Under a new proposal adopted by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) at its General Assembly here yesterday, host cities must in future include 16 core sports as part of the programme and then can choose as many as they want from a list of optional sports and disciplines as long as it does not exceed a further 500 athletes.Rowing had been on the previous list of optional sports but has now been dropped, leading to Annamarie Phelps, the chairman of British Rowing, to launch a campaign to save it.”FISA, our International Federation, has been working closely for some years with the Commonwealth Games Sports Committee, and a number of large rowing Federations, to try and get rowing re-instated as a Commonwealth sport at the Games,” she said. “Rowing has met all the criteria set by the CGF Sport Committee for inclusion.”The Commonwealth Games is an excellent place for smaller nations to have the opportunity to shine, particularly those new to our sport such as the islands in the Caribbean and smaller nations like Scotland and Wales.”The growth and development of rowing in other parts of the world such as Africa and Asia has been and could be further enhanced by the opportunity to compete at a Commonwealth event too.”I am hugely dismayed and disappointed by the news of this proposal which is contrary to all that FISA and the NFs (National Federations) have been led to believe by the CGF over the last seven plus years.”Retaining rowing as an optional sport would cost nothing but help us grow into a stronger sport that could realistically be included.”David Grevemberg, chief executive of the CGF, has now promised they will review the situation.”We want to develop the formation for promotion and demotion of sports,” he told insidethegames.”We need to establish a pathway for sports.”It is quite possible for rowing to move back up.”Rowing appeared in the very first Commonwealth Games at Hamilton in 1930.It then appeared at four consecutive Games between 1950 and 1962 but has not been on the programme since Edinburgh 1986 when Sir Steve Redgrave won three gold medals.
As many of the challenges in the rice sector continue, a set of rice farmers in the Essequibo district on Wednesday met with Anna Regina Deputy Mayor, Darshan Persaud where they accused the coalition Government of “turning a blind eye”Anna Regina Deputy Mayor Darshan Persaudto the industry. They premised this belief on claims that the current Administration is not doing enough for rice, saying this would have a great impact on one of the main sources of food and foreign currency earner to the country.The Deputy Mayor who is a member of the Opposition-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Town Council said the sector was given “a tremendous boost” when his party was in power. Persaud expressed that the present Government is “playing politics” by neglecting the sugar and rice industries in this country, causing thousands of Guyanese to suffer financial loss. He said too that many of the senior members of the farmers’ groups which advocated greatly for cause of colleagues were allegedly given key positions in the present Government.The complaints the farmers made extended to accusations that millers are taking out 24 per cent of the earnings as dockage fees which translates to about $1200 per bag of paddy. When looking at the expenses for cultivation, many farmers say they are not in a financial position to plant the next crop.Farmers said also that even though Regional Executive Officer Rupert Hopkinson was seen “boasting on Facebook about developments of parks and recreational facilities in the region”, there is much need for the servicing and maintenance of the regional machinery. They explained that this is vital in the maintenance of farm to market roads, trenches, dams and other key areas in the agricultural sector.Guyana Times has been steadily reporting on the plight of rice farmers, with challenges including fluctuating paddy prices, crop infestation, flooded rice fields, poor infrastructure to cultivate and access their fields.Region Two Vice Chairperson Nandranie Coonjah had explained earlier this year that the farmers have been complaining about the lack of maintenance of the roads leading into their farms. They observed then that little was being done to assist them at the national level.Coonjah told Guyana Times in January that the 35,000 acres of rice which were under cultivation in the region, had represented a decline of over 1000 acres. She had pointed out that “bad lands” spilled off which led to an intrusion of salt water from the previous crop.Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt had noted that more than 80 per cent of the region’s 50,000 plus residents are directly or indirectly connected to the rice industry.Finance Minister Winston Jordan in his 2018 Budget presentation noted that the rice industry was expected to record an output of 602,087 tonnes for 2017, an increase of 12.7 per cent over 2016. He credited the increase mainly to an additional 14,000 hectares planted for the 2017 spring crop and a further 74,481 hectares planted in the autumn crop.