Calabar High school’s dominance in the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships was given a big boost with the opening and dedication of the first all-weather synthetic track for a secondary institution in the Caribbean.At the ceremony held at the Red Hills Road-based school yesterday, Vincent Lawrence, chairman of the Complex Implementation team announced that a total of $55 million was spent to make the dream a reality.”We are gathered here today (yesterday) to mark this special event where Arthur Wint, Dennis Johnson, Herbert McKenley and others were nurtured (and this) is a dream come true,” Lawrence, who is also a Calabar old boy said.”The dream started in the 1990s and now it is a reality. In 2013 after talks, the old boys had the ground surveyed. The government through the Sports Development Foundation had granted $10 million for several schools towards a sports project,” he shared.”The minister of sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, indicated that the funding from the government would not be enough and the school through its old boys and management team came up with majority of the funds,” he also added.WILL DOMINATE CHAMPSThe project was done by BSW based in Germany with local firm Pavecon Limited as the contractor for the six-lane track.Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson said that his alma mater will continue to dominate Champs with this historic track.”The track is very welcome and will push our boys more. I hope other schools will follow in order for Jamaica to benefit,” Patterson said.”When you have a facility like this it has to be maintained properly. We are good at building things and not at maintaining,” he added.Patterson also disclosed that GraceKennedy made a contribution of $5 million towards a spectator stand in memory of former athletic administrator Adrian Wallace.The complex will be named after outstanding Jamaican Olympians Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint, who both attended the institution.Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller offered her blessing in officially opening the complex.The inaugural McKenley/Wint track meet will get underway at the facility today, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Dear Editor,Has the Guyana Prize helped emerging writers living and writing here in Guyana? Rev. Cecil says, “No”. He argues that local residents do not win because there is no publishing house in Guyana; overseas writers always have an advantage over the locals because they have opportunities for good editing, publishing, and other facilities.We have, during the past week, heard two overseas writers declare that that is a myth.The lack of local publishing houses is indeed a problem, but that has not condemned all local writers to oblivion. Harold Bascom, while living in Guyana, had his first novel, “Apata”, published by Heinemann. Rooplall Monar, from his home in Annandale, had “Backdam People” published in England. Ryhaan Shah published her novels overseas without leaving home; as did a few others, including Moses Nagamootoo (Hendree’s Cure) and Deryck Bernard (Going Home and Other Stories).But what has the Guyana Prize done to assist writers living here?1. The Prize was established for the best of Guyanese writing at home and abroad, and it was for published books only. The Committee listened to comments from the local writing community and decided to assist locally resident writers by allowing them to submit unpublished manuscripts. Self-published works were also admitted.2. This gave them a chance to be in the competition. It motivated several writers to produce, to compete, and to grow as writers.3. It opened the gate for several of them to be shortlisted, and to win the Prize.4. Several local residents won, both with manuscripts and with published books.5. Several workshops were held, conducted by locally resident and visiting writers.6. These workshops were not sufficient, so something more thorough, regular and lasting was needed. This resulted in collaboration with the Department of Culture. Courses in Creative Writing were created and run at the National School of Theatre Arts and Drama. Any of these courses in Fiction, Poetry or Playwriting can be taken free of cost by any emerging or developing writer. Substantial training was thus made available.7. Five student writers were awarded Diplomas in Creative Writing from that programme in 2017. There was a public reading of selected work.8. In collaboration with the Drama School, A National Creative Writing Competition in Poetry, Short Story and One-Act Plays was held for local emerging writers, and nine prizes were awarded in honour of the 50th Independence Anniversary.9. An Annual National Poetry Slam was created for writers and performers of spoken word, performance poetry and hip-hop, in cooperation with the Drama School. Writers were challenged to create compositions on social issues, and patriotic pieces to generate a volume of meaningful compositions in a very popular art form.10. Writers were invited to read their works publicly.11. The Caribbean Press was established, and one of its mandates was to fill the gap and have a good local publishing house available. This press published several local writers, and had started to pay attention to Guyana Prize winners.Here is a Prize established for the highest quality of Guyanese writing that took on things not normally managed by literary prizes. The Guyana Prize, however, took them on, because it saw the need for developmental programmes to help writers living in Guyana to develop to create the excellence in literature demanded by the Prize.Yours faithfully,Al Creighton.