Even as thousands of sugar workers are being made redundant, President David Granger is seeking to assure that the Special Purpose Unit’s negotiations with investors will bear fruit and a plan for the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo’s) massive land holdings will be developed.Granger gave the assurance on Friday during his first press conference in two years. When asked why there were no plans in place for workers before the divestment, Granger noted that Government, the unions, and the corporation itself must be factored in.“There are four major institutions to be considered. One is the corporation itself, which has not been dissolved, and it still has responsibility for the industry. The other is the Government, and the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for reporting to Cabinet and the National Assembly. Third, you have the workers and their representatives, particularly GAWU and NAACIE”; and, of course, you have civil society and other agencies who are concerned with providing services to the sugar workers.“But as far as retrenchment or termination benefits are concerned, the Government is responsible for ensuring that the sugar corporation fulfils its obligations to the workers,” the President explained.He emphasised that the Special Purpose Unit (SPU), which is under the Finance Ministry, has recently engaged an internationally rated accounting firm — PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — to value the land it will sell.“As far as the plan is concerned, there needs to be a lot more work from the fourth agency — what you can call the Special Purpose Unit, which comes under the Finance Ministry. That is the agency that will ensure the smooth transition of those parts of the industry which will not remain in production,” he explained.“So I would say that the work of the SPU is still being done. They are in negotiation, not only with the sugar corporation, but also with foreign investors. And I expect that, before too long, we will have a plan which will explain in greater detail how the land will be disposed of,” he detailed.Out of the three firms that had made submissions to the SPU, the United Kingdom-based PwC was selected to valuate GuySuCo. This is as Government moves ahead with efforts to privatise and diversify the sugar industry.According to the SPU when it announced the selection, all negotiations with PwC have been completed, and a contract is expected to be signed by December 18, 2017.Following the valuation exercise, PwC is expected to develop an investment prospectus which, through the SPU, would be distributed to all interested investors.The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic had previously called the move by the SPU to select the firm for the valuation process a vehicle for corruption that completely bypasses the established privatisation procedures and the sale of State assets.In order for the process to be underway, almost 4,000 sugar workers have had to be fired from the Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall operations of GuySuCo. This move by the Government have been slammed by the Opposition as a “callous decision”.Still viableDuring a meeting with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), SPU Head Colvin Heath-London informed the delegation that, following his assessment of the estates identified for closure and sell out, he is of the opinion that the estates are viable.He outlined that when certain costs are excluded from the estates’ overall expenditure, the overhead of their production is generally in keeping with international norms.In fact, the SPU Head has described the Skeldon sugar estate as a ‘gold mine’, a term which is far different from the phrases used by GuySuCo to describe the facility.
When the time comes, proud champions are supposed to relinquish their crowns after fighting and snarling to the last moment. Novak Djokovic effectively waved the white flag, bowing out of the French Open with a whimper on Wednesday.The 30-year-old Serb, who has prevailed in some of the sport’s epic battles on the way to 12 major titles, was barely recognisable as he capitulated in a 7-6(5) 6-3 6-0 defeat by Austrian Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.After squandering two set points in the opener on a blustery Court Suzanne Lenglen, Djokovic’s renowned fighting spirit ebbed away quickly and he surrendered the third set in 20 minutes.The result was all the more remarkable as in five previous matches with the 23-year-old he had lost one set and last month thrashed him 6-1 6-0 in Rome — a result that suggested Djokovic had found his mojo, missing since he won the French a year ago.Sixth seed Thiem, who to be fair played superbly in the first set but must have thought he was facing a Djokovic