It has been a constant going around in circles in recent years as it relates to the format for the top local football league, now the Red Strip Premier League (RSPL). Four seasons ago, the semi-final and final playoff knockout format was restored after yet another cycle of having the traditional league format, where the champion was the team that accumulated most points at the end of the season. The conventional league format was always the most just and credible way to go. It smacked of injustice and lacking total integrity to have a team accumulating the best record and most points at the end of the regular season, then having one bad game in a concocted semi-final and final knockout game against a team that finished in fourth spot 10 or 15 points adrift the top team, then that fourthplace team could go on to be crowned league champions. There still remains a certain level of innate unfairness in that kind of scenario. This is one of those occasions on which I have been convinced by the unfolding reality to reconsider my previous position. It is a matter of the good of the situation outweighing the bad of the situation. The dynamics of the local football reality make it an unfair comparison to make between our top-flight football in Jamaica and what obtains in the elite leagues of England, Spain and Italy. These leagues have the advantage of huge television deals, more vibrant and richer economies and better infrastructure, which all contribute to better general spectator attendance and a more viable product to market throughout the season. IRRELEVANT, BORING AND USELESS The current format of the RSPL, with the top four teams pooled into a post regular season knockout phase, has worked and continues to work. The level of interest and buzz generated by the approach to the ‘playoffs’, as well as during the current phase, has increased exponentially. There was no disputing the fact that the four top teams in the league, on merit, all made it to the knockout round Montego Bay United, Portmore United, Arnett Gardens and Humble Lion were all rewarded for their consistency and that, of course, helped in the selling of the playoff intrigue and drama. There is also a particular spectacle and almost guaranteed excitement associated with a knockout series that does not exist in the straight league format, where there is always the possibility of one team running from the pack leading by 10 or 15 points, which would render the last three or four games of the season irrelevant, boring and useless. There is no possibility of that happening in a knockout play-to-win scenario. It is also quite instructive that in other regional football jurisdictions such as Mexico, the USA and Costa Rica, and in the majority of the South America countries, it is the post-season knockout format that is used to determine the national league champions. While there can be no real value placed on the unfortunate scenario of the best and most consistent team throughout the season losing a knockout semi-final or final, thus losing the league title, there is some credence to the decision to offer the top performing team at the end of the regular season $1m incentive. All things considered, the format of the RSPL working and is working well. The intensity and interest at this point in the season, as they have been ever since the re introduction of this format, are at an all-time high and I suspect that most, if not all, the previous dissenting voices against this format, have been duly silenced by its success.
Enmore Co-op feudAs the spat continues with residents of Enmore, East Coast Demerara (ECD) and the Co-Op Society, at least one house was demolished on Thursday and the occupants’ belongings tossed onto the streets after demolition workers were ordered to do so.Member of Parliament Anil Nandlall addressing the residentsBased on reports received, the instruction was given by leader of the Co-op Society. When Guyana Times visited the area, residents claimed that they were awakened by persons trying to dismantle several homes which were on transported land.The Society reportedly attempted to dismantle the buildings on several occasions after transports for the land which persons had occupied for the past 30 years were issued to other persons without their knowledge. This state of affairs, however, would have stemmed from the ongoing feud.The residents also claimed that they were threatened that if they should return to their property, the co-op will send its members to burn the buildings.One of the residents, whose home was ransacked, Nadia Rambarran told Guyana Times that this was the third time that her home was invaded. She noted that a meeting was scheduled for Thursday morning by the Co-op Society to discuss the land issues but that turned into a tragedy.Other residents stood in the rain as Opposition MP Anil Nandlall addresses their concerns“Since 1982, the land was there. My uncle was living there and after he die in 2015, we started to live there…now a man just come this morning, he just show them a transport and they start to break the door down,” Rambarran recalled.Rambarran’s husband, Avinash Chatura, said that they were told that if they entered their house, they would be beaten and killed.The situation had gotten to a point where the residents were completely helpless and, as such, sought the guidance and assistance of the former Attorney General and Member of Parliament (MP), Anil Nandlall.During his visit to the area to hear the plight of the people, Nandlall stated that by law, it is wrongful for those actions to be committed.He is holding out that while the Co-Op is in a process of redistributing the land, they cannot merely give it to another member while noting that when a person is deceased, the beneficiary is supposed to be given the land. However, it is not a case whereby the residents were squatting on the land.“That is not what the law says. The law of cooperative society recognises transmission of interest upon death. If a deceased was a member of a co-op, and would’ve been entitled to a plot of land, when that person dies, that interest passes on to the beneficiary of that deceased person,” the former Attorney General stated.“Those who are administering the Co-Op ought to recognise that and rather than assign the property to another member of the Co-Op, they’re supposed to assign it to the beneficiary,” he added.Furthermore, if the matter is not resolved, Nandlall related that he would represent the residents in the High Court for their lands to be retrieved.“This matter will have to be resolved either amicably at the level of the Co-Op Society or the Chief Co-op Officer. If not, we’d have to engage in a head-on battle in the High Court and I’ll be representing all these people who are affected by this problem,” he said.As residents of the community were fearful for their lives, Nandlall visited the Cove and John Police Station, where the situation was discussed and it was promised that senior officers would be dispatched to the community to provide protection.“I just had a brief meeting with the commander of this division and due to his attention and the seriousness of the situation, which now exists at Enmore North, I explained to him that unless the Police intervene in a firm way, the situation can descend into violence,” said Nandlall.“He has assured me that he will assign two senior Police ranks immediately and deploy them to go to the scene and to have a continuous Police presence,” he added.