GABF Schools’ Exchange Programme begins this weekend

October 22, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) bounces off a Schools Exchange Basketball Programme this

Nigel Hinds

Nigel Hinds

weekend as part of the beginning of a pilot project that will initially include four teams: President’s College, St. Rose’s High, Bishops’ High School and St. Stanislaus College.
“The choice of schools for the commencement of the games was determined by the performance ranking of the school and whether the school has a basketball court,” the GABF said in a press release.
According to the federation, it worked with Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam, Administrator of the Unit of Allied Arts (a division of the Ministry of Education), Desiree Wyles-Ogle, and the heads of the abovementioned schools to put all the arrangements in place to commence the first set of exchange games.
The schedule of games is:
St. Rose’s vs. President’s College; Date: Oct-24-2014; Venue: President’s College; Game Time: 2:30pm. Bishops’ vs. St. Stanislaus; Date: Nov-7-2014; Venue: St. Stanislaus College; Game Time: 2:30pm.
St. Roses vs. President’s College; Date: Nov-14-2014; Venue: St. Rose’s High; Game Time: 2:30pm. St. Stanislaus vs. Bishops’ High; Date: Nov-21-2014; Venue: Bishops’; Game Time: 2:30pm.
“The games should not be seen as a tournament, but as exchange games toward the development of school basketball and have student supporters becoming more involved in the performance of their school team,” the release said.
The federation said that in January next year, the GABF will be donating $50,000 to $100,000 to the Linden Amateur Basketball Association and the Berbice Amateur Basketball Associations.
The funds will be specially designated for the associations to emulate the efforts being made by the GABF to play school basketball exchange games in the schools where possible – as part of the physical education programme in the schools.
In 2015 more schools will be added to the pilot programme in Region Four and the programme will include both male and female student-athletes as the GABF seeks to make schools’ basketball home and away programme an ever-present feature of the annual school calendar.
“Students who are not playing will have the opportunity to view the home games at their school.
The GABF will support these exchange games annually and will keep expanding the programme across the country. We look forward to the corporate sponsors joining with us to promote and develop schools basketball,” the release continued.
“We expect these games to contribute to the upliftment of basketball in Guyana and imbue the students with confidence and the will to succeed,” in concluded.

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Potentially scorching encounters on the cards as senior boxers battle

October 21, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

It has been quite some time that an amateur boxing card has generated such interest as to trigger roadside debates as the impending National Open Boxing championships scheduled to get underway at the M&CC Municipal Centre, California Square East Ruimveldt this Friday October 24 to Sunday 26.
The truth is that ever since officials of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) boldly took a decision to shift activities to the outdoor venue but more particularly, into the community, throngs of enthusiastic supporters have graced the fights as against the sparse support rendered at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) and the National Gymnasium.
Indeed, the boxers seem to have been energized by the new venue and their performances have improved tremendously. While the return of the crowds would have been encouraging, GBA officials are not prepared to rest on their laurels but are constantly devising strategies to enhance the support even as they provide qualitative entertainment.
And so it is that when the above mentioned championship gets underway on Friday, fans could be assured of the many slugfests that are now the norm rather than the exception. Boxers from the nation’s top gyms will participate and one could look forward to classic displays from such pugilists as Dennis Thomas, Eon Bancroft, Imran Khan and Delon Charles among others.
While these slugfests are eagerly anticipated, fans will not want to miss the action in the heavyweight division where USA based Guyanese heavyweight, Quincy ‘Biggy’ Small and Republican, Jason ‘AK’ Barker seem to be on a collision track. The draw has not yet been made but the robust Small and equally muscular Jason Barker of the Republican Boxing Gym is set to square off and barring a thunderstorm or brimstones, will clash on one of the three nights.
Small, the younger sibling of former WBC light/heavyweight champion, Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite, touched down at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri Saturday morning and is rearing to go. He said that he did not come to play but is here to win by any means necessary.
Barker is no slouch and had won the last senior championships in a blaze of fists that disposed of all comers. He has earned the sobriquet ‘AK’ after dealing his opponents forceful punches reminiscent of a shot from the high powered weapon. He will be required to get off his shots in rapid fire if he is to conquer Small, a Golden Gloves champion of no mean order.
Otherwise, boxers from the nation’s top gyms will be on show including the Young Achievers, Harpy Eagles, Forgotten Youth Foundation, Essequibo, Rose Hall Town Jammers, Pocket Rocket Boxing Gym and Carryll’s Boxing Gym among others. Action time is 20:00hrs sharp and admission is $400 and $200 for adults and children respectively.

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Four outstanding women honoured for contributions to the Arts

October 19, 2014 | By | Filed Under News 

There are many women of substance in our society whose contributions over the years go unrecognised or simply are not duly highlighted. And there are many outstanding women of Guyana’s soil who are deserving of immense recognition. Their contributions understandably cannot be adequately portrayed in the limited pages of a publication such as this, for they are so remarkable.
However, just for today, we will seek to recognise four daughters of the soil, who recently received accolades for contributions they made towards developing the Arts in Guyana.
The work of Dr Doris Elrina Rogers, Mrs Meighan Steele-Duke, Mrs Vivienne Daniel, and Mrs Gem Madhoo-Nascimento was particularly emphasised when the Institute of Creative Arts, which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, hosted its inaugural Convocation at the National Cultural Centre last month at which a total of 58 students graduated.
Regarded as ‘legends’ the four were presented with lifetime awards, owing to their unselfish and transformative contributions to Guyana.
And so it was a vital part of the Convocation ceremony to have their individual works amplified in order to showcase some of those who were instrumental in bringing life to the Arts in Guyana.

