the 2014 edition of the tournament.
Consequently, a team of local pugilists left Guyana in March for a 16 weeks sojourn in Jamaica for the 4th edition of the now famous Contender Series.   With the exception of former European Middleweight Champion, Howard ‘Battersea Bomber’ Eastman, who progressed to the semifinals stage before losing out to fellow Jamaican, Tsetsi Davis, the entire Guyanese contingent of Derek Richmond, Revlon Lake, Gladwyn Dorway and Gardiel Roberts all suffered defeats early in the championships.
Executive Producer of Wray and Nephew Contender, Mark Kenny, referred to the tournament as an amazing and special journey. He promised to continue with the promotion and revealed that next year activities will see middleweights battle for the prestigious accolade. This revelation has galvanized local boxing administrators into action and already, they have identified a team of local pugilists to commence training for the tournament in March next year.
The 8 man contingent will be led by former International Boxing Organization (IBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) world champion, Gary ‘Superman’ St Clair, who is currently in Guyana on a short holiday from his Australia base. The other local boxers are USA based, Jermaine King, Suriname based, Winston Pompey, and Trinidad based Joel McRae. The team also includes Guyana jnr/middleweight champion, Mark Austin, Kelsey George, local light/heavyweight champion, Kwesi Jones, super/middleweight champion, Derick Richmond, and CABOFE middleweight champion, Edmond DeClou.
Jamaica has also identified a potential squad and Tsetsi Davis has already signaled his intention to move up the two divisions in order to participate.  Devon Moncreif, another 2014 ‘Contender’ will also compete for honours in next year’s event. The Jamaican squad will also include Ramal Lewis, Richard Holmes, Kevin Hylton, Kemahl Russell and Miguel Raye. Canadian based Jamaican, Richard Rettey, has also confirmed his participation.

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Sebert Blake pursues level three star coach accolade in Cuba

August 16, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

He has earned a Diploma in Sports when he travelled to Hungary under the auspices of the Guyana Olympic Association and ever since, Forgotten Youth Foundation (FYF) boxing coach, Sebert Blake, has been an asset to the boxers

Smiles all round as President of the GOA, Juman Yassin (L) hands over the sponsorship package to Blake in the presence of GBA President, Steve Ninvalle

Smiles all round as President of the GOA, Juman Yassin (L) hands over the sponsorship package to Blake in the presence of GBA President, Steve Ninvalle

under his care. Now he is set to strengthen his position as a formidable boxing coach when he departs Guyana next Tuesday morning to participate in a one week Extraordinary APB/WSB Certification Course from August 20-27 in Havana, Cuba.
Once successful, Blake, a level two star coach, would be elevated to a level three star coach, the highest level of the ruling boxing association, which qualifies him to a position where he will be qualified to coach and second boxers at all levels of competitions under the auspices of the International Amateur Boxing Association (IABA). This is also important for local boxing since currently only Terrence Poole is so qualified, locally and in the Caribbean, which meant that only he could have seconded boxers in IABA competitions.
Three entities, the Guyana Olympic Association, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the National Sports Commission, have donated towards the expenses and yesterday morning Mr. Blake visited the Carmichael Street office of President of the GOA, K A Juman Yassin, where he received a cheque to offset the expenses associated with his accommodation while in the Spanish speaking country.
Mr. Yassin congratulated Blake and noted that he had been successful in the course in Hungary just about two years ago, and he (Yassin) feels that it is only fitting that Blake receive the necessary support to advance in the sport. Mr. Steve Ninvalle uttered similar congratulations even as he voiced his appreciation to the GOA boss and his other benefactors for the timely support. Ninvalle said that the GOA has been very supportive of the programmes of the GBA and always reaches out to assist. He acknowledged Mr. Yassin’s ‘soft spot’ for boxing and went on to point out that he (Yassin) had offered similar support in the past, specifically the Tri-Nation boxing card at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, in February.
Mr. Blake thanked his benefactors while promising to do his best at the impending course. He said that his primary objective is to assist in the development of the sport and to assist young amateur boxers to impact on the impending 2016 Brazil Olympics.

