President of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven is hopeful that the opening of the state-of-the-art fitness and wellness centre at Sabina Park will result in an improvement of the national cricket teams.The fitness centre, which was officially opened on Thursday at Sabina Park by Minister of Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange cost an estimated US$70,000 and was co-funded by the National Health Fund (NHF).”This is an initiative that was contained in this administration’s manifesto over two years ago, and this is a realisation of that commitment,” said Heaven.”It is an achievement of the JCA, and the hope is that it will contribute to the fitness level of our players, which, at the moment, is nowhere near where it should be.”The facility, which will also be open to members of other national associations, as well as sports clubs and schools, consists of a range of equipment and exercise machines.It can hold a capacity of 20 persons at any given time.”The fact that the JCA has chosen to take the matter of health seriously is most worthy of commendation, and, indeed, adulation,” stated Grange, who cut a ribbon to signify the opening.”I must commend the NHF and the CHASE Fund for buying into the vision and providing the funding for this initiative.”Added Grange: “What pleases me most, as well, is that this vision fits into my wider vision for the support of infrastructure, which we, as a Government, must put in place to support our athletes.”ENDORSED BY MINISTRYPermanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Kevin Harvey, who spoke on behalf of Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, also hailed the venture.”The ministry has been on a drive to take health to another level, and last year, we launched our workplace policy,” Harvey outlined.This is because, he said, the ministry recognised that several Jamaicans spent a significant portion of their time at work.”We have subsequently been encouraging persons to set up at their workplace wellness centres and areas of opportunity for physical activity,” he said.Meanwhile, Everton Anderson, chief executive officer of the NHF, who presented the JCA with several pamphlets and healthy lifestyle charts for the centre, said that he welcomed the partnership.”We believe that a healthier nation leads to a more productive nation, and when Mr Heaven approached us, we were excited,” said Anderson.”I commend Mr Heaven, and on behalf of the board and management of the NHF, we really are pleased that we were able to contribute to this wellness centre US$50,000.”He added: “We really hope that it will lead to positive outcomes.”
Social Protection Minister Amna AllySeveral hinterland communities continue to suffer from the lack of safe and adequate water supply, but the Government continues to make empty promises to citizens.Residents of Region Eight have reached out to Guyana Times to vent their frustration at not accessing potable water, while claiming that the river is contaminated due to unsafe mining practices. The river, they stated, was the main source of water for persons residing there.Ricardo Phillips, who spoke to this publication, related that residents have been forced to cease using the river water, since it is heavily contaminated and poses a danger to lives.He explained that, just recently, a relative of his had to seek medical attention because he had fallen ill after using the said river water.“We had to stop using the river after my cousin got sick. His entire body broke out with rash, and he started to vomit. The water full of mercury from all the mining that going on here. It’s unsafe mining, and everything ending up back right in the river, which we, the residents of this area, have to use. We depend on the rain for water. If rain don’t fall, we have no water,” he said.Sandra La Cruz believes that clean and healthy water is a basic necessity, and should be easily accessible to all citizens. “Water should not be a luxury. We all need to be able to access water easily for consumption. It’s a basic need, man; and we are tired of being promised and fooled. We see the Government visiting all regions promising this and promising that, and nothing is actually being delivered. They need to do better,” she stated.Similar issues were recently raised by residents of Region One (Barima- Waini) after the Guyana Water Inc had prohibited the use of the river there because it was heavily contaminated. A temporary water supply was provided, but this was not nearly adequate to supply residents of those villages, as the water supply was at a centralised point and residents from far-flung areas were forced to foot several miles for access.As Government took its outreach to Region Two (Pomeroon–Supenaam) on Wednesday, Social Protection Minister Amna Ally yet made promises to residents there that their water supply would be “vastly improved.” She spoke to residents of Lima Sands in response to concerns raised for the need for improved water supply in the region. Minister Ally assured the residents that their concerns have been noted, and she committed to having them addressed by the relevant agencies.“This is not a community we have forgotten; it is a community where we have done work, including (constructing) a new bridge and a multi-purpose building, which was done through the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme under my ministry. In this region, there has been improved drainage, much needed upgrade was done on the road to Red Luck, Anna Regina road and Sparta, among others. These developments will definitely continue and advance, once this Government remains in office,” Minister Ally explained.