DR DORIS ELRINA ROGERS
It was no surprise when Dr Rogers was recognised for what was described as a “lifetime career

Dr Doris Elrina Rogers receives her lifetime award from Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

Dr Doris Elrina Rogers receives her lifetime award from Prime Minister Samuel Hinds

that has truly enhanced art in Guyana…” She was therefore admitted as a Lifetime Fellow of the Institute, given the fact that she has been recognised as “a distinguished national expert in the fields of Art Education and the preservation of the oral traditions.”
Dr Rogers, who has a vast academic background, has been classified as a painter extraordinaire, a Professor of Art and Art Educator, who was honoured with the status of Professor Emeritus by the University of Guyana following her retirement from that institution in 2008.
She however started her career in Rose Hall and Port Mourant in Berbice as a teacher of Science before seizing the opportunity to study Art.
The switch from the Sciences to the Arts was to pay very high dividends for the nation, as she went on to make monumental contributions in the fields of Fine Arts, university administration, research in art, and especially, in art education.
She graduated as a Trained Teacher First Class and studied Art and the teaching of Art after being awarded a UNESCO Fellowship to the South Australia School of Art.   She then studied Art at Howard University followed by a Doctorate in Art Education at Penn. State University.  During this time she also accumulated a considerable depth of experience and established her professional life.  Her overseas career also saw her assuming the position of Programme Coordinator at the Paul Robeson Cultural Centre, Instructor in Art Education at Pennsylvania State before moving on as a senior academic at the University of Benin in Benin State, Nigeria from 1981 to 1988.
Upon her return to Guyana she served as Art Specialist to the Ministry of Education and taught at The Bishops’ High School after which she started her distinguished service to the University of Guyana in 1988.  Her unique contribution to the development of the university includes her design and introduction of the Bachelors of Art Degree programme in Fine Arts in 1990, and the important establishment of Art Education on both the Turkeyen and Berbice Campuses while she was Coordinator in the Division of Creative Arts from 1988 to 2003.
Because of Dr Rogers’ input, the external image of the university was advanced and the quality of its graduates deepened by her initiation of the summer attachment of final year Art students at Toogeloo College, Mississippi, for exhibition and workshops, as well as annual public Exhibitions by University staff and students.
Professor Emeritus Rogers’ value to the institution and to the nation was also enhanced by the fact that she is an exceptional painter, celebrated among the foremost national artists of Guyana, who has researched the art and its techniques in Nigeria, and has been exhibited extensively in India, Nigeria, Guyana and North America.
Of pointed relevance to the honour she was recently bestowed by the Institute of Creative Arts is the specific way in which Dr Rogers established the Bachelors Degree in Art at the University to allow graduates of the Burrowes School of Art to complete a full degree at UG in two years.  This articulation was an important collaborative step in the network of tertiary institutions offering programmes in the creative arts.

MRS. MEIGHAN STEELE-DUKE
And it was for a lifetime career that has brought together in a creative and

Ms Meighan Steele-Duke is presented with her accolade by Mr Ivor Thom

Ms Meighan Steele-Duke is presented with her accolade by Mr Ivor Thom

developmental way, music, the teaching of music, broadcasting and distance education for the enhancement of music in Guyana, that Mrs Meighan Steele-Duke was recognized by the Institute as yet another Lifetime Fellow.
Duke’s involvement in Educational Broadcasting began at an early age in the 1960s when she was employed as a Clerical Assistant in the Broadcast to Schools (BTS) Unit of the Ministry of Information. Her interest and love of music enabled her to give advice to Senior Producers on appropriate musical selections.
When the BTS Unit was formalised in 1965, Meighan became a full-fledged producer of educational broadcasts with the focus on the accurate dissemination of information, attention to the spoken word and the use of music to enhance educational programming.  This was the background, the foundation and the launching pad for a noted and exemplary career in music education through broadcasting, training and practice that was to leave its everlasting mark on music and music education in Guyana.
Duke was appointed Schools’ Broadcasts Organiser and helped the concept of Distance Education in Guyana, because of her belief that educational programmes reaching from the Rupununi to Skeldon could bring curricula reform to teachers, pupils and the wider community.
During the 1980s she met with Distance Education specialists while attending Conferences or Training Programmes in Guyana, the Caribbean, United Kingdom and Canada and was given the opportunity to increase her knowledge on integrating Distance Education into schools’ curricula.
The GUIDE (Guyana In-Service Distance Education) programme, initiated by herself and Ms Florine Dalgetty, provided official certification for untrained teachers from several regions.
And Mrs Duke also taught Language Arts, French, English Literature, Dancing and Music and has prepared a National Songbook of Guyanese Songs under commission from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
An active member of St Andrews Presbyterian Church Choir and the  Woodside Choir for over 40 years , she is also an executive member of Korokwa Folk Group, an offshoot of Woodside.
She is now involved in voluntary teaching to children in need and presents a Singing by Radio Series for Broadcast to Schools, within the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) which emphasises her continued contribution to the land of her birth.

 MRS VIVIENNE DANIEL
Because of her exceptional achievements in the fields of dance, Guyanese dance, research,

Mrs Vivienne Daniel receiving her honour

Mrs Vivienne Daniel receiving her honour

choreography, dance theatre and theatre production, as well as in the training of others, Mrs Vivienne Daniel was also admitted as a Lifetime Fellow of the Institute.
She has been involved ‘formally’ in dance under the Department of Culture since 1973 when she became a Student of the Advanced Class of the National School of Dance. She graduated with Distinction in the first batch of ‘Trained Dance Teachers’ in 1974 and in 1978 she represented Guyana at the Ballet Festival in Cuba as – Artista Invitada.
Thus began the national career of a dancer, a dance teacher, a theatre director and manager and a choreographer of the highest order, led by one who has become a main supporting pillar in Guyanese dance theatre.
Daniel has performed nationally and internationally in Cayenne, Suriname, Trinidad, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Cuba and Canada.
In 1979 she became a Founder-Member of the National Dance Company and received specialist training in the planning and conducting of auditions as well as specific assessment procedures for the selection of prospective students for classical ballet.
From 1980 onwards, Daniel has shared her skills extensively through the training of others in dance, and was appointed Co-ordinator of the One Year Dance Teachers’ Certificate Training Programme as well as a tutor for courses in Modern Dance, Choreography, the History of Dance and Research. She is also Dance Educator-Resource person attached to the Unit of Allied Arts, Ministry of Education, Tutor for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Theatre Arts and Lecturer in Dance and Movement at The National School of Theatre Arts and Drama.
She is currently the Director of The National Dance Company, which she has guided as an artistic leader, mentor and visionary, and is Senior Instructor at The National School of Dance.
Daniel also conducts posture classes for The Physiotherapy Department for persons with scoliosis.
Her efforts over the years have seen her being the recipient of the Theatre Arts Award for Best Director; the Award of the International Dance Day Committee (Guyana) for selfless contribution and outstanding dedication to the performing arts; Artistes in Director Support-celebrating 20 years of service (Award) for outstanding contribution and support; the Rehabilitation Services of Guyana – Dedicated Service Award – in recognition of outstanding and dedicated service; Metro Toronto Caravan (Canada) – for contribution re Guyana’s Cultural  Heritage through the performing arts, and the Guyana Cultural Association NY Inc. – Guyana Folk Festival Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to Guyana’s Cultural Heritage.
Moreover, the Guyana Institute of Creative Arts was compelled to recognize Daniel’s lifetime career that has “truly shaped, developed and guided dance in Guyana” even as she rose to the status of being the nation’s foremost, most outstanding and influential choreographer.

