The Jamaica International Invitational (JII) meet this past weekend churned out some mind boggling results. This being the year of the Rio Olympics, greater significance is inevitably placed on what athletes bring to the table in early outings. Foster’s Fairplay was stunned by the 100m mark of 10.71 rolled out by MVP girl Elaine Thompson. It was aided by a +2.4 metre per second (mps) wind, marginally over the legally accepted limit of 2.0. However, although it will not have record keepers reaching for their books, it cannot be underestimated as another milestone in the rise to world prominence of this pint-sized gift to the sport from the district of Banana Ground in hilly Manchester. As former Olympic and World Champion, Linford Christie, once told this columnist, “wind or no wind, it proves the time is in your legs”. Another JII event that attracted the attention of this columnist in a poignant way was the women’s 100m hurdles. Reigning world champion, Danielle Williams, took that title at a time when the high-riding Americans had faltered, suffering mishaps at one stage or another. There was a claim that the 2015 Sportswoman of the Year runner-up’s performance was diluted because of the missteps by the USA girls. They included defending champion Jasmine Stowers, who pulled out of Saturday night’s proceedings at the last minute, 2015 USA champion Brianna Rollins, Sharika Nelvis and Queen Harrison, all Beijing World Championship finalists and the cream of the USA’s crop. What Danielle showed on the night in a close, wind assisted race, is interesting. None of those named, including the always effervescent Jamaican miss, had competed in more than two finals this year. They were all in the infant stages of the 2016 season, but the revelation was clear. They can dance together at the same party. Also worthy of mention – in the context of exciting prospects for this summer’s action – is Kemar Bailey-Cole’s 10.01 clocking to win the men’s 100m. The 2014 Commonwealth Games champion left Beijing injured last year. His only appearance since was a 200m on local soil in April. With this 2016 best, he has factored in himself to make that sprint trio for Rio. Over in Doha, Qatar, the previous day (Friday), there was another eye-catching run by sprint hurdler out of the prestigious University of Arkansas program, Omar “Mr. Silk” McLeod. He sounded the trumpet of his presence, also in Beijing last year. Slamming hurdles repeatedly, he muscled into the final, where in the same rhythm-challenging style he placed a more than creditable sixth. Now a professional athlete under the guidance of IAAF athletes representative, the very selective and overall quality-conscious, Claude Bryan, he created what the organising team called the ‘Performance of the Meet’. It was a world leading 13.05 seconds, legally crafted and throwing down the gauntlet to the most lettered of his rivals. Several of them trailed him in Doha, notably countryman Hansle Parchment (Beijing silver medallist) and the USA’s power men – Aries Merritt (world record holder) and David Oliver (2013 World champion). Foster’s Fairplay, with all these top end performances in mind, calls on the experience and lessons learnt covering this sport. Medals are won on the day. Even before that, there is a hurdle to be tackled called Trials, where no quarter is given. The stern test of strength, endurance and character is almost seven weeks away. The order of the four-day championships is one-two-three for selection in individual events and top six in relays. There are no wild cards to allow any athlete, unfettered passage to the most appropriately named ‘Greatest Show on Earth’. The Diamond League has seen only one event on its four-month long calendar. The action, yet unfolded, will produce a plethora of oooohs and aaahs, spills and thrills, as is the tradition. Apart from those who competed on the Indoor circuit, other countries’ elite are not yet in full fitness or shape. It is a logistical impossibility for them all to make it. For those who do, Foster’s Fairplay wishes for them all the very best as they huddle under the black, gold and green. Until then, there is every confidence that the city of the samba will have a lot of time for the beat of Reggae. Onward Jamaica, the spirits of your athletic ancestors are watching. For feedback: E-Mail email@example.com
…rejects Govt attempts to tarnish, discredit reputation of JudiciaryThe Supreme Court of Judicature, through its Protocol and Communications Unit, has issued a stinging rebuke to the coalition Government for using the photographs of two judges in a political campaign aimed at attracting youths.The two judges in question are Puisne Judges Justices Gino Persaud and Simone Morris-Ramlall. Their pictures were incorporated on a poster of 20 “young” public officials put together by A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) under the headline “Confidence in Youth Leadership” as part of their political campaign.Acting Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court Roxanne GeorgeHours after the advertisement was shared on social media, the Court in a statement said that it “firmly condemns the use of photographs of two puisne judges that have been published in a social media post captioned “Confidence in Youth Leadership—Promise Delivered”.The ad bearing the two judges’ images was published despite the fact that the Judiciary is autonomous in principle and keeps far away from politics to ensure judgements, when handed down, can be accepted as free from bias. The Supreme Court reminded the Government of this fact.“The Supreme Court of Judicature is calling on members of the public to refrain from associating Judges and Judicial Officers with any political party or activity. The Judiciary reaffirms its independence and integrity and rejects any attempt to tarnish and discredit its reputation,” the statement added.The advertisement featuring the Judges, who are highlighted by black inkThe Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled on June 18 that the Government was defeated by a No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018, which means that early elections must be called.Political parties have, for the most part, started their political campaigns. But the Government has faced persistent criticisms over the years about its ‘geriatric’ Cabinet of Ministers mostly over the age of 60. This criticism has extended to its Members of Parliament, which is dominated by middle aged to elderly parliamentarians, with the exception of a few token youths.In addition, the appointment of many elderly, and in some cases, known associates of the party, to head agencies that should in fact be led by persons trained and experienced in the agencies work, has also been criticized. It is therefore felt by observers that the ad campaign was aimed at hitting back at the criticisms.Justice Persaud, who has practiced before the bar in Guyana since 2001, was sworn in before President David Granger as a Puisne Judge in July of 2017, alongside Justice Morris-Ramlall. Persaud, who was 38 at the time, was said to have been one of youngest ever appointed Judges.Article 122 of the Constitution of Guyana states that “All Courts and all persons presiding over the Courts shall exercise their function independently of the control and direction of any other person or authority; and shall be free and independent from political, executive and any other form of direction and control.”Efforts to contact Justice Persaud were futile.