IN a signed statement issued yesterday, the eight commissioners of the National Sports Commission (NSC), collectively pledged full support behind Director of Christopher Jones, in light of several allegations levelled against him and his modus operandi at the constituted entity.“We, the Commissioners of the NSC, have read in the print media a report that seeks to bring the reputation and character of the Director of Sport Mr Christopher Jones into disrepute. We wish to inform the Nation that we repose every confidence in Mr Jones and his ability to perform his responsibilities with integrity, steadfastness and fairness,” the statement said.Attorney-at-Law James Bond, Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist Aliann Pompey, along with former West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan are joined by Guyana Amateur Swimming Association president Ivan Persaud, Lavern Fraser-Thomas, Inga Teague, Seon Erskine and Edison Jefford as commissioners at the NSC, which is governed by the December 3, 1993 National Sports Commission Act. “The incidents so described (with specific reference to the matters relating to the Inter-Guiana Games 2016) are within the knowledge and part of the remit of the NSC. To be abundantly clear there was an Inter-Guiana Games Committee (established to manage and oversee these Games) which was headed by member of the NSC, commissioner Ms Lavern Fraser.”Jones, in an article published in the Tuesday May 9 edition of the Kaieteur News, was accused of allegedly ostensibly instructing the accountant of the NSC to pay his Personal Assistant, Brian Smith, over $3M by way of cheque for works that were allegedly done by three companies that provided cleaning and other services to the commission during the 2016 Inter-Guiana Games.However, the Commissioners pointed out that they are “extremely disheartened that allegations of corruption are being raised when everything was done above board. All Guyana must remember what a tremendous success these Games were. All Guyana must remember the high quality of service rendered to athletes and officials both foreign and domestic.”They continued, “All Guyana must remember the magnificent state our facilities were put into for these Games. This was a collaborative effort between Government of Guyana, the National Sports Commission, the Private Sector and most of all ordinary Guyanese who played their part in getting the job done.”Jones and his assistant Smith were again fingered in several allegations, this time by Deputy Director of Sport Melissa Dow Richardson, who told Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Ministry, Reginald Brotherson, in an April 27 letter, but in yesterday’s statement, the Commissioners, regrettably, said that they found cause enough to document the full nature of the behaviour and conduct of Ms Richardson and if an inquiry were to be launched into her overall conduct many persons will be alarmed.“Notwithstanding, we welcome an investigation into any allegation of mistreatment to women at the workplace as this ought never to be condoned. In conclusion, sport in Guyana is now at a good place where we are seeing results, where we are seeing tax dollars at work,” the eight-member commissioners said.The commissioners urged the nation and all stakeholders of the sport sector to remain focused, adding, that with support of the Ministry of Education, the NSC “will be delivering a synthetic track in Linden, the ‘light it up project’ for grounds countrywide, scholarships for athletes, the installation of a cool-air venting system at the National Gymnasium, a multi-purpose facility in Bartica, completion of the athletes’ database and upgrades to the National Aquatic Centre among other projects in 2017.”
It was a relatively frustrating first half of the season for the Wisconsin softball team, but the Badgers finally look to be hitting their stride.Illinois (18-18, 2-10 Big Ten) came to Madison over the weekend and, after sweeping the Fighting Illini in a three-game series, Wisconsin (22-15, 6-5) has extended its winning streak to five games.The Badgers set the tone right from the get-go Friday in their first game with the Fighting Illini this season.The score remained 0-0 for the first five innings of the game. Finally, in the bottom of the fifth, Wisconsin broke the scoreless tie. Senior Stephanie Peace led things off with a double down the left field line, making her way around the bases on a string of fielder’s choices, and eventually crossing home plate for the first run of the game on a fielder’s choice to Illinois pitcher, Brandi Needham.Not long after, senior Mary Massei singled to bring in teammate Ashley Van Zeeland to build a 2-0 lead.Any momentary relief the Badgers experienced with their two-run lead was extinguished the next inning, when the Illini responded with a pair of runs of its own in the top of the sixth.Illinois senior Alex Booker singled up the middle after teammate Remeny Perez led off with a hit by pitch. The second and third hitters went on to score the two runs of the inning, Perez batted in on a fielder’s choice and Booker stealing home right after.The score remained tied until the bottom of the seventh, when Wisconsin junior Maria Van Abel stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Van Abel came up with the walk-off single to third, allowing Chloe Miller to cross home and give Wisconsin the 3-2 win in the first game of the series.After a short intermission the teams took the field for the second game of the evening, one that Wisconsin third baseman Michelle Mueller decided she would take into her own hands.Wisconsin hit the ground running as Mueller homered over the center field fence in the first inning, batting in teammate Mary Massei who had reached on an error, giving Wisconsin the early 2-0 lead. But she was only just getting started.After a second hitless inning for Illinois, Mueller knocked another one out of the park, this time to right center, batting Massei and Peace around the bases for another three RBIs and putting the score at 5-0.The Fighting Illini finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, putting up three runs on three hits.The outfield backed up as Mueller approached the batter’s box for the third time in the fourth inning, but it didn’t matter as the junior infielder sent a third pitch sailing over center field wall, adding three more RBIs for Wisconsin.The sixth inning brought UW two more runs, as Van Abel and Massei scored on Illinois errors, putting the final score of the night at 10-3, eight of which belonged Mueller.Mueller, currently batting .385 (third highest on the team) has now racked up eight home runs for the 2014 season, along with more than 40 RBIs (team best).If the last game had belonged to Mueller, then the third game of the Wisconsin-Illinois series was due to the effort of UW pitcher Cassandra Darrah, who tallied up 10 strikeouts over the six innings she threw.After Darrah struck out two batters in the top of the first, Massei and Peace led things off with a double to left and single, respectively. Mueller batted Massei in on a ground out for her ninth RBI of the weekend. Miller stepped up right after and singled to right field, batting in Peace from third base and making the score 2-0.Illinois responded in the top of the second when catcher Jenna Mychko put one over the left field fence, and again in the third when Perez gained an RBI off a double. Darrah shut down the Illini after the third inning, though, going on to throw seven more strikeouts over the next four innings.Wisconsin put up the last run of the day in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Van Zeeland picked up an RBI off a single, to bring the final score to 3-2 and giving Wisconsin its fifth straight win.The Badgers will look to continue their hot streak against in-state rival Green Bay (21-8) in a double-header Wednesday.