Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Student-athletes transfer dilemma in high schools

As the debate rages on regarding the transfer of athletes in the high schools system for the sake of playing for a coach/team/school there are a number of issues which must be addressed. 1. The transfer story is old - dating back to at least four decades 2. It is not exclusive to Jamaica 3. Parents are as much a part of the problem as is the recruiters 4. The regulatory/monitoring bodies MUST be strengthened to ensure the goals of the education industry are met The dynamics of education are changing, strange but true...no longer are children being 'forced' to pursue the traditional career paths, but instead go after lucrative career areas, much of which include study in the non-traditional areas, some of which are frowned upon. While the split in where the choices should go, continue, the system is moving ahead and as a result policy leaders should be aware of what these changes are and create an environment for as much of us to exist as possible. I will cite examples from the states of Georgia, Florida and California where a lot of these problems exist. They have the equivalent of what is in Jamaica - the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) and they are in charge of monitoring what happens in the schools. They monitor * students requests for transfer * schools from where the transfer is being sought * schools to which the transfer is required * grades of the students * general school records which may reveal behaviour * ability of parents to afford where applicable, or accommodate, sometimes in the case of relocation I am of the firm belief that parents have a responsibility to the children and should not be forced to move their children from school to school while accepting gifts. In deciding to move a child, careful consideration should be given whether the move is an advantage to the child in the pursuit of higher education. By the way, higher education in this instance can also relate to going after dreams of being an athlete, famous dancer, soulful singer etc. If the school the child wishes to go to offers the best environment for the student to learn, then move. The move is to be done within the rules of the system. The state of Georgia got 6,000 such requests in the 2010 - 2011 season and 76 per cent of that list was granted. The regulatory team keeps watch. In Florida, the Florida High School Athletics Association is the body which monitors the requests. So too is the Southern Commission in California. I say we boost the human resources of ISSA to help them with the work they have already started to ensure that the moves are above board and there is very little, if any, inappropriate behaviour by schools and/or coaches. Having identified that there is an issue, I say we move to resolve the issue soon and let's look at the 2013 to 2014 season how we can enforce the rules established by ISSA. The history of dialogue and setting up of teams in Jamaica (Task Forces) to look at issues doesn't have resolutions coming too quickly, but if we can 'stamp out' some of the known areas of activity where the transfers are blatant, then we would have been a few steps ahead. Parents have a right to offer their children the best option, but not for a fridge, stove, car or money.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Long term Operator for Hotel Braco Expansion Being Sought

Bid process entering final stage KINGSTON, November 21 The National Insurance Fund, owners of the Hotel Braco in Trelawny, Jamaica has set December 14th as the deadline for final bids from experienced hotel brands to be chosen to manage the famed hotel as of June next year . Currently, the bid managers Kronos Consultants, who are managing the process on behalf of the NIF, continue to accept Letters of Interest to prequalify candidates.”Based on the number of enquiries we have had we will continue to accept Letters of Interest with the understanding that the deadline for final bids remains at December 14th” said Michael McMorris, CEO of Kronos. “Presently , already approved bidders have more than three weeks to the final bid deadline but if a company feels it can do the necessary due diligence in two weeks, sends in their LoI next week and qualifies, then we will acknowledge them as Approved Bidders too and give them access to the final bid information. No one however will get more time for the final bid submission, that date is fixed at December 14th” added the Development Consultant. The Request for Interest document is now available upon request via email to the exclusive bid managers, KRONOS Development Consultants at (bracohotel@kronosid.com) or the National Insurance Fund. The elegant Property which currently has 226 rooms is set to double that number on the existing 84-acre property located in Braco, Trelawny, Jamaica over the next few years . According to McMorris, “Operators who wish to be considered for the leasing /management of the existing hotel can greatly strengthen their bid by offering to participate in the Development.” He added – “that will be one of the key areas of evaluation when considering the final bids after the December 14, 2012 deadline.” The winning Operator will be selected by the NIF on or before January 30th 2013. About The NIF The National Insurance Fund (NIF) is established under the National Insurance Act of Jamaica and resides within the Ministry of Labour & Social Security. The NIF currently manages J$71 billion (US$779 million) in real estate, fixed income and equity assets. About KRONOS KRONOS Consultants - Jamaica's premier Development Consultants are exclusive advisors to the NIF for the execution of the Operator Selection Process and have been involved in the development of new ventures and the repositioning of existing properties since 2005. KRONOS has provided a turnkey selection process solution utilizing its Virtual Data Room for the secure and confidential exchanging of information with candidates.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


