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Hubert Lawrence: New era in netball

first_imgPaula Daley-Morris has a big job ahead of her. As the new head of Netball Jamaica, her task isn’t just to maintain existing standards of performance but, if possible, one day to exceed them. It won’t be easy. Under the erstwhile Marva Bernard, Jamaica kept its time-honoured position in the world’s top four. Most recently, Jamaica was fourth at the 2015 Netball World Cup and third at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which is a virtual world championship. Daley Morris’ mission and that of her Netball Jamaica team will be to move the Sunshine Girls up to the top step of the podium. Astute as she is, the new president will already know the obstacles that lie ahead. Unlike Australia, New Zealand and England, Jamaica plays most of its netball outdoors. The open air makes the ball act differently and the preponderance of hard concrete court surfaces lend themselves to knee and ankle injuries like the one centre Paula Thompson seemed to suffer from at the World Cup. At the same time, the rest of the Big Four have professional leagues at home which allow their netballers to focus on the game, while ours juggle timetables that include school and/or work. Therefore, the edge Jamaica might have with talent is covered by extended practice time by players in Australia, New Zealand and England. One worry is that other teams who go professional and indoors can catch up. A semi-pro league was recently started in Jamaica. In its first season, it was contested outdoors. Hopefully, it will simulate world- level competition and go indoors next season. If it does, it would stretch candidates for national team places and be better preparation for international play. The solution to both going indoors and going professional is money. As with Bernard, the new president will have to do a major marketing job to convince the public and sponsors to contribute to netball. Existing programmes to raise new talent and more qualified coaches should be retained and strengthened. New ones will no doubt be conceived, too, as the need arises. With the next Commonwealth Games set for 2018 and the next Netball World Cup coming in 2019, it would be great if financial solutions could be found early on. With more full-time players practising and competing indoors and with a wise choice of national coach, Jamaica could step up in 2018 and 2019. This year, despite the 2014 Commonwealth bronze medal, Netball Jamaica had to make a public appeal for funds to cover its Netball World Cup expenses. The new president will have seen that and will know the hurdles that lie ahead. Everybody who wants Jamaica to be world number one in netball will wish her the best of luck. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at court side since the 2003 Netball World Cup. Local leagueslast_img read more

GECOM Chairman to be selected within days

first_imgOpposition and President meeting…both sides to “hammer out” names…Opposition upholds 3-month election deadlineOpposition Leader, Bharrat JagdeoOpposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo and President David Granger has made progress on the appointment of a new Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairman, which is expected to materialise within days.This consensus was announced after a high-level meeting on Thursday at the Ministry of the Presidency. Following the meeting the Opposition Leader told the media that both sides committed to having the appointment of a new GECOM chairman completed in the shortest time possible through smaller meetings.“Both sides agreed, the President and I that this matter is so important that it should be settled in the matter of days. We’re hoping that with good faith and negotiations on both sides, that we can resolve the matter of the new Chairman of GECOM within a matter of days. Those were the President’s words,” Jagdeo expressed.Article 161 (2) of the Constitution dictates that the Chairman “shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other fit and proper person, to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons, not unacceptable to the President, submitted by the Leader of the Opposition after meaningful consultation with the non-governmental political parties represented in the National Assembly.”Jagdeo noted that while he has jurisdiction over the selection of these six names, the President will be allowed to make suggestions. He contended that the list will entail some of the 18 nominees, which were rejected by the President in 2017.“I will submit names and the President could initiate names. We are not averse to him suggesting names too but the constitutional responsibility to submit the six names is that of the Leader of the Opposition…I will start with a resubmission of the 18 names appropriately adjusted for people who may not want to have their names resubmitted. We’ll use those names as the starting point. Should we not agree on all six names coming from those 18, then we will be supplying additional names,” he stated.The President had rejected the Opposition Leader’s choices and unilaterally appointed retired Justice James Patterson as the GECOM Chair. This led to a court battle which ended last month when the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled that the appointment was done through a flawed process and in breach of the Constitution.PresidentMeanwhile, President Granger, immediately after the meeting with Jagdeo said that the Government is acting in accordance with the decisions from the CCJ. He agreed that the work of GECOM will accelerate under new stewardship.“Until the GECOM Chairman is appointed, the work of the Commission will not be able to move ahead as quickly as possible. Earlier in the year, we said we were interested in credible elections. At the same time, we wanted to make sure that we operated on the basis of advice by the Chairman of the Commission itself. I met with the Chairman. I also met with the Leader of the Opposition to ensure that the Guyanese are given every assurance that everything is being done to implement the decisions of the Court,” Granger told the media.ElectionsAs it relates to elections and House-to-House registration, another engagement will be scheduled to address concerns from both Government and Opposition.According to Jagdeo, most importantly, “erroneous claims” by Government officials about youths not being on the voters’ list should be discussed thoroughly. He maintained that continuous registration has been ongoing and a Claims and Objections period will produce a clean list.“I said to him, if the concerns are genuine and we want to treat your concerns as expressed as genuine concerns about credible elections, where you indicated erroneously that the young people will not be on the list or the list will be flawed without House-to-House registration. I would like to discuss at length to show you how we can have credible elections with just updating the list through Claims and Objections.”The Opposition Leader also asserted that as pointed out to the President “we had four elections that were held on this same list. In 2011, his party won the majority in Parliament. In 2015 he won the government on this list. They’ve held two local government elections on this very list and so they had no problems with the list before.”While the date for elections was not discusses, the Opposition is sticking to the three-month deadline and any time further is seen as a delaying tactic.“I believe that House-to-House registration on their part is a ploy to delay the elections. They don’t want elections in three months and so they know going to house-to-house registration will mean elections next year,” he positioned.President David Grangerlast_img read more