Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls were in a militant mood yesterday, as they rebounded from the disappointment of their Pool B defeat to England in the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia to dispatch Scotland 71-24 in a one-sided affair. The result meant Jamaica (four points) finished second behind England (six points) in Pool B. The two nations advanced to the second round (Pool E), where Jamaica played against New Zealand earlier this morning, and are to face Uganda and Malawi, with the top two moving on to the semi-finals. Australia, South Africa, Wales and England will contest Pool F, which will decide the other two semi-finalists. Sunshine Girls head coach, Minneth Reynolds, told The Gleaner in a telephone interview that although the team was disappointed after their loss to England, the Girls remain resolute and are even more determined and focused on their goal. “The focus has remained the same although they lost to England. We were a bit disappointed at first, but they (Sunshine Girls) are still on a mission, so we bounced back against the Scottish,” she said. “They probably put more into the Scotland game because they wanted to prove to themselves that they are worthy contenders and that we can compete at our best at anytime,” she continued. A win over New Zealand this morning would put the Jamaicans in pole position to win their qualification group and set a likely semi-final date with England. That is if things go according to plan and Australia win Pool F. Prior to the match, Reynolds said they intended to win against New Zealand and top the group. “We are looking forward to New Zealand; we know it’s going to be a very tough game, but we are sticking to the task. Our attack will have to be penetrative, and we cannot stop at anything, we just have to be strong. “We want to win this game and all the games in the group. It’s important to win all your games, as winning your games only strengthens your confidence of getting to the final. So the objective is to win, and that is what is expected, and the Girls are looking forward to go out there, compete and win,” she continued. “The belief is still alive, the determination and the confidence is still there, and we are definitely going for gold, so we are going out to play our best, and we will be going very hard,” added Reynolds. In other matches yesterday, Wales beat Uganda 49-47, Fiji beat Zambia 59-51, South Africa beat Sri Lanka 89-17.
…though PwC valuation report still to be made publicThough a report on the valuation of the assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has not yet been released, Government is optimistic that the divestment process can begin in a matter of months.In a sit down with the media after signing a loan agreement on Friday, Finance Minister Winston Jordan was asked for an update on the divestment process. In his response, he noted that Government is optimistic of starting in the first half of 2019, a fact expressed by President David Granger.“We expect by the first half of next year to divest some of the estates,” Jordan said, adding “I will speak with (Special Purpose Unit head Colvin Heath-London) to see if we have any further updates. Otherwise, the next update perhaps will be in the budget speech, in terms of where we are and what we expect.”The parliamentary Opposition has been calling on the Government to publicise the PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) valuation report into GuySuCo’s assets. The valuation was supposed to have preceded the sale of the various estates and accompanying assets.That process has already started; however, neither the Government nor the accounting firm has released the document. At a recent press conference, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo zeroed in on this state of affairs.“We were told that before any decision was made, that PriceWaterhouse Coopers will do a valuation of assets. Where is the valuation of the assets and why don’t they release it to the Guyanese public, so we will see what they have valued the assets of GuySuCo at and whether we come close to realising that value,” Jagdeo had said.“Or if they have undervalued the assets of GuySuCo and then would claim that they got more than the valuation. We’d like to see a copy of the report. But it seems as though its done secretly and we don’t know what assurances are given by PwC and SPU, whether those are assurances Cabinet has agreed to,” the Opposition Leader added.SeveranceJordan was also asked about the payment of severances. He noted that the supplementary paper must be approved for the severance to be paid. He also noted that when Government paid its first tranche, many workers received their full severance.“We said once the Parliament passes the supplementary and the President signs the supplementary appropriations Act, they will be paid. We will transfer the money. My understanding is that they already have the sheets ready.”“In January, we had said we were going to make the payments in two parts, because we didn’t have the monies to make severance. We said at the time that those owed $500,000 or less, we would pay fully. So nobody got less than $500,000, if you were at $500,000 or above. So a significant number of sugar workers were paid their full severance.”Jordan reminded that Government had promised to make the remainder of the severance available by the second half of 2018. He noted that the year is not finished, but assured that Government would remain on this timeline.Earlier this month, Government tabled a financial paper seeking parliamentary approval for $2.4 billion to pay-off hundreds of sugar workers. This was even as several sugar workers protested in front of Parliament. Of the $7.5 billion financial paper totalled, $2.4 billion was set aside for severance pay.In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.In November of that year, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2500 workers by the end of that year. That number increased substantially and ended up being over 7000.