Posted in Caribbean, Sport

UWI Sports moving in the right direction

February 7 – In September 2012 when Dalton Myers and his team launched the Road to the Premier League football campaign, there were lots of raised eyebrows around. Actually some thought it was ‘mission impossible’. Today the UWI Football team competes with the best in the league and beats them from time to time.

To quote a story from the Gleaner in January “Debutants UWI FC are holding their own in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL). They have taken 23 points from 19 games and are currently eighth in the standings with 23 point.” This was a story which also spoke about making two deals before the transfer window was closed. Now this means that “UWI Sports means business.”

While the mixed bag of achievements with regards to the football programme overhaul is noted, the team in the UWI Sports Department has been busy with their Social Media roll out as part of an overall marketing development plan.

Here is an example of what the website offers http://www.mona.uwi.edu/sports/

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But there is more, the official twitter page for the UWI Mona Pelicans looks like and with some more followers should be a force to be reckoned with in College Sport in Jamaica.

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A number of other initiatives have come on board among which is a YouTube station which highlights a lot of the sporting activities and there is a SMS Sports update too. Myers has promised that for the 2016/2017 Academic Year – following a full review of existing plans, the department will offer an official update to show the progress of those plans made just about three to four years ago.

“The dynamism of the sports business requires us to be always making adjustments day by day, but the team and I are clear on the mandate and we seek help and assistance where required,” noted Myers. “What the UWI represents with the variety of offerings, we make to make sport one of the outstanding areas of university life,’ added Myers.

Athlete achievement by its own definition can be at times subjective, because when you have someone like Olympian Hansle Parchment who took bronze in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games and silver in the 2015 World Championships in Beijing in the 110 metres hurdles; you would think you have a wonderful student-athlete, but there is a list which represents a cross-section of sport from 2012.

The list features netball with Thristina Harwood being voted MVP at the World Netball Fast5 in 2013; cricketer, Paul Palmer selected to represent Jamaica in the regional competitions; an average of eight students being selected to represent various teams in track and field; success at the Penn Relays; two national hockey players – these are just some of the many places the student-athletes from the UWI have ended up. And there is so much more. Since 2010, the scholarship programme which used to only benefit athletes in three disciplines, that number has moved to ten as of 2015.

The various sporting teams have stayed very close to the top and can be seen in a number of finals in Inter-Collegiate competitions; but it is really the national representation that seals the deal to let the UWI know “we are on the right path in sport development as an academic institution,” reiterated Myers.

The outreach and development programme is probably one of the newest initiatives and while fairly active in the August Town community; the relationships with other universities internationally is one which the Sports Team at the UWI wants to strengthen. The swimming camp (Winter Training) which was facilitated with the McMaster University in December – is an example of “how we would like to include international partnerships” and those efforts, while requiring more comprehensive plans “will help to strengthen the capacity of the UWI Sports Programme,” said Myers.

The UWI Sports team will have a number of activities for the rest of the calendar year 2016 and has its eyes sets on

  • Improved ranking in the Red Stripe Premier League
  • Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games
  • Any national/international selection for its students.

Myers was sure with additional resources to boost his existing programme “the UWI can do much more for sport in Jamaica, the Caribbean and continue to make an indelible mark on world sport.”

 

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Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Sport, Track and Field

Inter-Collegiate Sport in good hands

 

KINGSTON, January 16 – Inter-Collegiate sport in Jamaica has never quite reflected the kind of development its peers in other regions across the rest of the world. Jamaica’s sport has largely been dominated by strong performances in the high school and the elite level, but the transition over the years has been made easier by the strengthening of work in the inter-collegiate system. This has been due largely to the work of University of Technology, GC Foster College, Mico University College and the University of the West Indies.

For the last six years, there has considerable effort by the Sport Team at the UWI led by Dalton Myers and his team. Myers took the reins from Olympian, Grace Jackson and since then has helped steered the collegiate sport system along a growth path. Myers, who is considered “young” has as his counterparts, Ventley Brown at the GC Foster College, Laurence Garriques at UTECH and a more experienced Raymond Graham at the Mico College University. Together they have raised the bar with regards to a focus on developing student-athletes who have not only won World University medals, but have also won Olympic and World Championship medals. The disciplines are also diverse and while track and field dominates, netball, basketball, football and cricket are some of the other sport inter-collegiate representation has increased.

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The UWI though has made tremendous effort to build its reputation as a strong sporting institution. The combination of academic, social and performance related activities and programmes for sport has been evident and UWI continues to push to build this reputation in the national, regional and international marketplace.

