Blueberry Hill FC punched their ticket to the second round of the GT Beer-sponsored Upper Demerara Football Association knockout tourney, crushing Vasco FC by a 4-1 score line at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) ground on Wednesday.
Quacy Tafaura opened the scoring for the winners compliments of a fourth minute strike. Vasco FC would then respond in the 39th minute to level the score through a Jermin King effort. However Blueberry Hill would retake the lead four minutes later as Romel McBean scored.
Keith Gilkes would then extend their lead by two goals as he found the back of the net in the 50th minute. The win would then be sealed seven minutes later as Gavin Morsen etched his name on the scorer’s sheet.
In the other matchup of the night, Ituni Peacemakers FC overcame Block 22 Goal-Getters by a 3-1 margin on penalty kicks after normal time ended nil-all. Tourney action is slated to continue today at the same venue with a doubleheader.
In the opening fixture, Kwakwani Strikers will face off with High Stars FC from 19:00hrs while Snatchers BOSAI has maintained constant shipping of bauxite over the past seven years during which time the company has maintained a workforce as high as over six hundred employees.
Robert Shang, General Manager of the expatriate Chinese bauxite mining company that operates out of Linden, stated “that after seven years the company has been successful and the hallmark is actual benefits to its employees”. He said the company has contributed to its host community and he noted that last year BOSAI experienced competition from other companies in the industry but he believes the challenge is temporary and he is optimistic that with support from stakeholders in Linden and the rest of Guyana, the company “will continue to be successful”.
The BOSAI general manager also expressed appreciation to all those, who have contributed to the company’s success. He made the comments during a luncheon at Watooka House to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the privatization of Guyana’s bauxite industry.
The occasion attracted senior representatives of major stakeholders, including Winston Brassington, the Head of NICIL – the government’s holding company for state-owned lands and properties – who congratulated BOSAI and spoke on matters related to developments within the company and its host community.
Chairman of Region Ten, Sharma Solomon, said that although the occasion might be seen as just a meal, it is very significant since it is the tenth anniversary celebration of one of the bedrock companies of not only the Region but the entire country. He said having moved from a nationalized state to a private company, it is important that the change brings mutual benefits to both the company and the community.
Solomon commended BOSAI’s commitment to environmental management, pointing out that after expressing the desire to reduce the emission of dust during its operation, BOSAI has installed a dust collector “and is strongly pursuing environmental concerns (which) they are working to address”. While expressing approval of this pursuit, Solomon was optimistic that the company will do more “in terms of the infrastructural building of the community”.
Former trade unionist, Charles Sampson, who wears two hats as Regional Councillor and Town Councillor, represented the Linden Municipality at the luncheon.
He said that he was working in the bauxite industry when it was nationalized and that he has participated in the various changes of the company’s ownership.
“I was one of the persons, who encouraged the OMAI management to get involved in bauxite,” Sampson said before echoing the Regional Chair-man’s approval of BOSAI’s environment- friendly consciousness. Prior to BOSAI’s takeover, Cambior, the major stakeholder in Omai Gold Mines Limited had taken charge of the Linden bauxite operations.
“BOSAI would have responded to a very critical area … when they installed the dust collectors for the calciners,” he said, adding that installation of the dust collectors was a good investment for BOSAI because the dust constitutes part of the finished product for which BOSAI would have spent money. “So, BOSAI would have put itself in a position to reclaim some of those losses by installing the dust collectors”.
Critics had previously said that BOSAI had taken too long to act on the dust collectors and the process was marred by delays.
Sampson further stated that one cannot quantify the benefits BOSAI has brought to the community in terms of making the environment more clean and reducing the risk of respiratory diseases “that have affected this community since 1916”.
Expressing awareness of the fluctuating nature of bauxite prices on the world market, Sampson said that if the trend of falling oil prices continues, BOSAI “would see some benefits” and he hopes “that some of those benefits will be transferred to the workers of the company”.
He argued that Guyana has the best bauxite in the world and he expressed the hope that the local bauxite industry will regain its former stature as a leading world producer. “So, I am looking forward down the road to see BOSAI expand and improve infrastructure.”
The former GMWU and GBSU official also expressed the hope that other mineral resources can be exploited for the benefit of the nation. He also said that he is looking forward to the dismantling of the alumina plant, which has been inoperable for years and he called for the proceeds of the scrap metal sold from the dismantling of the alumina plant to be used to the benefit of the community.
Stating that the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge is the most important bridge in the country, Sampson called for the construction of another bridge alongside the current one to “ease the traffic congestion on the bridge”. He said the desire had previously been expressed to Brassington.
Sampson said much benefit was accrued during the ten years of privatization of the bauxite industry and he expressed the hope that some of the things he spoke about, including better wages and salaries for the workers, would be achieved over the next ten years.