Paul Wright | Give change a chance

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt (right) shares a light moment with Jamaica Cricket Association president W. Billy Heaven (left) and group CEO, GraceKennedy, and chairman of CWI’s Corporate Governance Committee, Senator Don Wehby, after a high-level meeting at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel last Wednesday.

The Wright View

West Indies cricket has, for several years, moved from all-conquering giants of the sport to minnows struggling to qualify for major tournaments. We only qualified for the next International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup by virtue of reaching the finals of the qualifying competition and being beaten by Afghanistan in the finals. Change was demanded.

The previous administrators of Cricket West Indies (CWI) instituted a policy of exclusion that resulted in many of our best and most talented performers either walking away or being unceremoniously discarded from representing us. Fans wanted change, past players demanded change, and politicians tried to insist on change, but all to no avail, until the delegates of CWI, some of whom listened to presentations of the two candidates for the position of president, voted eight to four for a change.

The incumbent president lost the election, and a new president was elected and given the task to initiate and administer the change everyone wanted.

The selection policy was changed, a move that opens the door, once again, to the best of the regions cricketers. Team personnel and players have been changed, and new faces appeared.

However, the disciples and supporters of the losing presidential candidate seemingly will have none of it, and already, we see every move by the new administrators being subject to criticism on radio and in the print media, BEFORE the changes have an opportunity to perform.

The usual shouts of ‘traitors’ and ‘badmind’ escaped the lips of the backers of the defeated one, in the early days following the election, and when these charges gained absolutely no traction, we now see articles about the style of OUR president, Ricky Skerritt. Dave Cameron lost the election.

Rebirth and revival

Let us all with one voice wish him well in his new dispensation and give our support to the new president and his team, as we strive to return to the good old days when we were proud of our players, win, lose or draw, in world competition. Give change a chance!

The holy time of Easter is about rebirth and renewal. As we mourned the loss of cricket writer and gentleman, Tony Becca, we learnt of the passing of another icon of sports.

The Honourable Patrick H.O. Rousseau passed on last week and will be laid to rest on Friday. He was a hockey player of note, manager of national sport teams, and an administrator extraordinaire of cricket.

He rose to the post of CWI president where he (almost) single-handedly conceived the idea and convinced members of the ICC to have the World Cup of cricket here in the West Indies.

He was a racehorse owner, breeder and past president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA, a name that he insisted on and changed during his term as president).

He was a lawyer, negotiator, friend, and mentor to all who came in contact with him, and he will be missed.

I think that as these changes occurred just prior to this holy week of Christian celebration, we should use this opportunity of rebirth and renewal to look ahead at what can be and cease and desist from looking behind at what was.

Ricky Skerritt and his team have the reins of power and the opportunity to move cricket in the West Indies to where it ought to be based on the God-given skills and talents of our West Indian sisters and brothers. Let us support them and our own people for his term of office.

If he and his team falter and do not produce the type of performance that our players are capable of, then by all means, criticise. But for now, forget the past, move on. Dave Cameron has lost the election. Ricky Skerritt won. Fair and square. I end by repeating: ‘Give change a chance.’

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Sweep! – Jamaica dominant in relays and sprint hurdles to cap off fantastic Carifta 2019 outing

Collin Reid
Jamaica’s Cedricka Williams breaks the Under-17 girls discus throw record with a heave of 47.94m on the third and final day at the Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands yesterday. Collin Reid photo courtesy of Courts Jamaica, Guardian Life, Supreme Ventures and Alliance Investments.

JAMAICA brought out the broom at yesterday’s final session on the third and final day of the 48th Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands. They were perfect in both sets of 4x100m and 4x400m relays and the sprint hurdles, where they had a clean sweep in both disciplines. The Jamaicans also exerted their dominance over their Caribbean neighbours with a haul of 85 medals, comprising of 36 gold, 33 silver and 16 bronze, three medals more than last year’s tally.

Action on the track started in the 4x100m relays, and first to take the track were the Under-17 girls as the quartet of Crystal Shaw, Brianna Lyston, Glacian Loutin and Kay-Lagay Clarke set the tone for the remainder of the evening. The team won in 45.63 seconds as Trinidad and Tobago, 45.73, and Bermuda, 47.47, finished second and third.

Double sprint Under-20 champion Briana Williams gave the Jamaicans a flying start in the girl’s Under-20 event, and despite a poor exchange between herself and Joanne Reid on the first exchange, the lead was too big as Reid safely took the baton to sprint hurdler Ackera Nugent on the third leg and Kemba Nelson just went through the motions on anchor to give Jamaica an easy win in 44.23 seconds, getting the better of Trinidad and Tobago, second in 45.11, and Barbados, third in 45.52 seconds.