In this article, I will outline just the student development area where a number of activities have been put in place.

  • The sport psychologist programme for all the teams and scholarship holders has been re-developed – this is a one-of-a-kind for any tertiary institution
  • The Sport scholarship programme has been improved with recruitment including students from the region
  • The track and field programme has been strengthened
  • A sport massage therapist has been added
  • A student development programme has also been established with up-to-date sessions on public speaking, anti-doping, dress for success and study skills, to name a few

This with the fact that there are additional courses, e.g. Sports and Cultural Studies, Sports and Anti-Doping, Sports Medicine, Physiotherapy, Economics and Sports, Sports, Politics and Society, all part and parcel of a MSc – Sports Business Management; this serves as academic support for those students who would be interested in other management roles in the sporting industry. The UWI continues to lead the way for comprehensive approach towards sport development. In the next article we will look at marketing strategies and athlete achievement.

Myers and his team have partnered with other universities in the region and overseas and has presented on panels including the Business of Sport in Jamaica. His training is complemented by his studies in International Relation and Political Science; Cultural Studies; Sports Administration and Project Management.

UWI Mona

Posted in Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport

CARICOM, Sport and Cricket

KINGSTON, November 7 – Much of what has been suggested by the CARICOM Committee on Cricket has already been put in Cricket operations and programmes by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over the years. I have seen evidence of what former President, Julian Hunte instituted in his six years as head of that unit.

In 2009, Hunte disclosed that – contrary to popular belief – the Governance Review Committee report is being utilised. The Patterson Report, for example was commissioned by the WICB in 2007 to do a top-to-bottom review of the operations of West Indies cricket. But Hunte, the WICB president at the time said that the regional governing body had been, or was taking action on 47 of the 65 recommendations contained in the report, but there was only one with which the directors had extreme difficulty. Here is a news story which spoke of the issue at the time http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/sports/08/11/%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-using-patterson-committee-report-says%E2%80%99-hunte/

The story went on to say too, that one recommendation which was not accepted in full was the proposal for the establishment for a new entity to be renamed and headed by a two-tiered body called a Cricket West Indies Council that would sit above the Cricket West Indies Board. That is still one of the main issues today, hence the call for the WICB to be dissolved.

Since then, Dave Cameron, President since 2013 has even accepted more of the recommendations from that Patterson report and has used up to 80 per cent of its recommendations but has opted not to add the additional layer as prescribed to turn the fortunes around of the WICB http://sundominica.com/articles/wicb-directors-to-discuss-governance-matters-at-an-2011/

This article clearly states the following:

  • The WICB has previously implemented over 80% of the recommendations of the Patterson Report and agreed to the majority of the Governance Committee report which was chaired by Charles Wilkin QC.
  • At a specially convened meeting of the members of the WICB in 2012, 10 of the 17 recommendations were agreed to. Specifically directors nominated by the Territorial Boards no longer represent the Territorial Boards at Annual General Meetings.
  • Further as generally recommended by the Patterson Report the WICB is about to conclude the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the six Professional Cricket League franchises. This follows the implementation of the PCL and the six franchises which are being independently and professionally administered through the Territorial Boards.

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The PCL now in its second year started on November 6 – you can catch live action here http://windiescricket.com/news/watch-live-pcl-r4day-round-1-day-2

The question is really, what has sparked this recommendation? This writer won’t make any assumptions, however, what I will point out to you are some inadequacies, inconsistencies and shoddy way in which CARICOM has treated sport in the last decade. Let me declare here too that I have been part of a team which helped to develop papers, spoken at meetings among other things on Sport and Sport Tourism and have been disappointed in the way the follow up has been handled. CARICOM no longer has a specific sport unit which is clear in my mind its lack of will to be an active participant in one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.

In 2008, CARICOM baulked on the idea of establishing a CARICOM Sports Commission, intended to outline ‘guidelines for member governments to place sport prominently in the matrix of regional development’ (Joseph, Keith. “Caricom Sports Commission an Urgent Necessity.” SVGOC. N.p., 13 Mar. 2008. Web. 2 July 2015.)  http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Sports-Commentary%3A-CARICOM-needs-renewed-attention-to-sports-26794.html

Here is another major programme on which CARICOM planned to implement and the status of that is on record as being behind its schedule 
http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community_organs/regionalsurvey_sportsprogrammes.jsp?menu=cob

A Caribbean Journal article almost five years ago asked this question – Where is the Caribbean Regional Sport Academy for Sport that CARICOM had in its plans?

http://caribjournal.com/2011/07/25/caricom-plans-regional-sports-academy/#

How can CARICOM really help?

