Following Tuesday’s Independence Day Grand Gala at the National Stadium, the Opposition’s spokesperson on culture, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange has expressed to TV J News her party’s disappointment over aspects of the event’s staging. Grange was a no-show at the Gala. “I don’t think the distribution of tickets was handled professionally and in an equitable way,” said Grange, who is widely credited with reintroducing the Grand Gala to the cultural calendar in 2008, “and I didn’t want to be there celebrating when other Jamaicans did not have the opportunity to.” As for the production itself, Grange observed, “That wasn’t a production. I think it was just a number of performances thrown together. It certainly wasn’t a Grand Gala. That’s not what the country is accustomed to.”
MVP’s Stephen Francis: Asafa and Sherone are “on their own”
As embattled Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson get set to attend a hearing into their recent adverse drug tests -- and await the results of their B samples -- head coach at the MPV Track Club, Stephen Francis, says Powell and Simpson could be booted from the club before long. “Well, now I have no contact with them because I told them that they have to promise and do things [the club’s] way if I was going to have any further dealings with them because they really embarrassed us, embarrassed me. And they were warned,” Francis is quoted as saying in an interview last week with The Gleaner’s Andre Lowe. “So far they have not decided to do it our way, so they are on their own. And we can no longer trust them to do things they way we recommend. So that’s the situation right now.” Sad news for the Trini contingent in Moscow: 27-year-old sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste has pulled out of the Grand Gala after returning an alleged doping violation, reports the Trinidad Express. “She has voluntarily withdrawn from the competition, and is heading back to her base,” explains team manager Dexter Voisin, promising an official statement with details this week.