MRS GEM MADHOO-NASCIMENTO
Understandably Gem Madhoo-Nascimento was recognised among the outstanding women

Mrs Gem Madhoo-Nascimento accepting her award.

Mrs Gem Madhoo-Nascimento accepting her award.

admitted as a Lifetime Fellow of the Institute of Creative Art. She started her theatrical life in 1973 with the PSU Drama Group, and continued it with outcomes of significant proportions when she joined the Theatre Guild of Guyana a few years later.  It was as a member and an executive officer of the Guild that she honed and developed her own craft in the theatre and began a career that was to contribute to the growth of the professional theatre in Guyana and the training and development of several others on the Guyanese stage.
A former banker with training in accountancy, she used these skills to become a pioneer in professional theatre.
Madhoo-Nascimento has been able to guide many amateur performers into becoming paid professional artistes, since 1981, with the formation of The Theatre Company.  In partnership with Ron Robinson, she co-founded and managed The Theatre Company, the first professional performing company which opened doors, thus contributing substantially to the definite development of the modern era on the local stage.
She has been jointly responsible for The Link Show the longest running, most popular and most successful production in Guyanese theatre, and has managed several overseas tours to the Caribbean and North America.
Today Madhoo-Nascimento owns and manages GEMS Theatre Productions and GEMS Youth Theatre. She has used theatre to raise funds for many charitable and sporting organisations, staged productions in recognition of International Women’s Day, given visual artists exposure through theatrical productions and harnessed a young group since 2007 into  ‘edutainment’ in a number of schools and performing at venues regionally.
She has participated in and received training from international fora and workshops such as the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, and has contributed regionally to Theatre Information Exchange of the Caribbean.
Madhoo-Nascimento brings to the theatre industry over 40 years of experience and in excess of 200 productions on a Guyanese stage whose high profile, prolificity and professionalism she has helped to build.
She was recognised with the YWCA’s ‘Women of Distinction’ Award in 2002; the 2006 Guyana Folk Festival Award – ‘In recognition of outstanding contribution to Guyana’s Culture and Heritage’.
And so the Guyana Institute of Creative Arts also recognized Madhoo-Nascimento for a “lifetime career that has truly enhanced drama in Guyana while rising to be the nation’s best in the fields of Stage Management, Theatre and Production Management as well as in the training of others.”

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AIBA confirms Ninvalle to vie for AIBA position next month

October 14, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Guyana could have a major voice in international boxing if President of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association

Steve Ninvalle

Steve Ninvalle

Steve Ninvalle, who is among eight persons vying to be an AIBA Americas Executive Committee member, gets the nod when that body holds its Congress from November 11 to 14 on Jeju Island, South Korea.
AIBA confirmed Ninvalle will be among the lot running for the position in documents seen by this newspaper yesterday.
The GABA head is among several members listed from several countries vying for positions on this key sporting body.  Once elected, Ninvalle will be an assistant vice president in the Americas area, which is led by AIBA vice president and area President Dr. Domingo Salano.
This is the first time that a representative from the English speaking Caribbean has been nominated for this crucial election of the World amateur boxing body (AIBA) and Ninvalle had earlier noted that he is a worthy candidate and will be a big voice for the Caribbean and Americas region in world amateur boxing.
In June this year, Ninvalle was nominated by his counterparts in the Caribbean at a meeting of Caribbean presidents to run alongside Dr. Salano.  The Americas region, headed by Salano, is expected to support Ninvalle along with the Caribbean area, while the two areas mentioned are in support of Salano to retain his post.
Among the other members vying for positions on AIBA in the document seen, include: Osvaldo Bisbal (Argentina), Pat Fiacco (Canada), Rafael Vega Rodriguez (Costa Rica), Alberto Puig De La Barca (Cuba), Alex Gonzalez Gutierrez (Ecuador), Ray Silvas (USA) and Fran Lopez Almeida (Venezuela).

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Boxing returns to California Square as GBA stages national Open C/ships

October 12, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Overseas boxers also in the fray

California Square in the East Ruimveldt area will be a hive of activity on October 24, 25 and 26 when the Guyana Boxing

Steve Ninvalle

Steve Ninvalle

Association stages their National Open Amateur Championships at the now popular venue.
The venue has in recent times hosted the National Novices and Intermediate tournaments, attracting a large crowd on each occasion, giving much needed encouragement to the talented young pugilists and a big boost for the sport as the executive of the association look to push the sport forward and win back the large turnout of fans as in yesteryear.
President of the GBA, Steve Ninvalle, informed that 50 boxers so far are expected to participate, representing the nine gyms around the country, which will all be looking to make their mark. Ninvalle further disclosed that the event has attracted at least three overseas fighters seeking to make their mark locally and line up to represent their country.
One fighter is a middleweight along with another boxer whose name will be released shortly, while the other is Quincy Small, younger brother of former Cruiserweight World Champion Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite.
The GBA boss further noted that overseas-based Promoter Seon Bristol’s interest has been stirred and will be here to look at the current cadre of fighters with the intention of spotting talent. He has in the past assisted local boxing and has pledged his continued support.
Small, is due here by October 19, while confirmation will be made this week on the other fighters traveling for the event.
Fans are expected out in their numbers and will definitely be in for a treat. The previous events produced many slugfests and this will be no different, while the fighters on show will be much more skillful this time around. Boxers are currently being prepared at their respective gyms and things will heat up in the coming week as they prepare to take away national accolades.

