GOOD NEWS It’s brilliant that a fourth-form class of 33 students at Wolmer’s Girls’ School could sit CXC Mathematics and hammer it to the tune of 33 distinctions. This accomplishment speaks volumes about the aptitude and attitude of the girls, the work of their teacher and the learning environment provided at the school. A closer look reveals good news for sport. Five of those 33 bright sparks represent Wolmer’s in sport. This quintet includes national Under-17 goalkeeper Oneilia Yearde, three track and field hopefuls and the other is part of the traditionally strong Wolmer’s volleyball group. Their success flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that asserts that academics and sport don’t mix. We’ve all heard the stories about sportsmen who needed help to complete their travel documents, capable only of a barely legible scribble for a signature. I haven’t heard those tales in years. The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the governing body for high school sport and the teachers in our schools deserve a lot of credit. Years ago, ISSA instituted a minimum academic performance eligibility rule. This statute sets out to ensure that student-athletes have to make an effort in the classroom as well as on the field of play. Recently, I witnessed a teacher handing out assignments to members of a Manning Cup team after a match. She issued a word of encouragement to each recipient and reminded all of the due date for completion. That type of care and diligence for our student-sports is very valuable. The teacher of the Wolmer’s 33 is Lance McFarlane, a Boys and Girls’ Championships medal-winning sprint hurdler and 400-metre runner for Kingston College (KC) in 1999 and 2000. Teacher McFarlane represents another piece of good news. Though his days as an active athlete are long gone, he is excelling in the classroom. With his help, those 33 young ladies have put CXC mathematics behind them. Now they can tackle fifth form with a lighter course load and with the confidence that they can do well at whatever they choose. He also is a symbol of a productive life for retired sportsmen and women. Retirement comes sooner, for some like McFarlane, or later for luminaries like the incomparable Usain Bolt, but it comes nevertheless. If they pursue their new lives with the energy they showed as athletes, they can be successful. Some may walk away as Bolt plans to do next year as global brands, with the world at their feet. Others may test the waters in business before they retire like super sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Whatever the course of action, all must carefully map the way forward for the rest of their lives. For now, let’s all hail Yearde and her fellow student-athletes in that stellar group of 33 at Wolmer’s Girl’s. Along with their teacher, they represent bright hope for the future. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
Border controversy…says Guyana still open to meaningful cooperation with neighbourBy Jarryl BryanFollowing the submission of Guyana’s memorial on jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month, a date has in turn been set for the Venezuelan Government to submit its own counter memorial.This was revealed by Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, during his contribution to the Budget Debates on Friday. According to the Minister, April 18, 2019 has been set for Venezuela to submit its counter memorial.Greenidge remained optimistic that the ICJ has jurisdiction to resolve the controversy; something he noted has plagued its relations with Venezuela. According to the Minister, this issue has undermined the country’s ability to develop its sovereign territory.“Now that the matter is before the ICJ, some observers may be tempted to ask what if anything the MoFA is doing on this matter. Venezuela remains our neighbour and we still have to work closely with Venezuela on matters of mutual interest within the framework of several regional and international institutions where we share common membership,” Greenidge said.“Notwithstanding the ICJ process, Guyana remains open to pursuing meaningful functional cooperation whenever that opportunity arises. We have sought to do just this in relation to health challenges, such as measles, malaria and other infectious diseases,” he also observed.Greenidge pointed out that Venezuela continues to experience a significant outflow of its citizens, who seek better opportunities in neighbouring countries in the Region. The Minister acknowledged that Guyana has in recent years found itself the source of many thousands of migrants to other states in the region.“The Government of Guyana has been working closely with relevant regional and international organisations to agree on a humanitarian response to the massive movements of people.The Government of Guyana has also sought to address the inflows into our own territory. Of course, we have been a destination for irregular inflows from several states in the Region such as Haiti and Cuba,” Greenidge said.“We have therefore found it necessary to give consideration to modified or new rules and regulations to govern this migration. The objective being to recognise the movement of persons was taking place without material means and often without means of identification let alone passports. In those circumstances we would not want to criminalise migrants simply for inadvertent breaches of immigration rules.”On November 19, 2018, Guyana submitted its memorial on jurisdiction to the ICJ, an important step as the country moves forward to have the controversy over the 1899 arbitral award settled. The memorial states that Venezuela is not correct in arguing that the controversy must be resolved exclusively by friendly negotiations, a claim which Guyana says is not justified in the terms of the final 1966 Geneva Agreement to which both parties agreed.It adds that the boundary was set out between Guyana and Venezuela in 1897 before the October 1899 award. In January 2018, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres chose adjudication by the Court as the means for finally resolving the controversy, with Guyana filing its case in March of this year.When US oil giant ExxonMobil announced the first of multiple oil finds in 2015, Venezuela renewed its claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Venezuela has been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil, and has since renewed claims to the Essequibo region.On January 30, 2018, Secretary General Guterres concluded that the Good Offices Process – which the parties had engaged in for almost 30 years, but it failed to achieve a solution to the controversy – and chose the ICJ as the next means of settlement, for which Guyana has long been advocating. Sir Shridath Ramphal and Ambassador Audrey Waddell are assisting Minister Greenidge.The United States has since announced that it supports Guyana’s case.