A letter written by Mr. Paul Atkinson in the November 4th 2013 edition of SN `Moruca’s swim team for nationals hit by $$ shortage’ captured my attention.
Just to inform Mr. Atkinson and the wider public, Region One is divided into 3 sub-regions: Mabaruma, Matarkai and Moruca. In the track and field events for our inter-zones Championship all three sub-regions competed. It’s a very costly venture since athletes come from Matarkai and Moruca to compete in Mabaruma. Boats had to be hired for both Matarkai and Moruca to travel to Mabaruma. To hire a single boat the cost is about $300,000 from Moruca and about $160,000 from Port Kaituma. If my memory serves me right, about 90 persons came from Moruca and 84 from Matarkai.
Unlike Georgetown where transportation is much cheaper because of many existing road networks, that is not the case for us here in Region One. From Moruca to Mabaruma the distance is approximately 150 miles and from Port Kaituma it’s 75 miles.
All three sub-regions are quite large, from the Mabaruma sub-region athletes came from Wauna, Yarakita, White Water, Hosororo, Barabina, Shell Beach etc; from the Matarkai sub-region athletes came from Port Kaituma (nearest), Matthews Ridge, Arakaka; from Moruca, athletes came from Waramuri, Santa Rosa, Kwebanna, Asakata etc.
Let’s just say three boats each were used for Matarkai ($160,000×3 = $480,000) and Moruca ($300,000×3=$900,000). We’re looking at 1.38 million just to get those athletes to Kumaka in Mabaruma. Buses had to be hired to transport the athletes to the school where they stayed, foodstuff had to be bought for each team to last for three days, so essentially that figure will move up from that listed above. Medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and trophies for the best U-8, U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16 and U- 18 males and females, were also bought for the 1st time since I’ve been working in Mabaruma. A new javelin, discus and shot put were also bought so that we were able to run off all the field events for the first time in quite a while.
Overall our successes were great. In the 100m U-12 girls, the National record was shattered (Kessa Smith 13.13 seconds NR 13.3, she also had impressive times in the 200m and 400m); the 100m U-14 Boys National record was broken (Daniel Lynch 11.67 NR 11.70, this young man also brought 1st in the 200m, 400m, discus and 2nd in javelin throw). His times for the 200m and 400m were very close to NR!!. I have seen a young man from Moruca (Jaqua Ferreira) who impressed me a lot in his 3000m, 1500m and 800m (very good times). Then there is another young lady in the U-12 Category from Moruca (Anastacia Valenzuela who threw the javelin for the 1st time and broke the National Record by 3+ metres, she got 1st in the high jump and long jump, also very close to NR). It’s a pity her parents are not sending her to Nationals. Then there is another young lady who took part in the high and long jumps, 100m, 800m and 1500m (Minerva Fitzpatrick, it’s her second year in the U-16 Category and for the second time broke the NR for the high jump comfortably and came very close to the long jump NR. She did this even though the Doctor told her to rest since she had an abscess and could barely walk properly). Her mother has however refused to send her to Nationals for a second time.
I can go on and on about the successes we had at our inter-zones because there were many. However, I have to deal with this matter. Over the years, swimmers have been representing Region One at Nationals exclusively from the Moruca sub-region. They have done quite well too, coming 4th overall in the swimming segment last year. They want to take the maximum 26 athletes for the swimming segment. It means that whilst our track and field comprises of 50 athletes from the three sub-regions, only Moruca is given the opportunity to take swimmers to nationals. What about the rest of the sub-regions???
There are good swimmers in Mabaruma and Matarkai too. Many students come from the riverain areas to attend schools in Port Kaituma and Mabaruma and they too learnt how to swim at a young age, just like their counterparts in Moruca. I learnt to swim since I was three years old and it is the same for those students living in Moruca, Mabaruma and Matarkai. You might want to know how I know these things. Firstly I was born in Moruca and spent my early childhood living there (0-7 years old). Secondly I teach at the North West Secondary School in Mabaruma and many of my students tell be about their swimming exploits.
Yes we have financial constraints, but we make do with what we have. We might not be able to take the maximum 110 athletes to Nationals. Would we like to take 110 athletes? Of course we’d like to do that, unfortunately we cannot since our inter-zones uses up roughly 1.5 million dollars (lowest average). To travel all the way from Mabaruma to Georgetown is quite a long journey, Mabaruma and Matarkai usually leave Mabaruma together for Moruca. We meet up with the rest of our team in Moruca, from there we travel with boats to Charity, then we go with buses to Supenaam and take boats again to cross the Essequibo River for Parika and finally buses again to get to our final destination in Georgetown. Just imagine the cost in getting us to Georgetown!!!
It’s a pity that Mr. Paul Atkinson should write such a letter. Hopefully my response will help to answer his questions. Maybe he should make a contribution to a worthy cause. Let me remind you Mr. Atkinson, Region One is not Moruca alone but is made up of three Sub-regions namely Mabaruma, Matarkai and Moruca.
Mabaruma Sub-Region of