The ‘Diamond Mile’, the richest race in the history of horseracing in the English-speaking Caribbean, was completed at Caymanas Park last Saturday. The day saw 14 races being completed with record attendance, a record handle (money bet on the races), great dividends, and exciting finishes. Sponsors were there in their numbers; no money was spared in the preparation of the in-field for special guests; and a good time should have been had by all. Wrong. Whereas all the above is in fact true, the regulators had to have their now mandatory stab at “spoiling the party”. In the 10th race of the day, the betting favourite was horse number two, Silver Cloud. After being loaded into the starting gate, the horse squatted/fell in the gate, throwing the jockey head over heels (a poop-a-lick) backwards on to the surface. Luckily, the jockey was not hurt and quickly picked himself up and did some checks to make sure that he was all right. absolute shock To the absolute shock of racing fans, the horse was not removed from the gate for inspection by the veterinarian on duty at the gate. Our shock turned into dismay as the horse staggered out of the gate and trailed the field home, obviously feeling some effect of the fall. In every other racing jurisdiction where the safety of the participants (horse and rider) is the priority of paid individuals, that horse would have been examined out of the starting gate BEFORE the horse was allowed to start! But this is racing in Jamaica. who cares? If the horse is seriously injured and falls during the race, injuring the rider and possibly any of the other participants, oops, who won? Can this sport be allowed to continue like this? Apparently, YES. No one cares. No one is accountable. The day was an economic and sponsors success. So what? Divestment IS the only answer. However, with a somnolent Divestment Committee “waiting on Godot”, nothing even close to an announcement will come until a few days before the election, which has now been pushed back to “one day soon”. HELP! privileged positions The much-anticipated and longed-for meeting of the West Indies Cricket Board and the CARICOM subcommittee on cricket was held last Friday. After a three-hour meeting, the recommended dissolution of the board was not discussed as the reports out of the meeting suggest that the board has no intention of giving up its privileged positions. They have agreed to meet again on December 13, and, hopefully, the anxious West Indian fans will hear something from Mr Pybus and ‘President Dave’ about the recent revelation from reinstated coach Phil Simmons. Simmons had mentioned, before a failed attempt to silence him, that there was outside interference in the selection of the West Indies team. Fans of West Indies cricket (the “few” of us left) know that the only hope for the resurrection of cricket in the region rests solely on the removal of a group of men described by one of their own (Baldath Mahabir) as “unprofessional, tardy, or lax in many instances”. As our ancestors have taught us, “If fish come from river bottom and say that shark down there, believe him”. Administrators of sports worldwide will not give up their privileged position no matter what. FIFA continues trying to run football as the majority of that body’s executive is arrested on numerous charges. Sports can be saved. We the people have to insist on transparency and integrity of those who “volunteer” to run sports. We have to!
“A couple of members that expressed concerns have specific language they’d like to discuss with me,” he said. “I’ll take it into consideration, and if it makes sense will include it.” Starting in 2010, the bill would require girls entering the seventh grade to have a series of three vaccinations to protect them against HPV, which can be sexually transmitted and cause genital warts and cervical cancer. But parents could obtain an exemption by writing a letter to the school stating their opposition to the vaccination requirement. Dr. Jenny Biller, an obstetrician and gynecologist from UC-Davis Medical Center, testified for the bill, saying the vaccine was “almost 98 to 100 percent effective.” Patricia Carthew, a Los Angeles woman who said she suffers from debilitating bone problems because of radiation treatments for cervical cancer, called the HPV vaccine “a vaccine of life.” “I just wish when I was younger there was a vaccine so I would not have to go through this,” she said. “It’s too late for me and it’s too late for a lot of women, but it’s not too late for our daughters.” But Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi, a Stockton physician, said the vaccine was too new for the state to be mandating its use. “It’s poor policy for the state to mandate that half of our children get vaccinated with a drug that has been on the market less than one year …,” he said. “We need more time to see the efficacy and safety of this drug.” Other lawmakers raised concerns about the cost of the series of three vaccinations – $360 – and whether some parents would be able to afford them. Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Granite Bay, said the bill should direct schools to get approval from parents before requiring the vaccinations. “When we address issues related to children and sex, I want real clarity in terms of what the parent is agreeing to,” he said. Assemblywoman Mary Salas, D-Chula Vista, suggested waiting until the vaccine is cleared for use in boys before considering a mandate. HPV also can lead to cancers in men. “We’re only talking about half of the equation today,” she said. Hernandez said in most instances the cost would be covered by private medical insurance or state and federal programs. The opt-out procedure in his bill, he said, was the same one offered parents who don’t want their children immunized against several other diseases, including mumps, measles and chickenpox. “If this was a vaccine to eliminate or reduce breast cancer, we would not be having this discussion,” Hernandez told the committee. “Because it’s a sexually transmitted disease, I think it’s creating a lot of problems.” The Virginia and New Mexico legislatures have approved bills similar to Hernandez’s, and the governors of those states have promised to sign them. Lawmakers in 18 other states also have introduced HPV vaccination mandates. Texas’ Republican governor, Rich Perry, issued an executive order Feb. 2 requiring girls entering the sixth grade to have the vaccinations. That has triggered heated criticism from conservatives and an effort in the Texas Legislature to pass a bill overturning the order. Critics also have focused on Perry’s ties to the vaccine’s manufacturer, Merck & Co. His former chief of staff lobbies for the drug company, which has contributed to Perry and the Republican Governors Association. Merck, which made nearly $60,000 in campaign donations to California lawmakers last year, recently announced that it was dropping lobbying campaigns to convince states to adopt vaccination mandates. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – An Assembly committee Tuesday put off voting on a bill that would require girls entering the seventh grade to be vaccinated against the cervical cancer-causing human papillomavirus. The measure’s author, Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-Baldwin Park, requested the delay after opponents said the vaccine was too new to be mandated by the state and that parents might have difficulty taking advantage of a provision allowing them to opt out of the requirement. “There was obviously a lot of discussion and debate,” Hernandez said after the Assembly Health Committee held a roughly hourlong hearing on the bill. “I wanted to make sure I address all of the concerns of members and bring it back for a vote in April.” He said he was willing to consider amendments.