CARICOM should start by doing the following:

  • Diversifying its institutions/associate institutions to include one which has sport at its core functions
  • Adding back the sport unit to its functions
  • Implementing the sport programmes it still has in study forms
  • Re-call the committee of Iva Gloudon, Yolande Selman, Richie Rchardson, Peter Adrien, Keith Joseph and I to update the proposal we made and add a young entrepreneur, an academic and an athlete to that team and ensure that this is done
  • Re-engage the PE teachers group to see how the teaching of Physical Education has evolved
  • Facilitate programmes to measure the success of home-grown Caribbean athletes and how they stack up to the rest of the world; while ensuring the next generation has a real chance
  • Look at the sport of choice for the ages of 12 – 19 and facilitate development

You see folks the CARICOM Report on the Cricket is not just about the cricket it really should be about the worldwide US$648 million industry and how we as a people can transform the talent which exists to create wealth, have the best facilities and have sport be a part of the Caribbean Economy as an option.

CARICOM like the UWI need to evaluate how it functions in region of such diversity but maintaining the core of what makes us as a people successful. WICB, CONCACAF, NORCECA all report to their international bodies and any indication of political interference sparks controversy.

The recommendations could help to bolster any opportunity to attract more committed talent to all our sporting disciplines including cricket. Sir Garry Sobers said it best recently when he remarked that the sport of cricket needed more committed players, now there is a great place to start. The return on investment in cricket is high as it is one of the most popular sporting disciplines in the world. It is time for CHANGE.

Team-Building

Posted in Uncategorized

Nesta’s Rock Rehearsal

Almost nine weeks before the grand opening of Nesta’s Rock in Kingston, the rehearsal sessions are going great according to Director, Danielle Stiebel. The Jamaica Musical Theatre Company and Tuff Gong International are partnering for this masterpiece due out January 9, 2015.

The performances are scheduled for the Phillip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona and will run for seven weeks. A special Broadway-type performance is due on the birthday (February 6) of the late great Robert Nesta Marley, whose life has inspired the piece.

Stiebel and her team are rehearsing up to three times a week to ensure that all acts and scenes are ready. They will move rehearsals to the venue at least two weeks before where the set, costumes and other accessories should be ready. The cast was selected from three hectic days in September this year.

The cast is 50, but the crew and management team almost doubles that number to include sound, lighting, music, wardrobe, stage, front office and chaperones are included.

Samantha Chinyee is one of the writers but doubles as a director for specific scenes. I visited the rehearsal and was delighted at the preparation 20141105_194256

The age range runs from nine to 21 and comes from a cross-section of schools in Kingston

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Nesta’s Rock is an original musical production inspired by the childhood of Robert Nesta Marley and follows a young boy, Ness, who is growing up in Kingston with many big hopes and dreams. Nesta’s big dreams are met with some ridicule from his friends and he soon after finds himself on a magical journey, transported to the whimsical farming village of Nine Mile. He is greeted by three mischievous birds, BEEBEE, MIMI and RIRI. Nesta finds himself caught in the hustle and bustle of Harvest day, concerned only about finding his way back home. Instead, he is taken to ‘Kingston Town’ by his friend Nella. Nesta discovers himself and his inner strength through music and in so doing helps an entire town (Kingston Town) of people discover their own power to overcome the difficulties they face; a true legacy of Bob Marley and his music. The production will also see the remake of popular Bob Marley tracks, such as Trench Town Rock, Redemption Song, Could You Be Loved and others.

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According to CEO of the Marley Group of Companies, Cedella Marley who has authored the children’s books ‘One Love’ and ‘Three Little Birds’, of which, the latter produced a children’s musical of the same name earlier this year, “The Group through Tuff Gong International is very happy to be associated with the upcoming production as the life of our father Bob Marley continues to inspire the young and the old as we continue to spread his positive message to the younger generation”.

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Producer at JMTC Danielle Stiebel noted that “the Jamaica Junior Theatre is indeed honored to be given such an opportunity of creating a Jamaican musical centered on thelegacy of Bob Marley. This is a great opportunity for the the Company and Musical Theatre in Jamaica to truly showcase its international appeal and reach. Very happy persons can experience another of the many facets of Brand Jamaica”

Posted in Uncategorized

UWI and UTech – no merger for me

The Gleaner’s editorial – Consider merging UTech with UWI took me by surprise on Monday, March 24. Early that morning I was watching a TV programme and based on the conversation I thought “both Universities have to find a way to co-exist.” I still mean it, by the way. However, I never once thought of a merger.