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Women in the fistic sport

October 5, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

A culture shock and more than just a cut eye

By Michael Benjamin
Those memories still linger of that night in the mid 2000s when I trooped to Base Camp Ayangana for

Shondell Alfred

Shondell Alfred

the Guyana Defence Force Novices Boxing Championships. This is the first stage of senior amateur competition and is usually action packed by dint of the unconventional styles and rollicking slugfests.
On the professional scene, Gwendolyn ‘Stealth Bomber’ O’Neil had managed to institutionalize the involvement of the ‘fairer sex’ and had become a household name just after she had defeated American, Kathy Rivers in March 2004, for the Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) light/heavyweight belt.
Women’s boxing was quickly gaining traction and on that night in Ayangana, there were about three female bouts. While O’Neil’s feat was meritorious, the pundits, accustomed to the raging slugfests among strong muscular males, were somewhat apprehensive and refused to accept the notion of women in the fistic sport. They simply laid back and awaited the natural death of the phenomenon.
Anyway, back to ringside at Camp Ayangana; the principals were ushered in the ring and introduced just before the bell rang for the first round. I remembered those two women, eager for combat, rushing to centre ring but instead of trading punches, engaged in a fierce ‘cut eye’ battle much to the merriment of the crowd. Believe me, not a punch was thrown; the women just stood there trying to hurt each other with their fierce ‘cut eye’ exchanges while the referee, probably experiencing such ‘fury’ for the first time, stood transfixed in amusement, maybe for ten straight seconds before reasserting himself and urging the women to ‘get it on.’
What followed afterwards were fierce unconventional exchanges of slapping, pushing and tugging, interspersed with a few instances of fierce ‘cut eye’ and ‘suck teeth.’ I guess only the gloves they wore spared the crowd from a fierce round of clawing and scratching. Naturally, the crowd was amused by such theatrics but the hard core pundit felt somewhat vindicated that this new phenomenon would not last.
In the meantime, O’Neil continued her trek to the top and in July 1999, travelled to Trinidad and Tobago where she stopped Kim Quashie in the first round following up that feat with a lopsided points win over Margaret ‘Chico’ Walcott in December of that same year.
While the sceptics awaited the natural death of the phenomenon of women trading (legal) blows, the women continued their upward trek and before very long, a multitude of females had stripped their skirts, replacing them with Everlast boxing trunks. Refreshingly, what had started out as a ‘cut eye’ affair, suddenly bloomed into a new but exciting prospect in the ‘square jungle’ as the women transformed the boxing arena and managed to woo the crowds.
There was Pamela London, who later went on to emulate O’Neil, winning the WIBC Heavyweight title from Trinidadian Kim Quashie by 7th round TKO at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Pauline, her younger sister, soon joined the fray and though she is still to win any major title, or even a major fight for that matter, she has brought a new trend of bravado and ‘braggado’ to the sport. One only needs to attend one of the press conferences and listen to Pauline outline plans of her intention on fight night to appreciate the pizzazz that she, and by extension, the ‘fairer sex’ brought to the sport.

Gwendolyn O’Neal

Gwendolyn O’Neal

Entered Shondell ‘Mystery Lady’ Alfred, whose petite physique hardly gave an inkling of the power she packed in those muscles. Alfred could pass for what Guyanese referred to as a ‘Tomboy.’ She grew up in the depressed community of Albouystown where she tried out her (legs) at athletics and her hands at karate. Her dad, Cecil ’Koker Dawg’ Alfred, boxed during the era of such stalwarts as the late Mark Harris and Compton Canzius, Michael Reid, Vernon Lewis and Kenny Bristol among others. It came as no surprise when Shondell stepped into the ring against Stepney ‘Stepping Razor’ George and pounded out a unanimous verdict in their 4 rounds featherweight fight.
In June 2000, Alfred suffered her first setback when she lost by TKO (4) to IFBA champion, Doris Hack in a lightweight bout at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax. Alfred enhanced her experience, albeit with mixed successes, in Canada (lost by 6 round TKO to Lisa Brown) and Denmark (lost to Alexandra Mattheus) among others before her double win against Corrine DeGroot that netted her the WIBA Bantamweight title. DeGroot did not take that loss calmly saying that she was ‘done in’ which forced WIBA President, Ryan Wissow, to mandate a return bout on the grounds that the referee had failed to acknowledge a 10th round knockdown by DeGroot of Alfred.
The return bout was the most definitive with Alfred unleashing a terrific left hook to DeGroot’s jaw which smothered her ambitions and left her prostrate on the canvass.
Maybe, the complexity of women in the fistic sport was endorsed when Alfred left Guyana a few years ago to engage Zulina Muñoz at Foro Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico, for a 12 rounds bout for the World Boxing Council (WBC) female Super/flyweight championship belt.  Pre medical tests showed that she was pregnant and the fight was not only aborted but Alfred was denied an opportunity to win another lucrative world accolade. She has since given birth to a bouncing baby girl but is yet to resume her career which once again raises the troubling issue of whether females should don gloves, one that remains troubling and contentious.
Nevertheless, females are involved in the administrative aspect of the sport and their presence has indeed made a big difference. I remember Hermina April, a competent referee/judge who has since migrated to the USA. She was a busybody on the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association and was a very good judge. Then there was another official, Faye Ann Green Haley, whose contribution was also immense. Currently, several females are within the administrative sector of the sport including Nurse Green (medic), Ramona Agard and Paulette Nurse (referees) among others.
During my active days as a boxing referee I was mandated to carry a female bout and stepped into the dressing room just before the fight. I noticed that one of the women had recently had her hair done and decorated with clips. This was a new phenomenon for me and I enquired of the senior referee if this was permitted. It was not but to have the clips removed before the bout would have been tedious and time consuming so the pugilist was given some reprieve.
During the bout, she received several clouts and after each one of them, a part of her well groomed hair unravelled. Around that time too, her breast protection gear also unravelled and I had the time of my life reasserting the situation back to equilibrium. There I was grabbing from braided hair to dislodged groin protector to shifting breast protector and depositing them over the ropes.
In the end, the crowd enjoyed a good side show and the laughter was raucous. Good luck for me I was spared the ‘cut eye’ but certainly was not exempted from the other culture shocks associated with women in the fistic sport.

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Bermuda accepts Guyana’s basketball challenge

October 5, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

- To play a three-game series in March

By Edison Jefford

Bermuda’s Senior Men’s Basketball team will be headed for Guyana in March 2015 to play in an unprecedented three-game series against Guyana, heightening the anticipation of local players to make the national team following the National Championships.

