The revelation that there would again be no hurdles event in this year’s Digicel Grand Prix series at the recent launch came as a big shock for many individuals close to the sport.On the schedule are the: 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres and 4×400 metres relays, along with the long and high jumps. The latter was added to the list this year.This snub can be seen as a slap in the face for the athletes who are involved in both the intermediate and sprint hurdles. One can understand the hurdles’ absence during last year’s introductory season of the Grand Prix, but it is indeed a big mistake that for the second year in a row this discipline is not one of those events that will be contested.The people who make up the Technical Committee are competent individuals and they do understand the strength of the country’s track and field, so why add the high jump and not one of the hurdle events? Why is it that both the 100m and 200m are being contested at the same meets? They could simply have replaced the 200m with either the 100m hurdles or the 400m hurdles.Outside of the 100 metres, hurdle events have been the country’s most successful at the international level, and athletes doing this discipline should be encouraged.At the last IAAF World Junior Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Jamaica had two medallists as Jaheel Hyde won gold in the 400m hurdles, while Tyler Mason won silver in the 110m hurdles.Last summer, it was gold for Danielle Williams in the women’s 100m hurdles with her sister Shermaine also making the final. In the men’s 110m hurdles Hansle Parchment, an Olympic bronze medallist, won the silver medal here, while Omar McLeod almost made it to the final. Also, the defending champion in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the Commonwealth Games is none other than our own Andrew Riley.If we are getting success in a particular discipline, we must continue to give the younger athletes in the event the support and encouragement that they need.EXCELLENT TRACK RECORDJamaica’s track record in the hurdles has been excellent over the years with several athletes winning major medals.Among the juniors it started with Gillian Russell and continued with Camille Robinson, Shermaine Williams, Natasha Ruddock, Latoya Greaves, Sherene Pinnock, Yanique Thompson, Jeneive Russell, Marvin Williams and Keiron Stewart who have all won medals at the junior level internationally.Among the seniors the likes of Michelle Freeman, Deon Hemmings, Delloreen Ennis- London, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Winthrop Graham and Danny McFarlane have all had major success.The Digicel Grand Prix series will start on Saturday February 6 with the Western Championships in Montego Bay and the Youngster Goldsmith inside the National Stadium.There is hope that good sense will prevail and it will not be too late for the organisers to have a change of heart and replace one of the sprint events with either the sprint or intermediate hurdles.- R.G.
In the face of climate change, overfishing, illegal and unregulated fishing, the Agriculture Ministry has secured a five-year management plan for the artisanal fisheries sector that will be implemented immediately.Artisanal fishing involves the exploitation of fish and shrimp species for local consumption or export and is done on various scales. The Department of Public Information reported that there are five objectives outlined in the action plan.According to DPI, these objectives seek to address issues relating to licensing and registration, marine environment, safety and order at sea, dialogue cooperation and coordination, and finance.Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder remarked that the transformation the artisanal sector will undergo is one that is necessary for its growth.“These changes will be resisted by many, but with awareness programmes by the Fisheries Department, and with assistance by Cooperatives, I am sure all involved in this sub-sector will be willing to adapt to these changes,” the Minister is quoted by DPI as saying.Among some of the changes that are necessary to effectively manage the sector are modification to fishing gear, to the types that are more environmentally friendly, along with the enforcement of closed seasons.During an invited comment to DPI, Chief Fisheries Officer within the Department of Fisheries, Denzil Roberts touched on another topical area that the action plan seeks to address. “We will have more enforcement to ensure that the vessels are licensed,” the official explained.Meanwhile, WWF-Guianas’ Country Manager, Aiesha Williams mentioned that while the conservation body consistently partners with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Fisheries, further collaboration will be done as the plan is being implemented.According to Williams, “we will definitely work with the Department to assess the fish stock. We are really re-catching, re-eating, but we don’t have a good idea of the fish stock and the impact of our fisheries extraction on the stock itself.”Without knowing the fish stock for different species, monitoring of fish populations may be difficult. Hence, the Country Manager declared that once a baseline of the fisheries stock is established, monitoring can be done. This will address concerns such as the harvest of fish of improper sizes and low harvest counts.Williams highlighted that under the Safety and Order at Sea section within the plan, the actions to be taken seek to improve tracking of vessels, reporting and addressing piracy.As such, while pledging to work alongside the Fisheries Department during the phases of implementation, Williams described the handing over of the management plan as one that is, “a show of our commitment for safeguarding of our marine environment, as well as the wellbeing and our livelihoods of folks that depend on the sector”.This management plan, which runs from 2019 to 2024, allows Guyana to maintain its obligations towards upholding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #14 which seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.