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Tony Becca: Wanted: a vote for cricket

first_img There is an active campaign going the rounds to vote out the president and vote in the secretary, and, as usual, this is causing a lot of ill-will among the board members and the association’s members. Those who love Jamaica’s cricket, those who profess to love cricket in general, and those who have a vote must display their “love” for the love of cricket, and their interest in Jamaica’s cricket, by voting for the man who can help cricket in Jamaica. Jamaica’s cricket right now needs a lot of things. Right now, however, it needs money, and it needs money to do many things. The clubs need money to stay alive, and cricket needs money to keep it going. Money is needed for players to travel to practise and to play games, to pay for gears, to pay for preparation of grounds, to pay the water rate and the light bill, to pay umpires, to pay for meals, and to provide prize-money, and attractive prize-money at that. Cricket, therefore, needs a man, and team members, who, among other things, is known across Jamaica, particularly in the business sector. It needs a man of impeccable reputation, a man who has a strong national image, a man who believes in the saying that work has never killed anyone, and a man who can get money for cricket. It does not need man who, if and whenever he calls a potential sponsor or financier, he hears, who is that? Cricket also needs a man as president who does not necessarily know everything about cricket. Cricket, however, especially at this time, needs a man who knows how to get those around him who knows the game and who knows how to lead the resurrection of cricket in this country. Cricket needs a man willing to look at it and one who is big enough to change cricket and to improve it. Cricket needs a general shake-up. Cricket, competitive cricket, needs to be smaller in order to be better. There should be two types of cricket – cricket for fun and competitive cricket Cricket for fun should be available to everybody, but Senior Cup cricket, for example, needs a change. It needs to go from its present 23 teams to maybe eight or 10 teams as proposed for next year. There is no doubt that would make the competition more manageable and easier to run. It would cost less money to organise, to pay for travelling and umpires, to prepare meals, and to buy balls and other things. Most important, it would lead to improvement. One could then, probably, afford to play more cricket, return matches instead of four group matches, with the best players playing with and against the best players regularly. Jamaica’s cricket is passing through parlous times. The standard of play is poor and it seems to be getting worse and worse despite the presence of a few promising young players. The only thing that can possibly solve the present situation, however, is good management, the kind of leadership at the top which can see what is happening and do something about it. It needs some good people at the top; people who love cricket and who are willing to work for cricket. The election of officers is only a few days away, but instead of trying to find those who know cricket and those who are willing to work for cricket, and hardly anything else, some members of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) are busy trying to find people who are willing to run on the “slate”. It matters not whether they really love cricket, attend cricket matches, or ever lift a hand to assist cricket If the truth be told, some of these people have nothing but a passing interest in cricket. That is the reason, except for a few places, except for some places like south St. Elizabeth, there are so few people at any cricket match in Jamaica, be it at club matches or regional matches. There is a move afoot by some people in Jamaica’s cricket to influence the voters at this week’s election of officers to again change the president and put in one who has served as the association’s secretary for quite some time. Love cricket It seems as if Billy Heaven, the man in office, is suffering a backlash from last year when the JCA’s executive had originally decided to oppose Dave Cameron as president of the West Indies Cricket Board before the association overruled them at a special general meeting. On top of that, although he got more than twice the money, some $109 million for cricket, he remained almost invisible as president. It would be good if he was more visible, but then he had a secretary. Even in a country like Jamaica, it is not necessary, not if the other members voted in are doing their work and the president is leading them. After receiving some 80 votes out of 103 last time, some have turned against Heaven, simply because he has put in place measures to enable the association’s business to run properly and for the association to operate much more cost effectively. One term is also not a long time, and Heaven deserves another term to try and do his thing, to change the people’s opinion of how Jamaica’s cricket is run. On top of that, after the quick removal of Paul Campbell and Linden Wright, and after Heaven’s big victory, following the problems re lack of money, re the use of money, re lack of sponsorship, and badly run competitions, and after the quarrels and infighting, it would be foolish to change again so quickly, especially when it is the secretary running against the president and his reasons given why he is running. Jamaica’s cricket needs support and it needs change. It does not need a change in the leadership of the association, however, at least not yet. It needs a strong man in charge, one who will continue to stand up for cricket and nothing else, especially if he is given some good men and women around him, men and women who know cricket and are willing to work for cricket, especially as volunteers. At this stage, the JCA needs volunteers, good volunteers at that. Backlashlast_img read more

