Jamaica’s top-rated female martial artist, Subrina Richards, who notched a triple-double of international gold medals last season, has been pointed at four major world championships this season by her handlers, setting an unbelievably high bar for 2017. The lanky 20-year-old will start her international season by defending double gold medals, starting with June’s International Sport Kickboxing Association (ISKA) Amateur Member Association World Championships in Greece. In July, she takes her show to the International Sport Karate Association’s United States Open in Orlando, Florida, again defending continuous and points sparring gold medals won last year. It gets tougher in October when Richards travels to Ireland for the International Taekwondo Federation World Cup and even more so a month later when she debuts at the World Association of Kickboxing Organisation’s (WAKO) World Championships in Mexico. Despite facing a gruelling campaign, Richards said that she wants to set the bar so high that “whoever is behind will have a far way to top that”. “I want to raise the bar, do something nobody has ever done. I won four international world titles last year – the double at WAKO Pan Am Champs, ISKA World Champs in Germany, and US Open in Orlando,” she pointed out. Richards’ coach, Jason McKay, described her 2016 run as perfect, pointing out that it was the first time any Jamaican fighter, of any gender, had won six gold medals in three major tournaments in one year. “She has been on a run of four straight double gold, 2015-16. She had also won two gold medals at the 2015 US Open. This year will be tougher. Let’s see what she’s made of,” he said. GRUELLING CAMPAIGN
…PPP outlines in manifestoAs the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) rolls out aspects of its manifesto for the upcoming elections, Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali continues to highlight specific sectors – this time drawing focus on the education sector.PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan AliHe pointed out that the policies in the education sector under the PPP Administration would be geared towards improved access, quality, affordability and preparing Guyanese students at the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Tertiary levels so as to ensure that they secure better-paying jobs in line with the requirement of the economy.“Consistent with these stated objectives, we would pursue several initiatives,” Ali asserted.Prominent among these, he added, would be the delivery of free education at the University of Guyana (UG) and enhanced access through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).Previously, it was explained that fee university education would not be available from day one of a PPP Government but within two or three years as they work out the details of this policy initiative. The party had also announced plans to give out 20,000 online scholarships, which will help with private education, especially in courses that are not offered by UG.Adding to this, Ali outlined that a PPP Government will also peruse plans to have all outstanding loans written off. He noted that the party’s manifesto will detail policies to support these initiatives.“In addition, we recognise the role of the Private Sector in education, as such, we will be announcing measures that will see generous tax concessions given to private providers from nursery to tertiary levels including technical vocation,” he stated.The PPP Presidential Candidate went on to say that in order to address issues of affordability, quality and access, the party’s manifesto will detail a number of measures in this regard.These include the restoration of the “Because We Care Grant”; attention to nutrition through various initiatives such as hot meal programmes; providing required textbooks to school children; ensuring all school children have access to school uniforms, and improving educational facilities.Moreover, the PPP Administration will also establish special incentives for teachers and enhanced training and skill development opportunities; expand the use of ICT in education and thus ensure all Guyanese children and teachers have access to the infrastructure that will enable the use of ICT; enhance the focus on technical education and establish an online University.Additionally, Ali said they will also be reforming and strengthening the monitoring systems for school management at public and private levels.“These among other measures would ensure the delivery of quality education to our nation,” the Presidential Candidate stated.Ali has already started talking about policies his party will undertake in major sectors such as economic development, security, mining and forestry among others.Last month, PPP’s General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed that the party’s elections manifesto is being rolled out in three phases.The first version of the manifesto will be in the form of posters circulating, containing some of the policies the party plans to institute immediately upon taking office. The second phase will be a more popular version of the manifesto, while the final version will be a detailed technical document.The manifesto, Jagdeo had said, will be launched closer to elections and will give people more insight into the party’s vision and policies for the future of the country and its people.Already, the PPP has published on its social media accounts several of these posters, outlining the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on key areas such as electricity, water and healthcare, as well as the reversal and/or reduction of taxes among other things.