Despite an average start from lead-off runner Richard Nelson in the boy’s Under-17 event, the speed of Adrian Kerr, Christopher Scott and Nkrumie Bouwahgie was too good for their rivals as they sped to an easy win in 41.59 seconds. Bahamas, 42.18, and Trinidad and Tobago, 42.45 second occupied second and third, respectively.

With three out of three, it was left to the under-20 boys to close the show for the Jamaicans, and this they did, but anchor leg runner Ryiem Robertson, the 100m silver medallist, had to call on his best to hold off a fast-closing Bahamian athlete as Jamaica won in 39.46 seconds, just ahead of the Bahamas, 39.49 seconds, with Barbados third in 40.18 seconds. The Jamaica team was led off by 100m champion Oblique Seville, with Vashaun Vascianna on second leg handing over to 200m champion Xavier Nairne on third.

Spurred on by the magnificent showing in the relays, it was now the sprint hurdlers’ turn and they did not disappoint, winning all four with a quinella in three of these.

Fresh off her anchor leg on the winning 4x100m relay team, St Jago High School’s long-legged Kay-Lagay Clarke held off her teammate, Crystal Shaw, in a tight finish, to take the girls Under 17 100m hurdles in 13.68 seconds, as Shaw got second in 13.72 seconds, with third going to Anthaya Charlton of Bahamas in 13.83 seconds.

Excelsior High School’s Nugent, the fastest hurdler in the world this year in her age group, despite stepping up to the Under 20s, had no worries as she had an impressive personal best of 13.24 seconds in winning. Sarah Belle of Barbados, 13.55 seconds, and Gabrielle Gibson of Bahamas, 13.80 seconds, took second and third. There was bad luck for Jamaica’s Crystal Morrison, the 2018 Under 17 gold medallist and record holder. She hit the fourth barrier very hard, causing her to stop before jogging across the line.

Calabar High School’s Dishaun Lamb became the first Jamaican at the meet to be among the records as he took home the Boy’s Under 17 100m hurdles in 13.54 seconds to remove countryman Vashaun Vascianna’s one year old record of 13.60 seconds. Teammate, Neil-Matthew Sutherland took second in 13.61 seconds, with Matthew Sophia taking third in 13.64 seconds .

Rasheed Broadbell and Vascianna, who are teammates at St Jago, closed a quinella for Jamaica in the Boy’s Under 110m hurdles. Despite crashing hard in the fourth barrier and losing his momentum, Broadbell kept his cool to win in 13.26 seconds, ahead of Vascianna, second in 13.32 seconds.

In another track event, Calabar’s Kevroy Venson successfully defended his title in the Boy’s Under 20 5000m, after winning in 15:21 29 minutes, beating Gabriel Curtis of the Bahamas into second place, with a time of 15:23.15 minutes, and Fabian Campbell getting bronze for Jamaica with a third place finish of 16:00.03 minutes.

In field events action yesterday, Jamaica picked up two gold medals through Cobe Graham and Rajaun Ricketts. Graham copped the Boy’s Under 20 Shot Put with a winning heave of 18.62m as teammate, Kai Chang finished third for bronze with 17.57m. In the Boys Under 17 Triple Jump, it was a one-two for Jamaica as Ricketts won with 14.26m, ahead of Jaheim Cox, second with 14.01m. Earlier in the day, Apalos Edwards mined bronze in the Boys Under 20 Triple Jump after finishing third with 15.05m.

Jamaica’s Cedricka Williams also broke the Under 17 Girls Discus record with a throw of 47.94m, ahead of teammate Damali Williams, second with 40.87m and Dominica’s Treneese Hamilton, who took bronze with a mark of 39.29m.

Carifta 2019 final medal count

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Easter Monday trebles at Caymanas

Lionel Rookwood
Hilly’s Halo (centre) gallops away from the field to win the Easter Sprint Cup over 1,100 meters at Caymanas Park yesterday.

APPRENTICE Reyan Lewis combined with Patrick Lynch yesterday to notch a rare jockey-trainer three-timer GLITTER RIVER, PERFECT ASSET and FORMAL FASHION all favourites on the 10-race card.

Champion jockey Anthony Thomas also rode a three-timer, EARN YOUR STRIPES, LUANA, and Gary Subratie’s United States-bred HILLY’S HALO, who outfinished 4-5 favourite PATRIARCH in a stirring stretch battle in the Easter Sprint Cup feature race at five and a half furlongs.

