Laurie Foster: Supporting Cameron Blazers

first_imgCourtesy of track and field athlete mentor and considerably more, Hugh Scott, Foster’s Fairplay was invited to support a fund-raising. The idea was to stir the pot on assistance for the Cameron Blazers Track Club. Those associated with the sport will recognise Scott, a Calabar Old Boy, as someone who works behind the scenes to give nurture and sustenance to a project in which he believes. Without his permission, this journalist will say no more. Suffice to add that, from personal experience, his passion and commitment have mushroomed to give recognition and reward, which have proven to be of inestimable value to young athletes. Cameron Blazers, the relatively new track and field learning institution, is founded and administered by 1983 Helsinki 400m World champion, Bertland Cameron. It was the inaugural staging of the prestigious event. Of those privileged to be listening to the BBC commentary, who can forget mention of “the boy from Spanish Town”, so described one is sure with no intention or desire to demean or disrespect. It was a moment of pride for Jamaica in an era where the ground work was just being laid for the multiple medal scenario that popped out at us, come Beijing 2008 and the (Usain) Bolt and Shelly (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce) factor. The following year came the Los Angeles Olympics. Expectations ran high. Cameron was at the top of the world in the 400m. In the semi-finals, he stormed out to settle a verbal and mental battle with the United States’ number two man, Antonio McKay, who was talking up a storm about his pending encounter with our boy Bert. Popular feeling is that the focus on the blabbermouth, McKay, led to that extra effort on the backstretch, result a pulled hamstring mid race and what should have been an end to his Olympics. Vividly recalled, is the shout coming from a friend and freight forwarder, Delroy, at whose home in Florida the race was being watched: “He is coming back for them!” Bert was fourth and qualified injury and all for the final two days later. The pain and disappointment of not being able to take his lane and repeat the previous year’s gold medal performance still lingers for some. They form the basis of the wish for him to put his imprint on an event where the world has witnessed and welcomed his immense talent as a performer. With all that history and the potent support in his corner, the former national record holder (44.50 at the 1988 Seoul Olympics) will have his challenges. He has had his comeuppance with detractors, which has been part of the politics of the sport. He is blessed to have in his camp a number of athletes who have already signalled their one-lap value on the global scene. TO THE NEXT LEVEL Coming to mind are Jermaine Gonzales, (national record holder from 2010 with 44.40); Javere Bell, national champion in 2013, 45.00); Jaheel Hyde, still a junior with a 400m hurdles personal best of 49.01 and reigning champion at that event and 110m hurdles at the World Junior Championships and Youth Olympics, respectively. There is also Rosemarie Whyte-Robinson, the 2008 national champion with a then career best of 50.05. Osaka World Championship 200m finalist, Marvin Anderson, now turned coach and administrator, will adapt to the crucial role as manager of the club’s talent. After a stint with the Racers Track Club, Bert is now steering his own ship. This must be the engine he needs to drive his own coaching future. Even with the tools he has already assembled, a lot more is required. There is a template of the ultimate in success established by his former employers, led by the inimitable Glen Mills and their counterparts down the road, in Stephen Francis’ MVP. They did not attain their current lofty perch without strong financial backing. Foster’s Fairplay reaches out to Corporate Jamaica and Cameron’s St Jago High School family, especially the super-active overseas-based chapters, to afford the platform that the Blazers need to move their effort to the next level. Jamaica has blazed the trail in this event, starting with the Helsinki Olympics quartet of Arthur Wint, Les Laing, Herb McKenley and George Rhoden in 1952. If anyone is capable of bringing the country back to that level, Bert Cameron surely can. – For Feedback: E-mail lauriefoster2012@gmail.comlast_img read more

Guatemala fights to retain favored trade status with Europe

first_imgGUATEMALA CITY – There’s not a cocktail bar in Central London that doesn’t stock Guatemala’s famous Ron Zacapa, an English Starbucks that hasn’t launched a “Guatemala Cappuccino,” or a high-end British supermarket that doesn’t sell petit pois straight from the country’s highlands, according to Guatemalan Embassy staff in London.Outside the United States, Guatemala’s biggest export market is Europe, and within that: Great Britain. Trade between the two countries has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and with the recently introduced free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Central America, commerce from Guatemala to the U.K, and vice versa, is set to grow even further.Acisclo Valladares has been the Guatemalan ambassador to the U.K. for three years.“In 2010 we didn’t have any economic investment sections,” says Valladares, who ran for president twice before taking up his current position in London.Valladares and his team recently chaperoned a group of British businessmen to Guatemala, as part of Explore Guatemala, and helped give them an insight into the commercial opportunities that exist in the country. Investment missions like these led the health insurance giant BUPA to begin operating in Guatemala and Pollo Campero to set up shop in southern England.After more than a year in planning, the EU free trade agreement with Central America entered into full effect earlier this month, giving the region access to a market of more than 500 million Europeans.The benefits of the agreement include the elimination of the majority of import tariffs, an improvement in international relations between the two areas and more easily accessible investment markets. However, it’s not just about trade clauses. Central American countries must also abide by development policies such as introducing programs to fund the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which include universal elementary education and the eradication of poverty, among others, and complying with international conventions relating to human and labor rights.The Guatemalan government was recently warned by an international delegation of labor activists that if conditions in the country for trade unionists failed to improve, it could face losing its favored trade status with the EU.Guatemalan Labor Minister Carlos Contreras Solórzano says the possibility of Europe closing its borders to Guatemala is a concern for the government.“Of course it worries us that if the European Union, or whatever other business partner of ours, limits our exportations it will affect our workers because it will be the workers who will be left without jobs. We need jobs and we need to participate in the global market. We’ve made efforts to demonstrate that we want to comply with international labor rules and have a place in the global market,” he says.The Guatemalan government is currently working with the International Labor Organization to improve working conditions in the country for workers and trade unionists in an effort to remain part of the free trade agreement between the EU and Central America. Facebook Comments Related posts:Guatemala’s Pacaya Volcano spits ash, gases A landmark genocide case comes to unexpected and dramatic end As trade unionist attacks continue, Guatemala faces tough decisions Business helps empower Guatemalan women and preserve an ancient tradelast_img read more