History was created when three female apprentice jockeys graduated from a batch of 17 at the passing-out ceremony for the new Jockeys’ Schools trainees on the lawns of the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC), Hagley Park Road, last Thursday.The young ladies are 21-year-old Mellisa Ward, a past student of Camperdown High; 22-year-old Natalie Berger, a graduate of Gaynstead High; and 24-year-old Andree Powell, a past student of Clarendon College.Prior to this batch, only two women had graduated from the Jockeys’ Training School since its inception in 1980 – Azel Cowie in 1992 and Georgina Sergeon in 2009.The other graduates who completed the 24-week training course from February to July were Oneil Beckford, Dane Dawkins, Odean Edwards, Amoy Gray, Bebeto Harvey, Jerome Innis, Roshane Johnson, Kemoy Parchment, Javaniel Patterson, Hakeem Pottinger, AndrÈ Powell, Oneil Scott, Linton Steadman, and Anthony Thomas. They are scheduled to ride against senior jockeys at Caymanas Park on Saturday, September 26.JRC operations steward Haldene Johansen, who gave the course overview, disclosed that there were “significant changes to the programme this time around as the JRC listened to the stakeholders.””We placed greater emphasis on the core elements of the programme in order to produce well-rounded horsemen,” he said.Emphasis was placed on horsemanship, which was taught by well-known equestrian Susan Wates, race-riding techniques by retired Hall of Fame jockey Charles Hussey (now a steward), personal development, the rules of racing and an expanded nutritional programme to help new riders cope with weight problems.be the bestGuest speaker was former JRC chairman Dennis Lalor, who challenged the class of 2015 to be the best they can be, as they enjoy the opportunity their predecessors of a bygone era never had.Lalor, who as chairman of the JRC in 1980 spearheaded the formation of the Jockeys’ School, recalled that under the old system, the apprentices “were not required to be literate or numerate like the ones coming through the school today, hence the dropout rate was 35 per cent. I vowed to break that cycle … .”You are now the glamour boys and girls of racing. Being educated, this is your opportunity to take advantage of a noble sport, to ensure that corruption is avoided. Please be careful of the company you seek … . God be with all of you, and may your careers be the best,” said Lalor.Also speaking were Jeffrey Mordecai of the JRC sub-committee; Richard Longmore of the JRC; Owners Association president Dr Graham Brown; the respective presidents of the trainers’ associations, Vin Edwards and Dale Murphy; Jockeys’ Guild President AndrÈ Martin; Cedric Stewart, CEO of Caymanas Track Limited; and Ina Lawrence, principal of the Jockeys’ School.
As the Ebola virus disease overwhelms Liberian health workers and global support partners nationwide, stink dirt and perennial flood water continue to swallow most of Monrovia’s major streets.Some of the nation’s ill-equipped health facilities and the vulnerable health workers have now become and continue to be helpless victims of the deadly Ebola virus in many parts of Liberia.Professional health commentators have revealed that after the Ebola virus is contained and controlled in the coming months in Liberia, it won’t be surprised that there will be a new brain drain in the nation’s health sector.The health commentators also expressed the hope that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) and global partners are making short and long term plans to train and equip health workers and strengthen institutions in Liberia.As a result of the embarrassing situation, commuters, businesspeople and ordinary Liberians continue to perpetually encounter difficulties in terms of movement and conveyance of goods and services in several parts of Monrovia.Sadly, each time there is a heavy pour of rains, most of Monrovia’s strategic streets are engulfed with dirty flood water from the clogged drainages.For the past several years, residents, businesspeople and other Liberians have complained endlessly with no genuine remedy from the relevant agencies of the Liberian Government.As the final phase of the Rainy Season draws to an end, some preparations should be made to reconstruct and rehabilitate all of Monrovia’s major streets in order to ensure the free flow of goods, people and services.Correspondingly, flood water continuously coming out of the clogged drainages contain dangerous air and water borne diseases that are potential threats to human beings, especially the urban dwellers of Monrovia and its environs.As for the offensive dirt, it always plays sanctuary to deadly insects, wild spiders, scorpions and harmful snakes that are some of the biggest enemies to children and women who throw dirt at the various dumpsites in Monrovia.Besides, the various dumpsites are also perpetual sanctuaries for mosquito breeding that are also threats to hundreds of homes in densely populated communities in Monrovia and its environs.Notably, according to health practitioners such areas in Monrovia are where many Liberians and foreign residents suffer from diseases such as malaria, typhoid and other contagious diseases.Shedding light on the perennial sanitation crisis of Monrovia, health worker Beatrice Sharon Harmon is convinced that diseases, including the deadly Ebola virus, will continue to spread until the Municipal Governments of Monrovia and Paynesville, the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) design realistic strategies to remedy the situation.When contacted, low ranking Public Works officials told the Daily Observer that, sanitation and drainage problems must be tackled by the relevant stakeholders on sustained basis in Monrovia.Officials of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation told the Daily Observer that the sanitation challenges of Monrovia must be handled with some radical approaches such as breaking down structures over the drainages.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)