With just a few days separating the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Champion-ships now under way at the National Stadium and Jamaica’s crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at the same venue, Independence Park Limited (IPL) has taken several steps to ensure that the wear on the surface is limited. IPL General Manager Major Desmon Brown told The Gleaner that every effort is being made to limit the effect that the five-day high school track and field championships will have on the infield area, with the hope of ensuring the surface remains in pristine condition with the Reggae Boyz March 25 qualifier in mind. “What we hope to do, and we will try as best as possible, is to limit any damage to the infield area during Champs of course,” said Brown. “At the same time, we don’t want to kill the spirit for Champs, but it’s also important to do our best to preserve the surface as best as we can ahead of the World Cup qualifier.” Adjustments include the repositioning of electronic advertising boards to the cycle track in front of the bleachers section – from their customary spot at the edge of the infield area – and the addition of protective mats in the shot put vector. “Basically, events like the javelin and discus don’t do too much damage to the surface itself, but for shot put, we have put in the protective turf because that can really create some problems,” Brown added. Officials will also be limiting movement across the infield and have erected protective bordering to help where this is concerned. Brown did, however, admit that they may find it difficult to enforce this restriction at the end of the championships when the winners are announced. “If it’s a one-off thing like what we see from time to time at the end of Champs when winners are announced, it wont have too much of an effect,” he reasoned. The ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships will come to an end on Saturday night Calabar High and Edwin Allen High are defending their respective boys’ and girls’ titles. Meanwhile, the Reggae Boyz will be looking to improve on their three points secured to date in their CONCACAF semi-final round World Cup qualifying campaign against Costa Rica on March 25.
Chelsea won 2-1 at Southampton on Tuesday to extend their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League six wins and six draws to 12 games. But they have already lost four at home, a fifth would represent their most Stamford Bridge defeats since 1995-96. On Wednesday, Stoke beat Newcastle 1-0 with a late goal from Xherdan Shaqiri to move into seventh place.EVERTON VSWEST HAMEverton are unbeaten in their past eight Barclays Premier League away games but at Goodison Park they have won just four; they need to win three of their remaining five home games to avoid setting a new low for home successes. On Wednesday, West Ham beat Tottenham 1-0 with a Michail Antonio goal to move into sixth place.NEWCASTLE VSBOURNEMOUTH,Bournemouth beat English south-coast neighbours Southampton 2-0 at home on Tuesday with the Cherries keeping consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season. The Cherries have met Newcastle just three times in the league and lost all three. In their only previous visit to St James’ in the league, in September 1989, they lost 2-1 and when the teams met at Bournemouth earlier this season they lost 1-0.SOUTHAMPTON VSSUNDERLAND,Saints have won seven and lost five of their 14 home games. If they win each of their remaining five games at St Mary’s they will set a club record of 12 home Premier League victories. Their previous best was 11, set in 2000-01 and again last season. Sunderland have already conceded a massive 37 away goals in 14 away games, just two fewer than their record in the Premier League (39 conceded in the 1999-00 campaign).SWANSEA VSNORWICHThe Swans have won just four home games; their previous fewest home league wins is six (in 2012-13 and 2013-14) and they have just five games in which to avoid setting a new club record in the Premier League. Norwich, meanwhile, have lost 10 and drawn two of their 14 away games but when the teams met at Carrow Road in November, the home side won 1-0 with a goal from Jonny Howson.CRYSTAL PALACE VSLIVERPOOLCrystal Palace have now gone 11 games in the Barclays Premier League without a win; their last victory was in December at Stoke, while they last won at home against Southampton, also in the last month of last year. But Palace have won their last three league games, home and away, against Liverpool and are unbeaten in the last four.
The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has stopped the Rice Producers Association (RPA) from using the Water Users Association (WUA) building at Number 63 Village, Corentyne, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).The RPA had used a public address system to announce its proposed meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the last crop issues with farmers and others members of the RPA.Some of the rice farmers who were present at the meeting which was held at an alternative locationHowever, on Monday, the Chairman of the 52-74 Water Users Association, Neezam Raja, received instructions from the NDIA not to allow the RPA to host its meeting there. Guyana Times was told that the instructions were handed down from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NDIA, Frederick Flatts.When contacted, Flatts confirmed that the decision was one made by the management of the NDIA. He noted that permission has to be granted for such an event.However, General Secretary of the RPA, Dharamkumar Seeraj said it was unusual for assess of the Benab facility to be denied to the RPA.According to Seeraj, for more than 30 years he has been working with farmers and it was the first time farmers were being denied access to that office to address their concerns.Seeraj believes there is political interference.In recent weeks, rice farmers have been very critical over the limited reaction received from Government through the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) in tackling the paddy bug infestation which was countrywide and saw some farmers losing their entire crop, while others could not sell their paddy to milers because of its poor quality.Farmers in Berbice have also slammed the GRDB, saying the production figures released by the General Manager of the GRDB, Nizam Hassan, were misleading.Hassan had announced that the national average for rice production was above six tonnes per hectare which is an excellent yield.Rice farmers on the other hand noted that the General Manager failed to mention the extremely poor quality of rice produced during the crop.At Mondays meeting, which was eventually held next door to the WUA building at Joe Park, over 50 farmers attended where the impact of the paddy bug infestation was discussed.Farmers noted the serous damages caused to their crop as a result of the widespread infestation of paddy bugs.Concern was also expressed over the high increases implemented over the past year to cultivate rice, foremost among them being the inclusion of Value Added Tax on agriculture equipment.Farmers noted it now costs 12 per cent more on all tractor parts and for a new tractor, while paddy bags have been reduced from 143 pounds to 120 pounds. This, they say, has resulted in a loss of income.Included in the increase cost of production is the increased land rates which Government is demanding from the farmers.