Nigel Hinds

Nigel Hinds

Bermuda’s Basketball Association (BBA) accepted the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) invitation to compete against its senior men’s team during March 10-15 next year as the two teams prepare for the Caribbean Championships later in June.
“On behalf of the BBA, we respectfully accept the GABF invitation for our Senior Men’s National Basketball team to play against the Guyana Senior Men’s National Basketball team in Guyana,” BBA President, Gregory Todd said in his acceptance letter.
The move will continue the ascendancy of basketball in Guyana under new stewardship with the GABF continuing to push for the development of players. Guyana competed in the Caribbean Championships in the British Virgin Islands in July this year.
That tour was a litmus test for the association as it continues to iron out issues aimed at finding the right combination that will bring Guyana success in the region and beyond. The GABF has subtly implied that it is eying participation in the Caribbean Championships next year after the less than obvious steps to prepare the national men’s team.
“Guyana will be seeking to use the games to showcase its local basketball talent and to prepare for the 2015 Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships,” GABF President, Nigel Hinds said in a release to the media yesterday.
Hinds said that the National Club Championships will start in January next year and from that, the GABF will be naming players to play Bermuda, with a chance to also play at the Caribbean Championships later in the year at stake. “Local players will have an opportunity to impress the selectors with a view to representing the Golden Arrow Head,” Hinds said.
In addition to the Bermuda vs Guyana fixture, it was disclosed that the Washington DC Jammers is also expected to play in what can become a three-team series. He said that it is not confirmed, but discussions are however underway to make that possible.
The GABF President said that efforts will be made to have a national women’s team from one of the countries in the Caribbean be part of the programme in March. This, he said, is also geared at developing women’s basketball simultaneously with the men.
Guyana last played Bermuda at the 2011 CBC Championships in the Bahamas where Guyana lost 58-68. Bermuda placed fifth at the Championships while Guyana placed seventh. Guyana improved their overall placing at CBC this year, finishing fifth.

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National Open c/ship, overseas outings and AIBA AGM signal intense developmental trend in boxing

October 3, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

When the nation’s amateur boxers enter the ring October 24 next in the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) National Open Championships, they will be under keen scrutiny as officials will be using this tournament to select a squad to participate in several imminent overseas championships, including the PanAm Games early next year and ultimately, the 2016 Brazil Olympics.
For that reason boxing fans could expect the usual fireworks associated with this particular championship as it pits the skills of the nation’s top amateurs at the highest level tournament. President of the GBA, Steve Ninvalle only recently returned from a trip to the United States of America and disclosed that he has been able to secure the presence of several local pugilists, residing there, to compete in the impending tournament.
He said that he has spoken to three boxers and has recently received confirmation from Quincy ‘Biggy’ Small, a compact super/heavyweight that has left Guyana some 14 years and has since been practicing his trade in the North American country.
Mr. Ninvalle also said that he is awaiting similar confirmation from two other local boxers, also residing in North America. The heated rivalry between the Guyana Defense Force and the Republican Boxing Gym is expected to continue and the Republican pugilists will be full of confidence after winning the Intermediate championships just about one month ago.
Several other units will also vie for the coveted crown including the Young Achievers, Harpy Eagles, Rosehall Jammers, Pocket Rocket, Essequibo and Ricola among others. Meanwhile, woman middleweight boxer, Theresa London, leaves Guyana shortly to compete in the World Amateur Boxing Championships slated for South Korea, November 11-15.
She will be accompanied by AIBA Level Three coach, Terrence Poole, in the capacity of manager/coach. President of the GBA will also be in the oriental country to participate in the AIBA Congress scheduled for November 11-15.
He will also contest for an executive position on the parent body; this is after he was unanimously nominated by his Caricom colleagues when they met for a caucus in Barbados recently. The conference will also address other important matters pertaining to the sport including the new format which will see amateur boxers engaging in professional contests.

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2nd Flex Night International launched…Aruba, Suriname, Brazil and Barbados to compete

October 1, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The 2014 bodybuilding calendar is anticipated to come to an exciting end with the 2nd Flex Night International event set for December 7 at the National Cultural Centre, under the theme, ‘Raising The Bar’.

The Directors of Flex Night Inc. pose for a photo following yesterday’s launch. From right, David Gomes, Fiona Harris, Robyn Marshall-Lord, Donald Sinclair, Onai Vasconcellos and Nadira Taharally.

The Directors of Flex Night Inc. pose for a photo following yesterday’s launch. From right, David Gomes, Fiona Harris, Robyn Marshall-Lord, Donald Sinclair, Onai Vasconcellos and Nadira Taharally.

Unveiling plans of a grand nature was Managing Director of Flex Night Incorporated, Donald Sinclair at the Herdmanston Lodge, Peter Rose and Lamaha streets, Georgetown. Present were many of the entity’s sponsors, Prison Service authorities, executives of the Guyana Amateur Body Building and Fitness Federation and prospective Flex Night contestants among others.
The best local athletes will flex muscles against competition from Suriname, which is in the process of launching Flex Night in that country, Barbados, Brazil and Aruba according to Sinclair.
Two locally based Brazilian females are already in training and will be joined by another from the northeastern state of Amapa. Sinclair informed that the contingents from Aruba and Barbados would be announced shortly.
On the night of Sunday December 7, at what is anticipated to be a packed Cultural Centre arena the male athletes will compete in male bodybuilding and men’s physique, while the ladies will be displaying their toned, shapely bodies in the Miss Flex Night Bikini and Ms. Flex Night Best Legs contests.
For the first time on the Guyana bodybuilding stage representatives from the Guyana Prison service will be in contention. Sinclair noted that this development is a part of the fruits of the ongoing relationship between Flex Night Incorporated and the Guyana Prison Service.
Under this initiative, a gym has been established in the Camp Street Prison with support from the Demerara Mutual Life Assurance Society. Bodybuilding will form part of the activities for Prison Week 2014.
Flex Night Inc. in an effort to ensure that the public is kept abreast with plans will be featuring profiles of the athletes leading up to competition night. A number of promotions with the various sponsors would also be done along with community outreach programmes.
The official hotel of Flex Night International is the Status Hotel, Croal Street, Georgetown. The inaugural Flex Night (2012) winner was Suriname’s Koese Soepe. (Franklin Wilson)