Africa’s greenest hotel for Cape Town

first_imgWHen complete, Cape Town’s Hotel Verdewill feature green technology such as solarpower, geothermal heating and waterrecycling.(Image: Skyscrapercity)MEDIA CONTACTS • Mario DelicioDematech+27 21 794 1464 or +27 82 420 1010Lyndon JafthaAlready known as an innovation hub and renowned for the excellence of its hospitality offerings, Cape Town will soon be the home of the most eco-friendly hotel on the continent.As the COP17 conference draws to a close in Durban, and while the world’s focus is on green issues, the news comes at an appropriate time.The hotel – to be fittingly known as Hotel Verde, or the green hotel in Italian – will be developed by Cape Town-based Dematech, which is currently wrapping up the final approval for the project. Established in 1993, Dematech has almost two decades of experience in technical consulting and procurement.The developer is hoping for completion of the project in early 2013.Convenience and comfort for travellersWith convenience for the traveller a priority, Hotel Verde will be situated in the city’s airport precinct, and will offer an alternative to the well-established Road Lodge, part of the City Lodge hospitality group.Hotel Verde will stand just 500m from Cape Town International Airport.The hotel will offer 146 rooms and will qualify as a three-star, but according to a report on Cape Business News, the services, room sizes and fittings will be comparable to a four-star hotel.For those who are a little low on energy, the hotel will provide an electric car shuttle service to the airport and another into the city. Guests will also be able to rent electric cars to explore Cape Town.Hotel Verde’s developers are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) certification, which is controlled by the Green Building Council in the US. The Leed system helps building owners and operators to identify and implement practical and measurable green building design, construction, operating and maintenance solutions.And it’s not just good news for the environment – when complete, the hotel will have generated approximately 103 direct jobs and 247 indirect jobs.“The Hotel Verde will prove to travellers that Cape Town is a global leader in its fight to combat climate change and to use the planet’s natural resources more effectively,” said Nils Flatten, CEO of Wesgro, the Western Cape provincial governments investment agency.“It will show just how sophisticated Cape Town’s climate change mitigation and adaption strategies have become,” he added.Once the hotel is complete, its technology is expected to be on a par with the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, in Denmark, named the world’s greenest hotel for 2010.Africa’s greenest hotelHotel Verde will boast cutting-edge energy-efficient technology such as geothermal heating, ventilation and air-conditioning for temperature control, assisted by double glazed windows. Dryers in the laundry will use excess heat from the hotel to dry linen which has come from the low energy and water consumption washing machines.The hotel will run on renewable energy generated by three wind turbines, and will gather extra energy from the sun through a photovoltaic solar panel.To save electricity, public areas such as lifts and toilets will be fitted with motion sensors to control lighting, while the kitchen will feature energy-saving induction stoves and other green appliances including dishwashers.Even the gym equipment will be fitted with power generating devices – these will serve as educationals tool to help guests understand how much work is needed to generate a specified amount of electricity.As an added incentive to green-minded guests, those who use their towels more than once and don’t turn on their air conditioners will receive a credit note upon checking out.The hotel will also encourage guests to become more aware of the need to save energy by holding its own weekly Earth Hour experience, where power will be cut in public areas. To enhance the mood, the hotel’s wood-burning pizza ovens will provide a delicious dinner, eaten by candlelight.And for those who appreciate nature, a jogging trail will be set among a water-wise fynbos garden.last_img read more

