Inflation and the rising operational costs of the annual ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships have forced the school sports governing body to increase the cost of tickets for this year’s event.”The operational cost for Champs has increased many times. If you are to be practical it (ticket price) has to be increased,” Champs committee chairman Colleen Montague told The Gleaner at yesterday’s official opening of the McKenley/Wint track at Calabar High School in Kingston.Ticket prices for all categories of seating for the Champs, which will be held at the National Stadium from March 15-19, have gone up by $500.Season tickets for the grandstand moved to $8,500 and $9,000, while bleachers tickets for Saturday now cost $1,500 up from $1,000. Grandstand tickets for Tuesday through Thursday still cost $500.NOCHOICEMontague said that the rising costs of goods and services left the association with no choice.”The minimum wage has gone up and there is an increase for private security and inflation in every single area has been increased and, therefore, we can’t hold it for any longer. We have to push up the prices in all the categories if we are to host it at the same standards that we have in the past,” the Wolmer’s Girls’ School principal said.Montague also pointed out that ticket prices for the bleachers had not been increased in some time.”We have not increased the bleachers tickets for Saturday for the last seven years,” she said.While some have queried whether ticket prices would be prohibitive to students, Montague noted that the students were a primary consideration in arriving at ticket prices.”We have always been considering the students and their cost and making sure it’s affordable for students. There are systems that we put in place for the students. If they purchase through their schools, it’s $1,200 for students for Saturday bleachers,” Montague said.”The cost for bleachers on Saturday, there are special arrangements for our students and so it’s not priced for our students it’s priced for the adults who will be attending,” she added.Addressing the ever-controversial matter of availability of tickets, Montague said only 5,000 tickets were available for Saturday, which always proves to be the problematic day.”The demand has increased but the supply has remained the same because the Stadium is the same stadium last year and the year before. Those who are trying to get tickets have increased. The number of tickets remain the same. It’s only Saturday tickets that are an issue because the tickets are available every other day.
Several organisations displayed their products and services while spreading messages of women empowerment as the International Women’s Day Concert and Expo opened at the Everest Cricket Ground on Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown.Among them were the Caricom Secretariat, the United Nations, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, High Commission of Canada, European Union, High Commission of India, Women Empowering Women, Guyana Office for Investment and the Ministry of Social Protection, among others.Women of all ages not only feasted their eyes on the products displayed but also participated in a one-hour Zumba exercise class and were exposed to information on women and reproductive health, entrepreneurship, academic programmes, among other meaningful information to benefit women’s growth.Public Telecommunications Minister, Catherine Hughes in her address, said while the event highlighted the daily challenges women face, it also focused on the solutions and programmes available to address those issues and the many opportunities available to women.“It’s a good thing for us to stop and pause and think about the challenges we have and how we can do better. I think in Guyana, we need to depend more on our women to take us out of this crisis. Women have an ability to discard the baggage from the past and support each other,” Minister Hughes said.She further stated that every year, the celebration of women in Guyana will be bigger and better, with effective sensitisation to eliminate challenges they face.Speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI), Commissioner of the Women and Gender Equality Commission, Nicole Cole said works are in the pipeline to enforce legislation that will represent women in all types of matters.“We are calling for ongoing specialised training on the Sexual Offences Act and the Domestic Violence Act for judges, magistrates, police officers and others involved in the Criminal Justice System. On March 5, there was the launch of the forensic psychology training for the Judiciary, that launch was done in collaboration of the University of Guyana Health Science and UNICEF because forensic psychology is an area we need persons to be skilled in,” Cole said.British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn said the High Commission will work to help enhance and promote events that will boost women empowerment.“Everybody who inhabits this country and works in this country should be advocates for equal rights and gender equality. My sister and mom brought me up and they fought through the system in the United Kingdom to pursue development. Everyone in Guyana needs to be committed and active to help promote equality and not accept abuse of all kind.”The British High Commissioner noted that the event provided the opportunity to not just sensitise the public on how the Commission functions, but to give Guyanese partners a chance to grow and educate others.Later in the afternoon, Trinidadian artiste Nailah Blackman and Guyana’s very own Poonam Singh and Calvin Burnett entertained the gathering.