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GABBFF mourns death of Delon Harlequin

August 15, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The bodybuilding fraternity has been left in a state of shock with the passing of competitor Delon Harlequin

Delon Harlequin

Delon Harlequin

yesterday.
The 32 year-old Harlequin of Lot B Grant Scheme, Craig, EBD was involved in an accident on Tuesday evening on his way home after leaving the Guyana Defense Force Gym, Garden of Eden, East Bank Demerara.
The very competitive body builder was hit off of his motor cycle by a motorist, ending up in a nearby trench where he hit his head on a concrete structure thereby sustaining multiple injuries including a broken leg.
Unfortunately, the extent of the injuries was that severe that Harlequin never recovered and succumbed yesterday morning.
President of the Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation (GABBFF) Keavon Bess in an invited comment said that the fraternity is in a state of shock following Harlequin’s demise.
“Delon was a committed athlete who always gave of his best when in the gym and on the competition stage. He was always smiling and ready to compete even when the odds were stacked against him.”
The GABBFF boss in extending condolences to Harlequin’s family and the body building fraternity said that the athlete would surely be missed noting that he was still a very young athlete who has gone too soon.
Kaieteur Sports department joins with the GABBFF in extending sincere condolences to Harlequin’s family and friends in this time of grief.

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Kumar encourages Goodwill swimmers

August 14, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Director of Sport Neil Kumar, deputizing for Minister Dr Frank Anthony, encouraged local swimmers who will be competing at the Goodwill games in Suriname, to keep the Golden Arrow Head aloft.

Members of the Guyana team with Director of Sport Neil Kumar standing center during their courtesy call yesterday.

Members of the Guyana team with Director of Sport Neil Kumar standing center during their courtesy call yesterday.

Chatting with the group which included swimmers and coaches and President of the Swimming Association, Ivan Persaud, at his office in Middle Street yesterday, Kumar said he is confident the athletes will excel at the games. “You must remain focused and believe in yourselves. One of the keys will be to acclimatize quickly”, he added.
The Goodwill games commence today and conclude on Sunday with the host nation Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St. Lucia involved in tense battles for supremacy.
The Director of Sport noted that the sport is very competitive these days and he feels the swimmers must continue to train in order to improve. He informed that the warm up pool at the National Aquatic Centre will be completed soon and they (NSC/Govt.) will continue to provide better facilities. “I am certain that our swimmers will dominate the sport regionally, but they must also place much emphasis on their education which goes hand in hand with sports”, he said.
“Our swimmers must make the best use of the pool since there is a need for them to focus on the longer distance”, he explained.
Noting some of the strides swimming has made since he took over as Director of Sport, Kumar pointed to Guyana’s performance at the Inter-Guiana Games.
“I was really heartened about Guyana’s performance at the IGG and thanks to the coaches, who are doing a wonderful job, we have been able to close that gap with French Guiana and Suriname”, he stated.
Guyana finished third with 146 points at the IGG recently, behind Suriname with 208 points and French Guiana on 200. The locals copped 16 medals, including four gold.
Kumar said, the Sports Commission and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport will do all that they can to assist the development of swimming in Guyana.
In an invited comment president of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) Ivan Persaud said that all the swimmers have made the qualifying times for the games and it is expected they will perform well since they have been in some intense training.
The Guyana team had been in training since earlier this year under the watchful eyes of Cuban coach Isabel Couso Fals, and assistant coaches Paul Mahaica, and Jamie Skeete, all of whom will accompany the team.
Fals will also act in the capacity of female chaperone for the team along with Shaka Noel. The other officials travelling with the team are manager Leon Seaton and assistant Shefetah Tzedeq. The Guyana contingent, which includes 29 swimmers, left this morning.

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