SPANISH TOWN, November 20 After three decades of contributing to the growth and development of Physical Education and Sport in Jamaica, the GC Foster College continues to prepare candidates to fulfil the growing demands of the sport industry. Continuing its core function to train PE teachers, the College has also been engaged in complementing and supplementing new and relevant skills sets through its offer of related courses. The 2012 version of the Graduation exercise scheduled for Sunday, November 25 will feature the success of some of those related courses and will see the successful candidates for the newly installed two-year coaching, sports instruction and sports massage therapy programmes. A total of 31 will collect certificates and diplomas for successfully completing their courses. Additionally, 88 persons will collect the bachelor’s degree in physical education and 76 persons the diploma in teacher education. The College recently celebrated five of its massage therapy programme graduates who were part of the Jamaican team to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The institution which was a gift from Cuba has been in existence since 1980 will also honour four stalwarts who were integral to the establishment of the College. They are the former Prime Minister, Michael Manley, Hugh Small, former Minister of Education, Youth and Sport; Derrick Heaven former Member of Parliament; and Cedric McCulloch former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport. According to Principal Edward Shakes “the College represents an enduring legacy of Michael Manley’s foresight and recognition of the importance of sport to national development, and with sport emerging as a great business opportunity, the institution is poised to prepare its students for the market.” Minister of Education, Deacon Ronald Thwaites will deliver the keynote presentation and will charge the new professionals to be excellent in their offer of service to Jamaica and the wider global market. Principal Edward Shakes is reiterating that he expects the graduates to continue to uphold the good reputation of the institution as they strive for personal growth while contributing to nation building. The College has a capacity for over 600 students and they are currently participating in courses for Certificates, Diploma, and Bachelor's Degree programmes primarily in Teacher Education and Coaching, but also in related programmes geared towards an ever-growing sport industry.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


By nature there is expected conflict in sport as it relates to competition on or off the field/track. In this case there is a bid for leadership and what inevitably happens in a run up to an election, contenders present a best case scenario at the expense of their opponents. What has happened in the JAAA is unfortunate, but it is real. The previous years may have and did have conflict, however the conflict was managed and the public was not privy to some of the minor details which existed. Fast forward to 2012, there is a three pronged-bid for leadership of the most powerful sporting body in Jamaica and so far it is showing some not so pleasant sides. Tempers will flare, lies will be told, unkind things will be said and so many other issues will be brought to the fore, but at the end of the day, track and field must have the best option to lead the sport forward for a new agenda. It may be important to some stakeholders to dissect the personalities and issues at hand and at some point when the dust settles, those issues must be resolved. An election exercise is due on November 29 and a new team will be elected to lead and manage track and field at least for four years so the focus should and must change. The recommendation for a resolution should be of paramount interest at this juncture and we can think of some ideals to achieve * Fairness * Professionalism * Confidence - knowing a solution is close * Putting the sport first This issue can be best served as a teaching moment and while we acknowledge the public display of JAAA's inside activity is bad for the image of the sport. The resolution is going to be a positive end to this game. I am almost tempted to use of the analogy of 'break up to make up'. I suggested a mediator for the process and there are some neutral individuals I could recommend. Milton or Christopher Samuda - both attorneys, both have experience in mediation in sport too. The Samudas would then select the best team to carry out this process. The next few years are even more critical for track and field and the first step is to get the team on board to focus on the growth and development of track and field and create the best environment for athletes. Track and field's legacy will not be destroyed as long as the big picture remains the goal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

JAAA Presidential Candidates - Issues to debate

This is a call for the contending presidential candidates of the JAAA and their teams to put forward their plans to their delegates and the wider public. The track and field management in Jamaica must be transformed to meet the growing demands of the global society. The fact that there are three candidates suggests there is an interest in the development, but we would not want isolation of anyone. The debate is expected to highlight a few points 1. The mission and vision of the new team 2. The role track and field will continue to play in Jamaica's sport industry 3. As one of the most recognizable track and field brands in the world, how will it influence change on the global scale 4. What strategies will be employed for effective management? This is the first time I think we have three specific teams and it says something, but we should engage all. Also we should move away from isolating folks who genuinely want to help and the "slate' voting has been an issue in our politics - so I am hoping for a full engagement The quality of the folks running is of international repute and there should be a way to have them all on board regardless of who wins. The format I think should be • Presidential candidates debate • Audience be the other team members Moderators could come from independent private sector officials who can maintain as much neutral positions as possible. Additionally the new team should set up the following commissions • Medical • Press and Media • Marketing • Officials • Technical/Coaching • Finance • Legal • Records and Statistics • Overseas Liaisons - Diaspora • Education/Academic Development Whichever team wins the above-mentioned commissions should be set up for effective management.