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It’s a case of self interest

September 28, 2014 | By | Filed Under Editorial 

The private sector’s response to Brigadier (ret) David Granger’s call for protest action to back his demands for local government elections was not surprising.  Comments by Mr. Lincoln Lewis and Dr. David Hinds were also not unexpected.  The different perspectives of the various actors point to the thread in the narratives which addresses the question of violence.
On the one hand the body which speaks for the business community, and which – incidentally had not much to say in support for calls to hold local government elections, is now very much vocal, albeit in pursuit of its own agenda.  In the opposite corner is the viewpoint that protest action is among the more acceptable means of moving an intransigent administration in a desired direction.
One group is offering the subliminal message that protest action will affect its profit margin, especially if these are timed to coincide with the approaching holiday season.  There is no stated consideration for the concerns of the wider body politic; a position which reflects self-interest pure and simple.
The other group argues that the history of post independence protest is replete with instances of unequal treatment depending on which side of the ethnic fence one sits.  The Guyanese people have at various times capitalized on their constitutional right to protest but recent history has demonstrated a movement towards an ‘Animal Farm’ mentality where some folk are more equal than others, and are therefore to be accorded a special dispensation when it comes to public protest.  In all of these inequities the voices of groupings like the PSC remain silent.
One community can come out in numbers to torch vehicles, attack police stations, assault policemen and ministers of government and the assailants are treated with kid gloves. They are virtually told that their concerns will be addressed; ‘Go and sin no more until next time’.  Another community dares to raise its voice in anger at inter alia the failing justice system, the brutality of the young and disadvantaged by the police, and the stench of a rotten local government system and its members are described as hooligans and thugs – these being among the more charitable appellations.
One thing that is sure not to have escaped anyone’s attention is that by dealing with the two situations in the manner that the administration has been treating with them, the message is being sent out that one group enjoys favoured ethnic status to the exclusion of the others.
It is incumbent on all nationalistic Guyanese to lend their efforts to eradicate this impression of ethic favouritism which is a scourge on the soul of this nation.  It seems as if people have lost sight of the long-term danger perpetuation of this evil brings.  Children are brought up in households programmed with tales of the wicked and unworthy other(s). They in turn find themselves confronted with a culture shock when they are exposed to the world beyond their ethnic enclaves.
Not surprisingly they are shown evidence to support their indoctrination like scenes of violent protestors who might be responding to aggravation caused by politically-inspired tension and inept police action.  It is never a pleasant sight to see young defenseless women cowering in fear and seeking the protection of their ethnic other with whom they work or go to school.  Ironically, those same protectors might themselves be seeking protection but no one seems to think that likely.
There is a widely held conviction supported by incontrovertible fact that political activists go into depressed communities like Albouystown and Tiger Bay to recruit people during protests and elections campaigning.  These agent provocateurs usually target young unemployed and unemployable men (and lately women) to wreak havoc on the activists’ own party supporters with the aim of ensuring their followers remain loyal while discrediting the protest action.
In the few instances where bona fide protestors seize these misguided young men and hand them over to the police no prosecutions have resulted.  The organisers of protest marches and picketing must be on their guard to deal condignly with infiltration of their ranks by people bent on bringing their just struggles to naught.

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Book Review… A passionate appeal to Cayman identity

September 28, 2014 | By | Filed Under News 

Book: Reflections from a Broken Mirror by J.A. Roy Bodden
Reviewer: Dr. Glenville Ashby
J.A. Roy Bodden’s Reflections from a Broken Mirror is written with a searing and exhaustive passion that

The book cover of Reflections from a Broken Mirror

The book cover of Reflections from a Broken Mirror

leaves little time for apathy. For sure, Bodden manages to invoke a disturbing sentiment in those who survive under the thumb of neocolonialism. And for the many who wobble in search of an identity, Bodden pierces the loins with a clarion call that is painfully necessary. He is the consummate griot, a bard and provocateur, confident that he can bring about social transformation as he so deftly states in the witty, ‘Dis Poem.’ “…dis poem will bring the change, dis poem will expand the range, this poem will start the solution, this poem will bring the revolution.”
The existential question of Caymanian identity meanders through Bodden’s work with definitive lucidity. And while he opts to divide the book, by themes, the thesis is monolithic and indistinguishable. There is no ambiguity or qualms. In truth, the concept of identity is the sine qua non of this driving effort. ‘Reflections’ appeals to our humanity, our conscience. It is a conjuration of the Caymanian archetype and spirit that are untapped, undiscovered and unknown. Bodden, a renowned academic, lays bare the stench from history that clouds the mind and blurs the vision.  He throws down the proverbial mantle with a naked look at a social mosaic on the cusp of implosion.
Bodden takes stock, unwilling to yield to fatalism. He well recognises the immortality of the nation’s fore-parents, and the detailed “Ancestral Echoes” offers readers snapshots of Caymanian history, from slavery to contemporary political and economic challenges.  His words ring true; pedagogical, even pedantic. “…and now as we review the past, the poet says ‘the die is cast,’ and as it is we should retreat but dare us not to admit defeat, for somewhere in the far off yonder, our ancestral echoes will roll like thunder and we shall once again prevail as we rise from this great travail.”
Bodden has long explored the shortcomings of Caymanian society with academic rigour. Now, although the social dynamics and narrative are the same, Bodden has regrouped with a far different delivery.
‘Reflections’ is crisp, with some well metered and cadenced verses. But for the most part, Bodden shuns colour and metaphorism. He leans heavily on literalism as if determined to heighten atmospheric exigency. This is conscious poetry, driving and didactic. It speaks to you, instructs you, compels you. Its pages bleed revolution with some nuanced advocacy for social unrest. “Expatriate and native too: You can pretend you have no clue for when the blood begins to flow, there will be nowhere for you to go, So “Work together” is the call, Or else prepare for one great fall!!”
His resistance runs deep, his ancestral appeal, ever alive. In Mia San Mia, he intones, “We have really been denied, demonized and dehumanized. Because we refuse to remain mere hewers of wood, drawers of water and draggers of stone. And just because we aspire to control our own fate they cry ‘foul’…label us corrupt and incapable, and instead of lighting a candle they curse us who are Cayamanians…”
The political process, expectant at one time, now disappoints. In One Man One Vote he pens, “The weak/the strong/ and all the throng will have their chance/to right the wrong…One man One vote Brought a false alarm, And politics has lost its charm. We’re no better now, than we were then; Except we now know, the question when?”
Immigration policy too is not spared as Caymanian identity and livelihood are threatened. Bodden’s sentiments are hardly concealed in ‘City Boy Just Come.’ “City boy in your bespoke suit, Just off the plane and taking root, Ruddy faced and slicked backed hair, you have come for my job…now that ain’t fair.”
When Bodden is through, his message of cultural awareness and self-determination never swerves. Emotive, concise and insightful, Reflections, a compendium of soul-searching poems is a triumph, far-reaching in its appeal and relevance, especially for a people psychologically displaced by history.

