There is really no need for ‘plastic’ Jamaicans to represent our country in international competition. But, as one would expect in any football match, the second 45 minutes of the matches seen on the weekend provided evidence that our young boys are just playing too much football. Manning Cup, Walker Cup, daCosta Cup, Ben Francis Cup, Oliver Shield and FLOW Super Cup mean that the better schoolboy footballers have very little time to (a) recover and (b) pay the requisite attention to the whole purpose of school, which is to get an education that will equip them to be productive citizens once school is over. The many stops for cramps, injuries and inexplicable technical lapses of youngsters (who earlier in the season were guaranteed to put away simple goalscoring opportunities), can only be explained by exhaustion, mentally and physically. Professional footballers in the very popular English Premier League protest in no uncertain manner when schedules require them to play three matches in seven days. Yes, professional adult males. Yet we (constantly) demand that our young Jamaicans play three matches weekly “because we have to complete the competition before the end of the school term”. The lives and future of our children are being sacrificed on the altar of blatant commercialism. At what point do we the people say to the organisers of schoolboy football ‘no mas’, ‘no more’? We can reduce the number of games played by the ‘better’ schools by (a) dividing the Manning Cup and the daCosta Cup into two tiers, with promotion and demotion based on their placing in the previous year’s competition, or (b) mandating that players be restricted to the number of games played in any football season. There is many a precedent for this. The legendary football icon, Lindy Delapenha, caused the hierarchy of a concerned ISSA in the late ’40s to restrict the number of events a child could compete in at Champs, which played a significant role in preserving his health. Delapenha is alive and well today, after a pioneering role in getting players of colour to play in the EPL. The paucity of local schoolboy ‘star’ players going on to represent their country can be traced to burnout and lost opportunities when football trumped scholastic study. Other countries have found interesting ways of mandating the number of games children play in any one season of a sport. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. We owe it to our children. LITTLE TIME TO RECOVER The FLOW Super Cup is living up to the pre-competition hype generated by a really professional marketing blitz. The competition pits the eight zone champions in the rural daCosta Cup competition against zone champions in the metropolitan Manning Cup. The initial set of games is so arranged that it ensures that it is ‘country’ versus ‘town’. This format attracts large attendances at games and serves either to deny or confirm the widely held belief that the ‘town’ schools are better funded and coached than their ‘country’ counterparts. The organisers at FLOW, the generous sponsors of this competition (dubbed the Champions League of schoolboy football), have selected the Montego Bay-based Catherine Hall complex and Kingston-based Sabina Park as the venues to be used during this weekend competition. Good choice, as it ensures that the innate skills of the boys are given a chance to shine on a stage that will be televised and broadcast to the nation. Every genuine fan of local football has bemoaned the lack of proper playing surfaces used for different and varied competitions in Jamaica. But the hierarchy of the Jamaica Football Federation has apparently decided to concentrate the majority of its resources in (what is now confirmed as a futile attempt) to buy our way to the World Cup Finals using ‘foreign’ sources. But I digress. That is for another column. This year’s FLOW Super Cup competition has lived up to the hype, as the eight matches played over the weekend have seen the expected blowouts and, of course, an upset. The first half of every match has provided a comprehensive insight of the unbelievable talent of our youngsters. We do have good LOCAL footballers and, indeed, good LOCAL coaches!
Establishment of the facility will strengthen delivery of the WCJF’s Programme for Adolescent Mothers (PAM) and expand the Foundation’s activities in the parish. The programme enables girls to continue their education during pregnancy and prepares them to be reintegrated into the formal school system after they have given birth. Story Highlights The Government has allocated $25 million for the establishment of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) Santa Cruz Outreach Centre in St. Elizabeth. Details are outlined in the 2019/2020 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.Establishment of the facility will strengthen delivery of the WCJF’s Programme for Adolescent Mothers (PAM) and expand the Foundation’s activities in the parish.The programme enables girls to continue their education during pregnancy and prepares them to be reintegrated into the formal school system after they have given birth.Anticipated targets for the 2019/2020 period include commencement and completion of construction of the facility, boosting enrolment, and increasing the number of teen mothers being reintegrated into the formal school system.The project, initially scheduled from April 2018 to March 2019, has been extended to March 2020.As of December 2018, the drawings, Bill of Quantity, and tender process were completed, and a contractor identified.PAM is the WCJF’s core programme, and is executed islandwide through the Foundation’s main centres and outreach stations.To date, the programme has served approximately 46,000 teen mothers, with approximately 1,250 registered annually. They are recruited from hospitals, health centres, schools, and communities.The programme is non-residential, and includes academic instructions, group and individual counselling and vocational training.Data show that the WCJF serves about 48 per cent of the adolescent mothers in Jamaica. The Government has allocated $25 million for the establishment of the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) Santa Cruz Outreach Centre in St. Elizabeth. Details are outlined in the 2019/2020 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives. read more
Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe Assembly of First Nations chiefs executive is “concerned” about the national chief’s decision to hire his ‘girlfriend’ as a senior adviser.AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde hired his partner Valerie Galley to act as his senior adviser. Galley acted as an adviser to Bellegarde while he was chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians and regional AFN chief for the province.Dene Nation Chief Bill Erasmus, who is regional chief of the Northwest Territories, said the issue came up during a recent executive meeting and that matter is still under discussion.“It is an unwritten policy you don’t hire your family, or especially your partner or spouse. That is a given across the country,” said Erasmus. “I think, at first, many of us were shocked.”The AFN chiefs executive acts as a board of directors for the organization.Concerns over Bellegarde’s decision to hire Galley became public Wednesday after the Turtle Island News, the newspaper for Six Nations, reported on correspondence between Six Nations Chief Ava Hill and Bellegarde over the issue.In her letter to Bellegarde, Hill said she was concerned the national chief hired his “girlfriend” and requested he “immediately take steps to rectify this conflict of interest.”Bellegarde responded to Hill via letter admitting he was in a conflict with the hire and that he sought to mitigate the matter by having Galley report to AFN CEO Peter Dinsdale.APTN obtained both letters. Erasmus said shifting who Galley reports to did not solve the issue.“It is not adequate. Our understanding is that she advises the national chief. She doesn’t advise Peter Dinsdale. That is a direct relationship. That is a conflict,” said Erasmus.Ontario regional Chief Isadore Day, who represents Hill at the AFN executive table, said he initially chose not to weigh-in publicly out of prudence. Day said the matter is a concern.“There are questions on the human resource issues and the fundamental flaw in process of directed supervision from the political office to the secretariat,” said Day, in Twitter message to APTN.Erasmus also confirmed Bellegarde initially suggested to him that Hill’s concern stemmed from her daughter’s decision to quit the AFN after she was transferred to a new job in the organization. Eramsus said that matter was not connected to Hill’s letter.“I think it is a defensive position he took and maybe he doesn’t realize the seriousness of the situation,” said Erasmus. “But in the letter he drafted to her, he admitted there was a conflict. If there is a conflict, it needs to be dealt with and this discussion is not finished.”The AFN did not respond to requests for comment.Erasmus said he couldn’t recall another AFN national chief hiring a spouse to act as a senior adviser to his office.The Turtle Island News reported former national chief Phil Fontaine appointed lawyer Kathleen Mahoney as AFN negotiator and adviser during Indian residential school settlement talks while the two were sharing a firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera read more