impersonator thereafter, is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament but his next task is a daunting one.”It doesn’t get any easier,” Thiem, beaten by Djokovic in last year’s semi-final, said on court when asked to comment on the prospect of facing favourite Rafa Nadal in the semis.While Thiem’s part in Djokovic’s downfall should not be overlooked, it was the Serbian world number two’s astonishing collapse that was the talk of Roland Garros.advertisementDouble French Open champion Jim Courier, commentating on the match, said the Serb had shown ‘no fight’.LISTLESS DJOKOVICThat was certainly true after the first set as Djokovic, whose new coach Andre Agassi had already flown home, appeared lost and listless, misfiring a succession of lame backhands.”Obviously nothing was going my way and everything his way. Just pretty bad set,” said Djokovic, who split with his long-term coaching crew last month and announced shortly before the French he would be working with eight-times major winner Agassi.”It was decided I think in the first set today. I tried. I lost that crucial break in the beginning of the second, and he started serving better, backing it up with the first shot. He deserved to win. He was definitely the better player.”It was Djokovic’s first defeat before the semi-finals in Paris since 2010 when he was also beaten by an Austrian, Juergen Melzer in the quarter-finals.The danger signs were already there in the early stages when Thiem broke the Djokovic serve in the third game. However, Djokovic responded to break back twice in a row, only to drop his own serve at 4-2 with a forehand error.Djokovic piled on the pressure when Thiem served at 4-5 and he had his man in trouble at 15-40. Thiem saved the first set point with a volley, then forced a backhand error on the second.The tiebreak was nip and tuck with a succession of points against the serve but Thiem took it when Djokovic shovelled a tight-looking backhand into the net.Djokovic dropped serve at the start of the second set and the expected backlash never materialised as Thiem marched towards the last four with unexpected ease.Djokovic raised his fist to the crowd after winning a point early in the third but it was a hollow gesture.He did save one match point but was already walking towards the net to shake hands when Thiem sent a backhand fizzing past him a few seconds later.Thiem, who has 22 wins in claycourt matches this year and reached finals in Barcelona and Madrid where he lost to Nadal, is the second Austrian man to reach multiple grand slam semi-finals after former French Open champion Thomas Muster.
Rowed inFun KayakingIt’s no big deal that Hyderabad doesn’t have a beach, since a sunny afternoon can turn into a fun day of kayaking at the Hussainsagar Lake. So move over brunches for there’s a better way to spend a fun weekend-kayaking with friends, while finding an adrenaline rush too.,Rowed inFun KayakingIt’s no big deal that Hyderabad doesn’t have a beach, since a sunny afternoon can turn into a fun day of kayaking at the Hussainsagar Lake. So move over brunches for there’s a better way to spend a fun weekend-kayaking with friends, while finding an adrenaline rush too. “It is indeed about adrenaline and fitness besides fun,” says Suheim Sheikh, 51, founder president of the Yacht Club of Hyderabad, who started the kayaking sessions last year.And while knowing how to swim is good, it is not a criterion if you’d like to kayak, since lifejackets are given to everyone and you go into the water under proper supervision. The session starts with a few minutes of training outside the water on maneuvering the kayak by trained experts. “Rowing the kayak-especially if you are in a race-is about deriving thrills while burning the calories too, since you manage to exercise your upper body enough,” shares Sheikh.Teamwork can be an added skill you’ll end up learning as well. And it’s only a myth that only youngsters enjoy kayaking. “We’ve had 60-year-olds participate as well. All you need is a fit body and a sporty spirit, besides a hunger for adrenaline,” says Sheikh.Price Rs 650 onwardsAt The Yacht Club of Hyderabad Tank Bund RoadTel 8885062220 +918885062220Green bowlSummer saladsAsk her what’s cooking, and food blogger Arundati Rao, 38, will put together a full class on what you’d like to cook, instead. Her salad classes are booked much in advance-way before the onset of summer. And like her other classes, these are not a quiet affair. Her culinary studio-the first of its kind in town-bustles with knives striking chopping boards, her self-confessed “200 words per minute” instructions and detailed explanations to the occasional nutrition tidbit and some humour as garnish.advertisementPreviously a corporate trainer by profession, she used to be a far cry from the ‘kitchen queen’ that she’s turned into over the last seven years. “My interest in food back then was mostly about the eating bit,” she says, tossing spinach to make her version of the Lebanese tabouli salad. I don’t believe in strictly following recipes since there’s no point in struggling to get an exotic ingredient when you can easily replace it with something easier to find.For instance, jowar instead of bulgur wheat in this salad, or lobia and chana thrown in into a Mexican salad,” explains Rao. She also believes in making healthy food interesting and will show you how to up the nutrition quotient of just about anything. Refreshing and filling, these green and bean bowls are perfect for a complete healthy summer meal.Contact facebook.com/escapadesculinarystudioCool aidVegan Ice creamsBinging on ice cream this summer could be absolutely guilt-free and Madhulika Jajodia, 48, shows how. Completely vegan and with a sugarless option for each, these ice creams are made with healthy ingredients, “So an extra helping or two will only help rather than hurt,” she assures. Soft skills trainer turned animal rescuer, Jajodia took to being vegan several years ago but dabbled into her venture of home-churned vegan ice creams in 2015. “This was after much experimenting while trying to get my teenage sons to switch to vegan ice creams,” she says.Made with coconut milk, soy milk and cashew, the ice creams are flavoured using fresh seasonal fruits or the usual butterscotch and chocolate for people who prefer the tried and tested. Jajodia also makes several of her syrups at home with natural ingredients and none of her ice creams contain preservatives. “There’s barely any difference in the taste between vegan and other commercial ice creams, except that these are lighter and healthier,” says Jajodia. The sugarless option contains dates in place of the organic sugar she uses otherwise. Besides selling, she also holds demonstrations on making vegan ice creams at home and vegan cooking in general. Even today, she feels happier when the compliments for her ice creams come from non-vegans.Price Rs 300 per litreAt Alpine Heights, SomajigudaTel 8099662924 +918099662924Water worksAqua GymA multi gym in the water is not something out of a futuristic movie but a specialty feature at Leonia Resorts. “It’s a one-of-its kind in the city, if not in all of India,” says Akshat Iyangar, 25, sports manager at the aqua gym, while he’s in the midst of a core-strengthening routine in the water. “Keeping yourself afloat in water uses up energy and that’s how you burn more calories. Besides you get to use muscles of the arms that you would otherwise use sparingly,” he says.advertisementA lighter workout involves jogging in the water from one end of the pool to another for strengthening leg muscles. “Or why not get a treadmill inside the water as well?” offers Iyangar, demonstrating how it is done. Since the pool is always covered, the water turns rather cool and you need to constantly work to keep the body warm. Guests at the resort are encouraged to experience the benefits of training at the aqua gym, which has turned into a preferred fitness destination for the IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad. “It’s exercising with no risk of sprains or injuries, or even breaking into a sweat. So why not do your crunches and ab training under water?” signs off Iyangar, diving back in.At Leonia Resorts, ShamirpetTel 66400000Pool movesWater DancingIt’s fun with the addition of fitness when you decide to get into the pool and groove to catchy tunes, waist down in the water. Abhimanika Yadav, 29, a model, dancer and fitness instructor ups the group’s energy with a water dancing session while leading the way from the front. “Since water offers greater resistance, you tend to burn nearly twice the amount of calories inside the pool,” says Yadav, barely breathless, between dance numbers.Her effortless moves come from a disciplined fitness regimen and training in Andhra natyam, a blend of Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam that she learnt from her mother at the age of three. Her seven-year-old son too is a complete natural and dances alongside Yadav in her classes. “He keeps everyone motivated with his unstoppable energy and is my dance partner of all time,” says Yadav.Come summer and her water dance sessions are in demand, designed to various themes. She’s had a session on pool dandiya in the past and also put together an Arabian theme for another event with fun props like tambourines and drums. “Ultimately, it’s all about finding ways to make fitness enjoyable,” adds Yadav.Website abhimanika.comSplash itAqua ZumbaIt’s an ‘age-no-bar, weight-no-bar’ deal at her aqua zumba classes and Vijaya Tupurani, 38, gets a high motivating people perform energetic