Feedback: glenvilleashby@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter@glenvilleashby
Reflections from a Broken Mirror by J.A. Roy Bodden, 2014
Publisher: Ian Randle Publishers, Jamaica
ISBN: 978-976-637-878-3
Available: amazon.com
Ratings: Highly recommended

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All round input needed for a return of the boxing crowds

September 21, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

Suggests Michael Benjamin

Back in the late seventies, the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH), then with three bleachers and an approximate capacity

Peter Abdool

Peter Abdool

of 3000 patrons would have been bursting at its seams with screaming fans when such pugilists as Lennox Blackmoore, Patrick Ford, Lennox Beckles and a myriad of other pugilists graced the square jungle against local and internationally acclaimed opposition.

When those pugilists hung up their gloves, another erstwhile group of warriors including Barrington Cambridge, Jeff Roberts, Darius Ford, and yours truly (if I can be excused to blow my own trumpet), among others, commanded the local scene and promoted the legacy thus retaining the action packed encounters and by extension, the huge crowd support.

Somewhere in the late eighties, a new crop of pugilists graced the scene and inexplicably the crowds disappeared. The many promotional groups, the likes of Del Mar, People’s Syndicate, Ringside and a host of others simply disappeared and the promoters blamed the absence of the crowds coupled with poor corporate support as their key reasons for downing arms; the corporate entities lamented the poor and sometimes mediocre performances of the boxers for restricting support, a chicken and eggs situation.

The concomitant result is that boxers are now fighting to near empty stands with the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC) being the sole group battling with the promotion of cards. While a plethora of reasons may be extended for the sad state of affairs, one of the key reasons for the dissipation of all round support has its genesis in several highly touted theories and unless expeditiously grappled, will witness a further degradation and an eventual unceremonious halt to the developmental wheels that has kept the sport limping forwards over the past few years.

There is absolutely no doubt that President of the Guyana Boxing Board of Control (GBBC), Peter Abdool’s heart is in the right place; he has spent endless hours mulling over strategies coupled with millions of dollars to keep the sport alive. There is no need to mention the Guyana Fight Night initiative which apparently failed to gain momentum and after approximately three years is in danger of extinction. So, barring an adverse response to the poor all round support, what then is the answer to the issue of improvement of the situation?

Dexter Marques

Dexter Marques

If one is to be honest, GBBC President, Peter Abdool, would be more interested in the advancement of the boxers; his only concern for crowd support is because it is the catalyst to the aforementioned variable. It therefore means that there is a need for the intervention of other stakeholders if the equation is to be balanced.

Boxing is a trade that is learnt in the gym but since the sport is regarded as a microcosm of life, boxers ought to be taught that the sport can be extrapolated to daily activities for a better understanding of the sweet science.

Those that extend the view that the Guyana fight Night initiative was ill advised and proved to be counter-productive do not understand the logistics of the sport or just prefer to adapt a blinkered view of the wider picture. To begin with, dozens of pugilists, at home and further afield in the Caribbean, have been kept active and elevated their professional lives through the acquisition of lucrative fights.

Many of our local pugilists also won the lucrative Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) belt and went on to attract world acclaim, Clive Atwell, Leon Moore, Elton Dharry and Dexter Marques are but a few that readily comes to mind; the problem seems to be that boxing buffs seem to have lost confidence in the present crop of boxers to truly turn in action packed bouts. Mr. Abdool’s position as the CABOFE boss has also served local pugilists well but it seem painfully obvious that our boxing (fraternity) is taking this for granted.

Just about a week ago, several boxers out of Jamaica travelled to Guyana to engage their counterparts on a card promoted by the GBBC and dubbed ‘Return of the Contenders.’ It must be noted that the ‘Contender’ is a spring off from Mr. Abdool’s Guyana Fight Night initiative.

Once again, the promoter had to contend with dismal crowd support and if one is to be honest, just two bouts really made the grade as crowd pleasers. The Derek Richmond/Sakima Mullings bout fizzed out to a farce after the former boxer suffered an early injury and by the end of the second round it was all over. Winston Pompey may have turned in his best performance of his professional career to date, but while he has shown improvement in the physical department, he has blundered mentally and may just need a few weeks at the drawing board to reorganize his career.

Richard Williamson commenced his professional career on a successful note after he would have had a commendable amateur career. It seems though, that he has lost his way and appeared weak and out of sorts for his last few fights. Leon Moore, just back from the USA, cannot honestly feel satisfied with a lopsided TKO victory over Mark Murray and ought to be cognizant of the quality of opposition from here on; fighting bums would only give a false sense of invincibility.

The standout on that card was Dexter Gonsalves who stopped Mark Austin after eight rounds of well- structured attacks and counter attacks. (His performance is for another, soon to be written article).

The news that Atwell is back and is on a collision course with Mullings is certainly heartening but good fights on a one off basis can hardly compensate for the poor quality of performances that seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

The team of coaches, the likes of George ‘Canchi’ Oprecht, Lennox ‘Cappell’ Daniels, Joseph Murray, Sebert Blake as well as those out of Berbice will now have to instil in their fighters that they must change their approaches and support the work of the officials of the GBBC if the crowds are to return. There were too many technical flaws in Richmond and other boxers’ repertoire and the gym is the place to correct them.

Otherwise, boxers need to take a page out of the books of their international colleagues who understand the intricacies of the sport and aspire to sell tickets by their actions and words. The stark reality is that boxing is now show business—no show, no business.