SA targets corruption, overspending

first_img25 October 2012 The National Treasury is to introduce reforms aimed at developing a procurement system that prioritises value for money while strengthening the fight against corruption in South Africa. The reforms, to be led by a Chief Procurement Officer in the National Treasury, are among several initiatives announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Thursday to reign in South Africa’s widening deficit and improve the impact of public spending in the country. Presenting his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in the National Assembly in Cape Town, Gordhan said the Treasury had completed the preparatory work needed to set up the position of Chief Procurement Officer, drawing on international best practice, and that key appointments would be announced shortly.Additional anti-corruption measures The Treasury also plans to introduce safeguards, such as reviews by the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary standing committee on public accounts, for tenders above a certain amount. It also wants to assign authority and improve capacity within the Treasury to investigate the value for money associated with tenders, as well as to institute a series of detailed expenditure reviews to consider the outcomes that are achieved from the use of public finances. There is also a plan to strengthen South Africa’s anti-corruption system by providing additional resources to agencies such as the Office of the Public Protector, the Anti-Corruption Task Team and others, Gordhan told Parliament.State spending The government is expected to spend R1.06-trillion in the current financial year, rising to R1.1-trillion in 2013/14, R1.2-trillion in 2014/15 and R1.3-trillion in 2015/16. Of the government’s R1.1-trillion expenditure for 2012/13, the bulk will be spent on health and social protection (R246-billion) and education (R220-billion). The biggest rises in spending between 2012/13 and 2015/16 are in employment and social security (9.1%) and local government and housing at nine percent. The government has decided not to make any upward adjustment of the spending projection set out in the 2012 Budget, tabled in February, over the next two years – namely in 2013/14 and 2014/15. In preparing their medium-term plans – for spending over the next three years – departments have been required to reprioritise spending away from underperforming programmes and identify savings within existing budgets. Over the next three years, the real growth in compensation of state employees would average 1.3%, while capital payments would grow at 4.3%, according to the Treasury.Managing the public sector wage bill Gordhan wants the government, in the coming years, to take a more deliberate approach to managing overall employment and wage trends across the public sector, including state-owned entities, in particular by curtailing unwarranted growth in personnel numbers. The wage agreement reached this year between the government and public sector unions was higher than projected in Gordhan’s 2012 Budget tabled in February, and will cost the R37.5-billion over the next three years. This will absorb a large portion of the allocations the National Treasury had made available through reprioritisation. To free up additional allocations, the National Treasury has also reprioritised R40-billion in funds, which, combined with drawdowns from the contingency reserve, will allow budget baselines to be revised without effecting an increase in government spending. The funds will be shared between national, provincial and local government, to help pay for the higher cost in the public sector wage bill and to meet government priorities. Source: SANews.gov.zalast_img read more

David Ross Patient: ‘ARVs need to be taken daily’

