The Carifta Games are still as right for the young track and field athletes of the region as they were first staged in 1972. As seen last weekend, Carifta still gives the future stars of Caribbean track and field their first experience of international competition. It’s an invaluable first step on the way to the top.For so many, including the dominant Jamaican teams, it’s a maiden voyage into competition beyond their own shores into airline travel, different cuisine and unfamiliar stadia. It was a master stroke when the Barbadian Austin Sealyformulated the event in 1972. Now, as it was then, it’s like international competition 101.The Carifta Games also presents data for regional track and field administrators to learn from. While the sprints in both the Under-18 and Under-20 age categories had enough entries to require a preliminary round, that wasn’t the case in other events. While that wouldn’t be a surprise in the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m, there were no heats in the girls’ Under-20 800 metres, the 4x100m and 4x400m for boys and girls in both the Under-18 and Under-20 categories and in most of the hurdling events.Five girls faced the starter in the 400-metre hurdles for Under-18 girls, with four in the Under-20 version. This is startling, given the bright history in a discipline where Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have produced high-class exponents. It was worse among the boys, with the corresponding numbers being five and three. Here the region has recently produced champions like Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago and Bahamian Jeffery Gibson.Four girls came to the blocks in the Under-20 100-metre hurdles and five young men came to contest the Under-20 110m hurdles.In the field, only three girls are listed as participants in the Under-20 high jump. This is in contrast to an apparent Caribbean upswing in the event. Just last year, Levern Spencer won this event at the Pan-American Games, with her St Lucian compatriot, Jeanelle Schepper, taking the NCAA title for the University of South Carolina. Earlier in March, the Barbadian Akela Jones cleared 1.98 metres in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) indoors as part of the heptathlon. Jones also won the individual high jump as well.If those numbers represent ongoing trends, and in many cases they do, then the region has lots of work to do.Jamaica may be able to take care of itself. Thanks to the ISSA Boys and Girls’ Championships, our high schools pursue excellence in a wide range of athletic disciplines. Even here, there are long running weak spots in the jumps, throws and middle and long distance disciplines. The rest of the region doesn’t have Champs and needs help to spark development. Some, like St Vincent and the Grenadines, don’t even have a synthetic running track.Maybe that’s why Jamaica is becoming attractive to junior athletes from the region. They can’t wait until development comes to their island home. So they instead come to the place where, because of Champs, development is far more advanced. It’s a fair guess that they will keep on coming.n HUBERT LAWRENCE has made notes at track side since 1980.
Dear Editor,President Granger has sent a letter to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) urging them to begin preparations for General and Regional Elections in Guyana. While this seems to be a commendable act on his part, you have to read on to see the nefarious plan in that so called elections preparation bid. The rest of his statement says, “The Government of Guyana is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that the Commission is provided with the financial resources and have sufficient time to conduct credible elections.”Now, let us stop there and analyse the last part of that sentence, “give the Commission sufficient time to conduct credible elections”, that “sufficient time” he is insinuating is time for GECOM to hold a long drawn-out house-to-house process which in actuality is a People’s National Congress (PNC) election campaign process to rig the elections.So, the sinister plan is tag funding for the Commission on to a house-to-house campaign, then summon a parliamentary session in which he would somehow coerce the Opposition into voting on one unitary whole. In essence, the PNC would have gotten what they wanted; that is, outsmart the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) with a well prepared list of fake SOPs to gain that one-seat majority again.Well, I have news for them that is not going to happen because that plan rests on the Opposition and the Government coming together on a two-thirds majority plan to grant GECOM those privileges. So, let me assure Granger that the PPP/C is not giving in to that plan, no never! If Granger and his rigging partners think that the PPP/C is going to buy into that foolishness they need to disabuse their minds of the thought!So, to Granger and his PNC controlled GECOM this is the situation, we will go into a constitutional crisis because you folks have made it possible with that corrupt rigging attitude of yours. You still believe that you can pull it off with a one-seat majority win and foist yourself on the Guyanese people yet again, but that is not going to happen. To Mr Granger, your nefarious tricks have exposed you; please call the election?The way forward will be the following; except the President call an election as required by law, there can be no extension to the March deadline. The funding Granger is talking about has already been budgeted for in the last “early budget” read and successfully passed in Parliament. Ample provisions for the holding of an election by GECOM was provided for in that budget. No allocations were made for house-to-house registration which in our case is unnecessary and improbable, because there is a valid voters list, valid up until April 30.Which is more costly a house-to-house exercise coupled with an election or an election? The answer is an election and that we must have within the 90-day period. We still have time because March 19, is the deadline date, come on Granger do the honest thing stop pussyfooting you are at the end of your tether.You have to realise that Granger is trying his utmost to stave off that constitutional crisis which comes into immediate effect in the coming weeks. This is what has him in a bind. The simple solution to all of this Mr Granger is for you to call an election, the Constitution requires that of you.Respectfully,Neil Adams