Leading trainer Anthony Nunes saddled two winners, closing the Easter on a high note after sweeping last week’s 1000 and 2000 Guineas classics.

Nunes won one race in the stewards’ room, KALAHARI awarded the eighth event after the disqualification of first-past-the-post VIRTUOSO, who swerved to her left at the start, sparking a chain reaction resulting in multiple interferences.

Nunes’ other winner, EARN YOUR STRIPES, needed no assistance from the men in suits. Fifth in the 2000 Guineas two Sundays ago, was restrained by Thomas before pouncing on AMERICAN INVADER three and a half furlongs out.

Running 16lb heavier than EARN YOUR STRIPES, United States-bred LEGALITY tried to move as a team with the local-bred but flattened out in the straight when asked to challenge by Omar Walker.

Yesterday’s holiday card closed the Easter carnival with Nunes’ stakes earnings so far almost doubling those of his closest pursuers, Gary Subratie and Wayne DaCosta, a lead which gives him his best chance ever of securing his first trainers’ title.

Racing continues at Caymanas Park on Saturday.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

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News Briefs

Children’s safety takes spotlight for Labour Day

The nation will focus on projects related to children’s safety for Labour Day 2019.

The May 23 public holiday, usually geared towards encouraging citizens to undertake projects to uplift communities, will see special emphasis is being placed on instituting safeguards for children on the roads and at schools.

“It is timely, and I think we should also address … the safety of our children from predators. We cannot overlook [this] in our planning and discussions, [as to] how we will address it in a public way,” Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said as she addressed members of the National Labour Day Planning Committee, which she chairs. last Thursday.


Deadly weapons found in Hanover cemetery

The Hanover police seized four illegal firearms and several rounds of ammunition in a cemetery on Sunday as part of what is being described as heightened operations across the western parish over the Easter weekend.

The police said about 1:10 p.m., a team of officers carried out an operation at the Santoy Cemetery on Church Hill Road in Green Island.

They found an Intratec sub-machine gun, a Taurus pistol, a mini Taurus pistol and a Smith and Wesson pistol. Seventy-six 9mm rounds of ammunition were also seized.



Queen Elizabeth II turns 93

Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 93rd birthday, which this year coincides with Easter Sunday.

The Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms marked Easter by attending a service with other senior royals at St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, west of London.

The Queen’s birthday is marked this year by an unusual sunny spell that has sent flowers blooming on the extensive castle grounds.

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen. She marks her official birthday in June with the Trooping the Color parade.

The two-birthday tradition dates back more than 250 years, when it was instituted by King George II.

Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She still maintains an active schedule, although she does not travel as often as she used to.

Her 97-year-old husband, Prince Philip, has retired from public duties and did not attend the service.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Azar over Tennis Jamaica controversy


Tennis Jamaica presidential candidate John Azar says there is no bad blood between him and executive members of the current administration.

Azar battled the association in a court case for presidency in 2015 after allegations of overvoting and unfair electoral practices. On the contrary, Azar says he is more than willing to work with anyone who is interesting in helping the sport.

On November 19, 2015, Azar took the then John Bailey-led administration to court after he received 40 of the 77 eligible votes for the presidency at the aborted annual general meeting (AGM) that year. But while Tennis Jamaica accepted that Azar received 40 votes to Bailey’s 43, at the AGM, the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the votes led Azar’s supporters to file to the court to declare him the winner. However, this did not materialise and he decided not to contest the revote after a rerun was ordered.

But Azar insisted that the past is the past and that he is looking to lead Tennis Jamaica into a new era.

“There is absolutely no motivation as it relates to that (2015 court case),” he told The Gleaner. “The motivation in 2015 was because of my passion for the game that I love, and my concern for the sport and where it was going.

Motivation remains the same

“My motivation in 2019 remains the same. What happened in the past election has no bearing on me putting myself forward to serve.

“My motivation is a concern for where the sport is going and the feeling that it doesn’t need to be that that way.”

Last week, incumbent Aswad Morgan withdrew from the race, leaving Azar as the only presidential candidate for the April 30 election.

But Azar insists that he will be relying on the expertise and assistance of current administration members such as Morgan and general secretary Leroy Brown who can still provide invaluable contribution to the development of tennis locally.

“The issues surrounding tennis are numerous,” he said. “Communication with members is poor, the lack of events or tournaments being hosted by the association is another concern, and the association speaks about not having funds to grow the sport or sponsor our national teams, but I don’t see enough effort being made.

I want to grow the sport and bring back participation and change the trajectory I see the sport going over the last few years. I want to ensure that the association is fair, transparent and inclusive in all its actions.”