first_img“Today, still, it’s ignorance that perpetuates the stigma and discrimination against those with HIV,” David Ross Patient. (Image: David Ross Patient)• David Ross PatientLeadership & Training Resource Centredavid.patient@empow.co.za• From Daveyton to New York, Lira’s still singing her heart out • Ellis uses sport to build a better world • Graça Machel is a heroine in her own right • Natalie Du Toit: ‘It is important to swim your own race’ • Jerome Slim Du Plooy cares about making a differenceSulaiman PhilipOn 4 July Americans celebrate their independence, their freedom from the yoke of British colonialism. Even in Las Vegas – a city without clocks or calendars – the residents party in celebration of their freedom from oppression.On that day in 1983 South African David Ross Patient found himself in the desert outside the city. He wanted to free his soul by flinging himself to the valley floor below. Three times Patient worked up the nerve, came close, and failed. Then he was struck by an epiphany that brought him back from the edge.“Someone had to bear witness about a time when there was a disease called HIV; why could it not be me? Natural disasters, holocausts, genocides, there are always a handful of folks who survive; I was determined to be one of those people. That was the beginning of my own self-empowerment and ‘growing a pair!’”Patient had been diagnosed as HIV-positive at a time when it was a death sentence. There were no drug regimens to treat the disease and very little understanding about a new disease that killed everyone it infected. “HIV was 100 % fatal, but I was relieved knowing I had no more than six months to live. Once the shock of my diagnosis had sunk in, I went back to using cocaine to hide my real emotions.”Patient has done more than bear witness since his Damascus moment. He returned to South Africa and has become a leading Aids activist and motivational speaker. Work by people like him has produced South Africa’s ARV treatment programme, the biggest in the world.“People living with HIV are human”Attitudes towards people living with HIV/Aids have also changed. South Africans are more accepting of people today but information about the disease, its transmission and survival is still not reaching the people who need it the most. Patient says that South Africans need to make the effort to educate themselves. “Our infection rates are still going up. Attitudes have changed but too many South Africans are stuck on the morality of transmission when we should be focusing on the science of transmission.”For the first five years HIV/Aids was called GRID – Gay-related Immune Deficiency – after a cluster of similar deaths was identified in gay communities in the US. By 1986 the US Department of Health and Human Sciences had dispelled the idea that HIV/Aids was a gay disease caused by “gay sex”. It is this stigma that still breeds ignorance in some conservative circles.People living with HIV are human… deserving of kindness and understanding, not cruelty, says Patient. “Misinformed but well-meaning clerics are telling their congregants to stop taking their medication and trust in their faith to heal themselves. This advice can lead only to death. What they fail to recognise is that God inspired the scientists who created the test for HIV and then created the ARVs. Thanks to those God-inspired people there are millions of people who lead normal lives, who get to see their children graduate or watch them get married.”Survival is a personal choice says Patient. Taking charge of your own treatment and health is the best way to live a long productive life. It is possible he says, pointing to his own survival. It has been decades since HIV was a death sentence; in South Africa the life expectancy of someone living with HIV/Aids is only a few years shorter than the average. This of course depends on people living with HIV doing their part to stay alive.HIV is a manageable diseaseThe ABC programme has made HIV a manageable disease; you do not have to give up on your dreams, you can get your degree, build that dream house. You can live your life Patient urges if, “you educate yourself about how your immune system functions. What you need to do to support it and giving it those things. Understand that your wellbeing rests in your hands and nobody else’s.”“Doing nothing is committing suicide. If you are drowning and I throw you a rope and you tell me you’d rather wait for a boat to come along, when there is none in sight, you are basically ending your own life.”In 1983 the prognosis for someone who contracted HIV was death. The last best hope was the drug AZT, released in 1987 in the US and Europe; it had been proven to kill the virus in petri dishes in the lab. With treatment most patients were given six months to live. The side effects – chronic headaches, nausea and muscle fatigue – for most patients, were as bad as the disease, but it was the only drug available.“I was on the original human trails of AZT back in late 1985, into 1986 and stopped after about eight months due to how toxic the drugs were. We were taking 12 pills a day whereas today ARV is one pill a day.”The manufacturer of AZT never promised a cure (in 1993 the drug was shown to not cure HIV/Aids), but it kept you alive longer and, psychologically, gave people who thought of their infection as a death sentence hope. If AZT kept you alive, maybe someone would find a cure, or a vaccine.Today those dreamed-of other treatments exist. A three-drug regime helps keep the virus stable and allows people living with HIV to lead productive lives. South Africa has the largest treatment programme in the world but Patient sees a problem in this success.“Adherence levels (to treatment) are dismal. Government needs to help people understand that ARVs need to be taken daily, for life. People start feeling better and then stop taking medication. This holds the promise of huge public health challenges down the road with drug-resistant strains if the virus is being transmitted.”It disturbs Patience that there are people who believe that HIV has been cured, that a pill regimen will make you okay. It is frustrating that this idea exists because people stop listening. Patient believes the path he has followed means he needs to speak out – for those too poor, powerless or weak to be heard. “Not just for those of us living with HIV. Most peoples, civil society and the medical profession as well, have an incredibly outdated understanding of HIV. We need as a nation to update our understanding around HIV and health in general.”Starting HIV education with the basics A teen girl in SA is 8 times more likely to get infected than a male teenager. (Image: David Ross Patient)South Africa’s ARV and HIV programmes are based on the preconception that people know and understand how their bodies work. Patient believes that any programme must begin with the very basics so people do not feel like they’re groping around in the dark. “We are talking above people’s heads because these fundamentals are not in place. Most programmes are too technical to hook people. People are being left confused because we are piling what they are about to learn on top of what we assume they know.”If he had to design a programme, Patient would begin with life skills programmes in school. They should be mandatory with a set curriculum. This would remove a teacher’s personal beliefs and sexual misinformation from the process. “If you have an educator who is uncomfortable talking about sexual reproductive science fears and beliefs, this does nothing to educate people about the reality of HIV.”Patient is more than just a candle flickering in a cold wind. He is healthy, and happier than he has ever been. He has gone from being the kid who had tried multiple times to kill himself before he was 17, to finding success as a motivator and Aids activist. “There is still a stigma of shame attached to HIV but I have helped by talking openly.”last_img read more

Turning point in Pakistan vs New Zealand World Cup match

first_imgNew Zealand put 302 on board against Pakistan, who are definitely not good in chasing. And when it comes of 300-plus scores they usually find themselves up against the wall.And that’s what happened during the World Cup Group A match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy, where the team just floundered as the Kiwi bowlers made merry.But, the turning point in the game was those three important dismissals that had the Pakistan team reeling on 23-4.First Ahmed Shehzad fell to Kyle Mills on 23-2 in the seventh over. Then Mills accounted for Younis Khan in the same over and the Pakistan scoreboard read 23-3. In the next over Nathan McCullum scalped Kamran Akmal and Pakistan went down to 23-4.Those quick dismissal Pakistan were already looking down the barrel.Man-of-the-MatchIt has to be Ross Taylor, who scored an impressive 131 off just 124 balls to helped the Kiwis put an impressive 302 on board. His fine innings was decorated with eight fours and seven over the fence shots.last_img read more