WITH Jamaica collecting just one medal so far at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto – a silver from swimmer Alia Atkinson – things are expected to get better when competition in track and field will get under way this morning at the CIBC Athletics Stadium starting at 9:05 (all time listed are Jamaican).Some 42 athletes, 22 males and 20 females, will be hoping to bring more glory to the country and improve on the five-medal haul of four years ago at the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.Originally, 47 athletes were selected to represent the country, but the Jamaica Olympic Association was forced to reduce the numbers by five due to the new qualification standard for the meet, as some of these who were originally selected did not meet the qualifying standards.Thirteen athletes are due for action on today’s opening day, where nine finals are slated to take place. Schillonie Calvert and Sherone Simpson will be the first two Jamaicans to take the track in the first round of the women’s 100 metres at 9:30 a.m.Sheldon Mitchell and Jason Livermore will be in action in the first round of the men’s 100m 40 minutes later.looking for first medalThree other Jamaicans are down to compete in the morning session. National long-jump champion Demar Forbes will be in action at 10:45 a.m. before Samantha Elliot and Ristananna Tracy compete in the semi-finals of the women’s 400m hurdles at 11:05 a.mTriple jumper Shanieke Thomas will be hoping to give Jamaica a first medal in track and field when she competes in the afternoon session in the women’s triple jump final at 5:05 p.m. Five minutes later, another Jamaican will be in a field event final, as Raymond Brown will compete in the men’s shot put, while Daina Levy will compete in the women’s hammer throw final at 6:35 p.m.Kimmara McDonald in the 800m and sprint hurdlers Monique Morgan and Kimberly Laing will close out competition for Jamaica on the opening day. McDonald will run in the preliminary round of the women’s 800 metres at 5:55 p.m., while both Morgan and Laing will compete in the heats of the 100 metres hurdles at 5:15 p.m., where they will be hoping to advance to the final, which is slated for 7:50 p.m.Schedule for Jamaicans9:30 a.m: Women’s 100m heats10:10 a.m: Men’s 100m heats10:45 a.m: Men’s long jump preliminary11:05 a.m: Women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals5:05 p.m: Women’s triple jump semi-finals5:10 p.m: Men’ shot put final5:15 p.m: Women’s 100m hurdles semi-final5:45 p.m: Women’s 800m semi-final7:50 p.m: Women’s 100m hurdles final
Nineteen months after the historic return of Local Government Elections in Guyana, the non-functionality of the constitutional organ, the Local Government Commission (LGC), ended as eight members of the body were appointed in October 2017. But accusations of Government interference via Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan are still being recorded. Nevertheless, Minister Bulkan has contended otherwise, indicating that last week’s swearing in of Mayors and Deputy Mayors was testament to his Government’s commitment to local democratic organs. He was at the time responding to the media on concerns that he was overtaking the role of the LGC even after the body was duly constituted.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan“There is little or no evidence to suggest that this Administration is not committed to ensuring that the democratic governance obtains and that there is respect for organs created by the Constitution. I have no power to usurp the authority of the Local Government Commission, it’s created by an Act of Parliament and I am committed and I am discharging respect for the Local Government Commission to allow for the discharge of their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution,” the Minister observed.Local Government CommissionerClinton CollymoreHowever, a different story was painted by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) LGC members who just a few weeks ago by their explanations indicated that there was political grandstanding on the part of the Minister, in that the body is being treated as just a front, while Central Government essentially runs the show. The Local Government Commission is the body that has oversight of the local government system, especially the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and municipalities, such as Georgetown and Mabaruma. However, PPP Commissioners have highlighted that in spite of the LGC’s enactment budgetary allocations, the Communities Minister “continues to hold on” to vital areas of authority that fall under the Commission. LGC Commissioner Clinton Collymore told the press earlier this month that access to finance and space was a problem they were encountering.“We have a difficulty accessing funds, a difficulty accessing space and accommodation and a difficulty with how the Commission responds to public matters,” Collymore had disclosed, saying the Eping Avenue building does not cater for all the members of the Commission.Minister Bulkan however said last Wednesday that to the best of his knowledge, all of the sums that have been requested was disbursed or at the final stages of being disbursed.“Allocations have been made to the Local Government Commission in the sum of $20 million in 2017 representing recurrent expenditure and the sum $110 million in 2018 – $20 million representing capital expenditure and $90 million as recurrent expenditure,” he explained.“If [the] allocation proves to be insufficient, with justification, I’m sure that the Minister of Finance will allow for supplementary provision to be made later in the year,” he noted.Former Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker had however noted that the current Government has been written to about the situation on numerous occasions but to no avail.As the fallout over the LGC continues, elected PPP Opposition officials are highlighting, through the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Government appointed Regional Executive Officers (REOs) of operating contrary to finance laws in Regional Democratic Councils. However Minister of State Joseph Harmon said last week the “little aberrations” being reported at PAC did not begin in 2015, noting that Government has been training REOs.