 

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Cross-nation exhibition b/ball games begin today

September 21, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

- ahead of National Hard Court Series

The Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) will today host two Cross-Nation Exhibition Games at the

Michael Singh

Michael Singh

Burnham Basketball Court as warm-up for a National Hard Court Series that will commence at a date to be announced.
The Games begin from 4:30pm when New Amsterdam’s Canje Knights take on Georgetown Nirva Knights and will continue at 6:30pm when Linden’s Victory Valley Royals battle Colts in what should be a thrilling encounter.
Royals just coming off a win in their 20th Anniversary tournament, compliments of sharp-shooter Chris Williams and Marlon Pollydore will look to continue their ascendency against the number three ranked club in Georgetown, Colts.
President of the GABA, Michael Singh told Kaieteur Sport yesterday that the games are geared as giving the teams a feel of what the actual Hard Court Series will be like so that they fine tune their skills ahead of the event.

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Guyanese appointed to FIBA Governance Commission

September 19, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

- augurs well for basketball development in Guyana – GABF

By Edison Jefford
Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Vice-President of Finance and Marketing, US-based Guyanese, Patrick Haynes scored huge points when he was appointed to the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) Governance Commission.

Patrick Haynes FIBA

Patrick Haynes FIBA

Haynes appointment followed the FIBA World Congress in Sevilla, Spain where a new President of FIBA, Horacio Muratore was elected last Saturday. The appointments will run until 2019, and will complete the composition of the FIBA Central Board.
Haynes assumed the post of CBC VP in January this year after newly-elected President of the Guyana’s Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF), Nigel Hinds, had nominated him at the CBC Congress, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Hinds expressed elation yesterday on the appointment. “The GABF extends its congratulations to Mr. Patrick Haynes, a Guyanese who has worked relentlessly for the development of Basketball in Guyana from the youth to the senior level,” Hinds said in a statement.
“Mr. Haynes has played key roles by contributing in cash, and kind, to basketball stakeholders in Guyana. The GABF is proud to have played a role in Patrick’s appointment; the ascendancy of Patrick Haynes from his roots in Guyana to becoming a Commissioner on The FIBA Governance Commission augurs well for basketball development in Guyana,” Hinds continued.
According to the GABF President, FIBA’s Governance Commission is one of the most respected and reputable within the organisation. Hinds also disclosed that the new GABF ensured that their relationship with Haynes remains firm, especially internationally.
“As the Honorary General Secretary of the GABF, Patrick oversees the international operations, including international recruiting, fundraising, and seeks to ensure GABF compliance with FIBA statutes,” Hinds said.
Prior to his ascendancy to FIBA, Haynes also served as a Director of Marketing for the CBC, in which he oversaw and administered all of the CBC’s online marketing programmes. In June this year, he was elected to serve as a Confederation of Central America and Caribbean Basketball (CONCENCABA) Board Member.
The FIBA Membership Commission has responsibilities for monitoring the relationship between FIBA and its national member federations and provides advice to the Secretary General. It also monitors the evolution of Statutes and Internal Regulations of the national member federations and writes proposals for improvement and alignment with FIBA’s General Statutes and Internal Regulations, and to review applications for membership.
The FIBA Governance Commission comprises of the following members:
Chairman: George Vassilakopoulos – Greece; Deputy-Chairman: Usie Richards – US Virgin Islands; Members: Abdullah Al Ansari – United Arab Emirates; Maimouna Bah Diallo- Guinea; Mabel Ching – Hong Kong, China; Terry Donovan – England; Patrick Haynes – Guyana; Jean-Michel Ramoroson- Madagascar; José Luis Saez Regalado – Spain; Giancarlo Sergi, Giancarlo – Switzerland and Burton Shipley – New Zealand.

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Grudge basketball contests on tomorrow night in Linden

September 18, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

- Livewire hosts event in aid of Monique Amsterdam

Linden’s Livewire Entertainment will host grudge basketball contests tomorrow night in aid of Mackenzie

Monique Amsterdam

High School student, Monique Amsterdam, who was diagnosed with scoliosis, at the Mackenzie Sports Club Hard Court beginning at 8pm.
The 14-year-old Amsterdam, who resides in Linden, was diagnosed with scoliosis in 2012 and is expected to undergo surgery in the United States of America. However, to do so, she has to raise $4M (US$20,000) to ensure a successful process.
Following a closely contested Linden Amateur Basketball Association (LABA) tournament that concluded last week in honour of the 20th Anniversary of Victory Valley Royals, Livewire will re-enact the Final Four with some added attractions.
The event dubbed ‘Amsterdam All-Star’ will feature Retrieve Raiders against Bulls and Amelia Ward’s Jets versus Royals in a grudge showdown. An East (Mackenzie shore) versus West (the Wismar shore) match-up is also on the cards for the night.
Apart from the games, there will be three-point shootouts and dunk contests all aimed at giving patrons as much entertainment to raise funds for the student. A Concert was also held last week while Livewire hosted a call-in programme on NCN Linden.
“I figure bringing these teams together again after they were only separated by a point last week was a good way to help raise funds for this young lady, who is in need,” Livewire Entertainment Andrew McBean told Kaieteur Sport yesterday.
Digicel Guyana Inc., NCN Linden, New Era Entertainment, Movements Sound, LABA, Ever Pure Water and Somerset Fish Shop are the sponsors of the benefit games tomorrow night, while several other individuals have also contributed to making the event possible. (Edison Jefford)

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Powerlifting Seniors set for November 9…Guyana to host 2015 Caribbean C/ships

September 17, 2014 | By | Filed Under Sports 

The cream de la cream of strong men and women in Guyana will collide on Sunday November 9 when the Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPF) hosts their senior championships at a venue to be announced shortly.
The decision was made when the GAPF executive recently met. Athletes are asked to take note that registration for this event will close on November 2; no late registration would be accepted.
Also, participation at seniors is a prerequisite for selection to national teams.
Athletes who for some reason are unable to compete must present a medical certificate and must be proven fit to compete at any meet local or international after missing senior nationals by a physician.
Apart from Guyana hosting the 2015 Caribbean championships, the GAPF has informed that athletes can look forward to the South American Championships slated for Brazil and the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships set in December in Canada.

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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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