On the face of it, when the whistle blows at the Montego Bay Sports Complex this afternoon at 4 p.m., or whenever, signalling the start of the 2016 Red Stripe Premier League final, promoted team and multiple champions Portmore United should start as favourites. The team, which originated in the parish of Clarendon under the name Hazard before changing base to Portmore in St. Catherine but now straddles both parishes, has been the most consistent this season. That consistency saw them crowned ‘League’ champions as they ended the regular season with the most points and were duly rewarded with the $1m bonus. Additionally, Portmore United have owned Montego Bay United (MBU) on the three occasions that they have met this season. In their match, which marked their return to top-tier football, they defeated Montego Bay United 2-0, with Montego Bay resident Ricardo Morris responsible for one of them. That was followed up with a 1-0 win at the Juici field, courtesy of a Cleon Price strike. Morris was again on the score sheet along with Tramaine Stewart and Mark Alves as Portmore United left Montego Bay with a 3-1 win in the last meeting. QUALITY TEAM Even with the evidence, which is helped by the depth of their available squad, Portmore United coach Jeffrey Hewitt will not accept the favourites’ tag. “To me, MoBay will be starting favourites. This is their third consecutive final and that shows that they are very consistent. They are quality team and their record speaks to that, so no one can take anything away from them,” said Hewitt who was a part of Portmore United’s coaching staff when they won in 2008 and 2012. “Despite that, we are confident in our abilities and what we can do. Yes, we have beaten them in the three matches that we have played so far, but the past does not matter now. What matters is what we do on the day,” added Hewitt. According to the man who distinguished himself at Garvey Maceo, the Portmore United unit is so focused right now that nothing will distract them. Not even the protest action by MBU, which has seen them boycott a number of promotional events leading up to today’s big day and them threatening not to show up for the 4 p.m. start. “We are so focused that we are not entertaining any thoughts of them turning up or not. We are preparing for a 4 p.m. game and we will be showing up for that. “Tomorrow’s game, we are anticipating, will be a very competitive one. It is a final and our players know what is at stake and we have to go out there and compete,” he added. VERY OPEN While the Portmore United camp has been very open, the Montego Bay United camp has not so much as entertained a call or interview request from the media in relation to today’s game. The Sunday Gleaner, however, managed to speak with someone close to the camp. “My players are ready for the game. They have not been distracted by what is going on, and they will be showing,” the source said. “This is the third final that the team has been in, the past three years, and this is important to us. The first year, we won; last year, we came second; and this year, we are going out to win again. “Even if it is nine players, we are going to play them. No team can beat Montego Bay United four times in a season,” the source added. In addition to the record going against them, Montego Bay United have the offfield distractions which could spill over on the field going against them. Add to that the absence of two of their most potent players – Owayne Gordon, the season’s leading scorer to a loan deal, and Dino Williams to an injury. Allan Ottey is the only one available of that pacy and skilful trio. A lot will depend on the former schoolboy star who shone alongside Portmore’s Morris for St James High. Injury kept him out for chunks of the season, but he will have to lead the forward line with support from Cory Hylton. Goalkeeper Jacomena Barrett is a player with a lot to prove as he is a former Portmore United player and conceded three goals in the last match. Losing again will not sit well with him. If he reports in inspired form as he has been on occasion, he could lift his teammates. With almost everything stacked against them, this could be the motivation the Montego Bay United players need to pull off the improbable victory.
Corning >> The Corning High boys basketball team has an extremely deep and balanced rotation. On Saturday night the Cardinals utilized a lot of their parts as a way to win their own tournament for a third straight year with a 66-51 win over Durham at the 17th annual Corning Shootout. Corey Busta dropped in a game-high 19 points, earning tournament MVP honors, while fellow seniors Brendan Hoag and Noah Zoppi were selected all-tournament with 17 and 13 points respectively for Corning (13-2).Hoa …
Expressing concern over the presence of Rohingya in Manipur, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has said efforts should be made to identify the people who are facilitating their entry and providing them shelter in the state. The Chief Minister was referring to the arrest of six Rohingya from the Tulihal International Airport in Imphal on Saturday. The six passengers had arrived from New Delhi with forged documents. Addressing people on the occasion of Patriots’ Day on Tuesday, he said, “It indicates that many of them are taking shelter in the state and we have to find out the persons who are behind the illegal entry of Rohingya from different places.” Urging the locals to trace Rohingya and the agents who are bringing them to Manipur, the Chief Minister said, the “already sinking” Manipuri population will disappear in the coming years, if they do not take the inititative. Police investigation revealed that the six Rohingya were trained in a Madrasa in Delhi and had come to the state with the help of some agents based in the national capital and Manipur, DIG T. Ngasangva had told reporters on Sunday. The Rohingya had admitted that they were residents of Yangon and Mandalay in Myanmar, the DIG said.
A full Bench of the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday took suo motu cognizance of distress labour migration from the State and directed the Labour Secretary to file a comprehensive report on the issue by October 28.The full Bench of the OHRC, comprising chairperson Justice Bimala Prasad Das and members Justice Raghubar Dash and Asim Amitabh Dash, issued the directive as the State Labour and Employees’ State Insurance (LESI) department failed to submit a satisfactory action taken report in the past five years.In 2014, while adjudicating the case of Sushant Kumbar, the 12-year-old child labourer from Bolangir district who had sustained serious injury after being mercilessly beaten up by his employer in a brick kiln in Karnataka, then OHRC chairperson Justice B. K. Mishra and member B. K. Patnaik asked the State government to inform it about the measures taken to prevent distress labour migration and rehabilitate freed bonded labourers and their children.“The distress labour migration has assumed critical proportion in the State. Government welfare programmes have failed to prevent them from going to other States for work,” said Biswapriya Kanungo, human rights activist and petitioner in the Kumbar case.About 3 to 4 lakh people, including women and minor children, go to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala to work in brick kilns for paltry remuneration. It has been widely reported that they are subjected torture to extract maximum work from them.Thousands of poverty stricken people from Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bargarh and Subarnapur districts take wage advance from labour middlemen in August and September. Around November and December, they go to brick kilns and other construction sites.To stop the distress migration, the government had announced rations under National Food Security Act from September. It was also proposed to increase employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme from 100 to 200 days. Moreover, it was under consideration to bring wage payment under MGNREGA at par with minimum wage of the State.According to a survey conducted by Tata Trusts, a voluntary organisation, last year about 38,000 people from 30 gram panchayats of Bolangir and Nuapada migrated to neighbouring States as they could not be provided jobs.