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

JAS to move off Gov’t books in two years

Photo by Christopher Thomas


Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson, has announced that in the next two years, the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will become a non-government agency and will have to finance its own operations.

“The JAS is over 125 years old with a membership of over 220 members, and it is now going to be transitioned from a public body to a non-government organisation within the next two years. That means that the JAS will have to be standing on their own two feet,” said Hutchinson said during his address at the Montpelier Agricultural Show held yesterday in Montpelier, St James.

“That means that the JAS will have to be making money themselves so that they can finance their operations. At present, the Government is paying the JAS roughly $100 million a year to assist in the running of their organisation, but in another two years, they will have to stand on their own,” the minister said, while outlining several policy shifts to be made in the agricultural sector.


Hutchinson also told the show’s patrons that more emphasis will be placed on farmers receiving input and assistance through organisational bodies instead of acting on their own.

“To grow agriculture in Jamaica, we have to change the culture. We now have to be team players, and we can no longer be the Lone Ranger. We’re finding that many times, inputs are given through RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority), but when it is channelled out, it goes to persons who say they want fertiliser and chicken and then turn around and sell it,” said Hutchinson.

“I am one who believes in giving all the inputs through organisations and not individuals. When you give it to the organisation, like the JAS, you know that the executives there know who the genuine farmers are, and they are able to give it to those genuine farmers who are in need of it at that particular time.”

Other areas of focus for agricultural development include the introduction of new crops such as strawberries and castor beans, and provision of $700 million in support to local farmers this year.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Chris Taylor could make Penn Relays

Gladstone Taylor

Calabar High School captain Christopher Taylor could be ready to run at the 125th Penn Relays, set for April 24-26 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, even if he is unavailable, Calabar hope to complete a hat-trick of wins in the Championship of America 4×100 metres.

Speaking in the Cayman Islands at the 48th Carifta Games, Calabar assistant coach Omar Hawes said, “As you know, Chris was having some discomfort during Champs (the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships). We pulled him. We’re still doing some medical work, and if he’s back to full competition mode, he’ll be at Penn.”

Taylor struggled to second place in the Class One boys’ 400m and did not take his place in the 200m final. The 2015 World Under-18 400m gold-medal winner was on duty for Calabar in 2017 when the ‘Green and Blacks’ set a Penn Relay and Jamaican high-school record of 39.00 seconds. He returned to help Calabar defend their title in 2018. According to Hawes, the team management is planning for all possibilities. “If not,” he considered, should Taylor be unavailable, “we’ll have to dig deep in the treasures we have at Calabar.”

Those treasures include the last two Boys and Girls’ Championships gold medallists, Michael Stephens and Oblique Seville, and former Class Two 100m champion DeJour Russell.

Seville added the Carifta Under-20 100m title to his growing list of credits on Saturday after speeding to a time of 10.13 seconds at Champs.

Russell, the 2017 World Under-18 110m hurdles champion, could be Calabar’s trump card.

“Looking back to full fitness since the last time I saw him before I left Jamaica was DeJour Russell,” Hawes said. “So we’re looking at just putting a team together, change up the baton passes, get some good understanding [of] which leg to run and all that,” he said.

Usually, Taylor, Stephens and Russell run the last three legs, but Hawes said there are going to be rearrangements.

Fierce competition

Competition in Philadelphia will be fierce as Jamaica College, Calabar and Kingston College (KC) have all won important local races this season. Jamaica College clocked 40.22 seconds to win at the Western Relays in early February but lost to a Calabar team with Taylor at the Gibson McCook Relays at the end of that month. Calabar was, however, disqualified for a baton-passing violation.

Wolmers’ Boys’ School inherited that win. At Champs, KC built on a fine start from in-form long jump and hurdles star Wayne Pinnock to beat Calabar 39.98 to 40.15 seconds.

Taylor did not run that race. Nevertheless, Hawes can see Calabar completing a hat-trick last accomplished by Wolmers’ Boys’ School in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“That’s the plan, but, as you know, you have to put the thing together on the day, so I think we have a team that can go out and perform well enough,” he said. “Hopefully, the stick gets around, and we should be good.”

Calabar did a Penn triple last year, with Taylor helping his school to a fast win in the 4x400m relay in 3:03.79 minutes. In the boys’ 4x800m, Calabar sped to a meet record of 7:26.09 minutes.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

JET keeps talk going to save Cockpit Country

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The splendour of Dornhead River in Trelawny is just one of natural treasures of the Cockpit Country that the Jamaica Environment Trust wants preserved for the benefit of future Jamaicans.