moves, especially in the water. “The body tends to work more in water and you don’t even realise it till some time after you’ve stepped out of the pool and feel the crunch,” she says.But aqua zumba is not just a water version of floor zumba. “Instead, the choreography is altered to factor in the instability of standing in water,” Tupurani says. Chubbier women who can’t lift their weight up and jump normally would find it easier to do so in water. “During my first aqua zumba class three years ago, we had a hundred participants inside the pool, several of whom were on the obese side.Another plus, she says, is there are no mirrors and that helps people lose inhibitions. “They are no longer fixated on getting their steps right and being self-conscious about others watching. You aren’t so visible waist-down anyway,” Says Tupurani. Since 2013, when she introduced aqua zumba to the city, Tupurani has done more classes outside Hyderabad than back home. “We have a vibrant community of water fitness enthusiasts but not enough places with usable pools, like in Bangalore or Pune,” she rues, but hopes this situation will change soon.advertisementPrice Rs 600 onwardsWebsite facebook.com/vijaya.tupurani
The Coalition of Better Parenting (CBP), through its various agencies and organisations, is working tirelessly to improve parenting practises in Jamaica. This is in recognition of the important role that parents play in the development of their children. Co-ordinator of the CBP, Doret Crawford, told JIS News that the umbrella body works through its network of some 40 agencies and organisations throughout the island, to carry out a number of activities and programmes focussed on parenting issues. She noted, for example, that “when Hope for Children, one of our members, has parenting projects in Greenwich Town, Rema (Wilton Gardens) or Jungle (Arnett Gardens), that is the coalition at work.” “When the Women’s Centre steps out and carries out parenting workshops for young fathers and mothers, or when 3-D goes into homes and sensitizes and encourages the parents of children with disabilities to seek help for their children…that is the coalition at work,” she stressed. The coalition, this month, is collaborating with the Ministry of Education in hosting a series of parenting workshops in observance of Parent Month. These workshops will be held in all six education region of the Ministry of Education. Two of the coalition members organising the sessions are the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) and Parenting Partners Caribbean (PPC). The NPTAJ, established in 2006, brings together Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in schools across Jamaica, to speak in a collective manner to issues relating to parents. “We also see to what extent parents, as important stakeholders of the education system, can be involved in the transformation of the education process,” explained President of NPTAJ, Everton Hannam. He said the NPTAJ tries to make an impact on the education system in a meaningful way by working with the parents in the local PTAs. “We also sit on representative structures within the Ministry of Education to discuss or to make input into important areas such as the Text Book Committee and Human and Family Life Education Committee, of which other members of the parenting coalition form a significant part,” he informed. Also, from time to time, the association is asked to provide feedback from parents relating to issues of importance. The PPC, through its ‘Parents’ Place’, is also engaging parents and children in a meaningful way. Vice President of the group, Janet Brown, explained that the initiative began in 2010 when the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) contracted the PPC to develop a strategy for parents at the early childhood level. “They wanted a programmatic strategy. We engaged in consultations with children, with parents and other stakeholders, and what emerged was the concept that we call the ‘Parents’ Place,’ she explained. The Parents’ Place, she said, “is a familiar neighbourhood place, which welcomes and supports all parents and families to raise their children well. This is a universal kind of approach…it is more than a building”. The services offered are varied and flexible and can be attached or linked to a wide range of public and private services, such as health clinics, schools, libraries, social service agencies and churches. “In other words it builds on existing effort,” Mrs. Brown stated. Any community group, private or public organisation, non-government or faith-based organisation may apply to be designated a ‘Parents’ Place’. They may send applications to firstname.lastname@example.org. Certain criteria must be met before an organisation can be designated a Parents’ Place.