As a child, my understanding of the University of the West Indies (UWI) was the theory-based, research-oriented more traditional type of institution; while College of Arts, Science and Technology – CAST – (as it was called then) was the more practical, hands on training institution guided by the advance of technology.

Over the years those rules/guidelines changed and I have observed some overlaps and some what I would consider – running out of its lane type expansion, when UTech delved into law and even dentistry. It made too much of a blatant attempt to compete with UWI instead of moving programmes it had, which could do with broadening the scope. Its Technical Education programme for example, I thought would have been useful, as we see students these days leaning closer to more vocational types of study (global trend).

UTech made its early move when after its association with “World Class Athletes” developed its Faculty of Sport and Science. They have made some serious investment into that area and in two years would have released research information valuable to the growth and development of the sport industry.

While the UWI has essentially stayed in its lane and remained traditional, it trots on slowly on its traditional track with a few additions but has not really used the Mona School of Business in the most effective way.The equivalent of what the MSB anywhere in the world has exposed its research information on several sectors and established the trends of the new workforce. The Caribbean institution has played its own games and the overlapping within its own corridors via Cave Hill, St. Augustine, has done little for Caribbean integration by offering a few of the programmes at each location; the ones which would normally have students starting in one and finishing in the other is fading. The next generation of leaders are not getting the same opportunity to start co-existing like our current leaders (which is debatable, I know); however it is our duty to facilitate. 

Both universities are valuable to the existence of this country tertiary academic base and a merger would not broaden, but in fact narrow the vision of a country whose vision is to be world class by 2030. I would urge both leaders though to insist on the following

  •          Wider research into areas of competitive advantage and how each would enhance the courses/curricula already existing
  •          Re-engage the non-traditional society more than it has – both are in communities that need an injection of academic thrust
  •          Commit courses/training to political and other leaders – be more practical and open
  •          Find a way to academise mastery is non-traditional areas so the society is able to recognise that work that is done outside of formal settings can be considered worthwhile –  Evaluate work of those who have not had a chance to educate formally and quantify the work done in academic terms 

 By 2030, my dream is that we have an educated population, but with the tools necessary to take on the world i.e. be globally competitive. A merger will not achieve this. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Physical Education & Sport vs the rest

The fact that Physical Education and Sport are now being recognised rightfully as an academic course and business respectively – this has opened up discussions which are highlighting the lack of understanding of the subject areas.

  • I would clearly state here – There is a difference between Physical Education and Sport. Physical Education now has for the last five years, exams at the highest level from CSEC and to be offered soon at the CAPE level.
  • Sport, through its competition has been known to impact on a society – socially, economically, psychologically
  • Sport Business world wide is valued at close to a trillion dollars
  • Based on some recent outbursts, there may be suggestions that sport is being overused in high schools; is distracting the institutions from their core work; is damaging the reputation of students. I challenge the writer that the rest of the education system needs to catch so it can efficiently and effectively manage its portfolio, which includes Physical Education.

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The study of Physical Education is academic, it looks closely of the study of the relationship with mind, body and soul. What about that isn’t academic? Then Sport is the competitive, strategic and now economic viability of PE aimed at generating wealth, equality and recognition for people and country. We treat tradition as tradition and think we should not make adjustments, because that is what it is…tradition. But the non-traditional PE and Sport, having become more user-friendly has used the traditional methods to overtake its competition (pun intended). What that process is dynamic, some of us are still stuck in the normal mode and not realising the potential of equality in the education system where we all can benefit. Picture this, a school, college, university where the best of the traditional and non-traditional meets….the athletes in any of those institutions are managed by their peers in the traditional line. Where the community stadium is managed by the people there and the earnings are spent there to improve services, accessories and the lives of people. What about this don’t we get? The Business Model has been presented by The Business of Sport and I invite the doubters to engage us to catch up to speed with the information. Research has also shown that sport can be used as ‘soft power’ for a nation such as Jamaica which continues to battle with its economic activities. I could make the same justification for music and entertainment.

One of the challenges of being in a small circle, is none of us are willing to make bold decisions and move on with the programme; we have (The Business of Sport) and we urge you to join us. Education needs to be redefined in Jamaica as part of a community where Parents, Teachers, Community Leaders forge partnerships with the students to build a nation.

I challenge the Ministry of Education to create this model for growth for education. Be open to ideas that work and use people who are capable to manage.

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Get in the Game!