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has ramped up its public-awareness drive on the Save the Cockpit Country campaign with the release of a new set of public service announcements ahead of Earth Day, which was observed across the world yesterday.

Released via social media last Thursday, the latest series is hosted by 10-year-old Amirah Dixon, a student environmental leader from Marjam Prep, St Ann, and who has been participating in JET’s school’s environment programme since 2014. Episode 1 features Amirah exploring the rugged Cockpit Country terrain on foot, narrating environmental snippets about its critical role in Jamaica’s biodiversity.

“Cockpit Country is water! Cockpit Country is people! Cockpit Country is Jamaica’s heartland!” exclaims the young narrator.

In Episode 2, Amirah explains that ground-truthing confirms which features along the boundary should be included in the Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA), and made the point that if any big changes are made to the protected area boundary, Jamaicans should be told why.

“Every Jamaican should be following the process to protect the Cockpit Country – so much is at stake,” Amirah appeals. “Until ground-truthing is complete, the Cockpit Country cannot be protected under Jamaican law.”

“The second PSA outlines the role of ground-truthing in the process towards the declaration of the Cockpit Country Protected Area under law,” Suzanne Stanley, CEO of JET, explains in a press release. “Each episode has a different theme. The first episode highlights the important water resources, biodiversity, forests and communities Cockpit Country supports.”

On November 21, 2017, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the designated CCPA boundary in Parliament and said the area would comprise of approximately 74,726 hectares, including forest reserves, significant hydrological and ecological features and cultural and heritage sites. The Forestry Department has been tasked with ground-truthing the CCPA boundary, which is expected to be completed early next year.


Through its Advancing the Protection of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country project, which began in May 2018, JET has been advocating for an expedited ground-truthing of the CCPA boundary and the involvement of civil society and local communities in management planning for the protected area.

“The aim is to keep the conversation about the protection of the Cockpit Country going,” Stanley explained. “The final episode will be released in May and will feature testimonials from Cockpit Country residents who live in communities where bauxite mining is taking place just outside the designated protected area.”

Since 2018, JET and Cockpit Country communities have been advocating that a buffer zone should be established around the CCPA to ensure that important groundwater reserves in and around Cockpit Country remain intact. They assert that activities which will damage the natural environment, important cultural and historical sites, and local livelihoods should not be allowed within this buffer zone, including quarrying, mining and prospecting.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Chelsea move into top four

Kirsty Wigglesworth
Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek (centre) fails to score during their English Premier League match against Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London, England, yesterday.


Chelsea moved into the English Premier League’s (EPL)top four yesterday with a frustrating 2-2 draw with Burnley.

Goals two minutes apart from N’Golo Kante and Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea on top at Stamford Bridge after Jeff Hendrick had given Burnley an early lead.

But Ashley Barnes pulled the visitors even in the 24th minute and Chelsea was unable to get the winner despite dominating possession and finishing with 22 shots.

Chelsea moves into the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot one point above Arsenal and three ahead of Manchester United but have played one game more.

Burnley, meanwhile, all but guaranteed their EPL status for another season.

The Clarets are nine points above Cardiff in the final relegation place with three games left and have a far superior goal difference.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here

Shaw urges farmers to ramp up pumpkin production


Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw is urging farmers to grow more pumpkins as he has found a market for the produce.

Addressing the 2019 staging of the St Mary Agri-Expo at Gray’s Inn Sports Complex in Annotto Bay yesterday, Shaw told farmers: “All the pumpkin you can produce, you produce it. You hear me? I have an exporter in Manchester. I got a call from up in Clarendon – ‘Mr Shaw, we cyaa sell wi pumpkin’ – within one week, all the pumpkin dem have di man tek it off an’ ask mi if that’s all him can get. Him get ‘bout three trailer load a pumpkin. He has told me that he has a market overseas for 12 containers of pumpkin per month in Jamaica. Unnuh plant unnuh pumpkin! Plant yuh pumpkin. I have the market for it.”

Shaw said the plan was to sell as much fresh pumpkin locally and overseas, then process the remainder.

“What you don’t sell fresh in terms of fresh pumpkin for local and the export market, you process it into pumpkin purée. Sweet potato, you cut up sweet potato squares and you put them in a can, them have a two-year shelf life; pumpkin purée, two-year shelf life.”

The minister also named five markets that he is aiming to develop that will enable farmers to sell their produce more readily – hotels, which he said would have to be targeted in a more systematic way; CARICOM; the Jamaican diaspora in the United States, Canada and England; the exotic market; and a school-feeding programme, which he has promised to speak on in Parliament today.

News Credit: The Jamaica Gleaner | Read here