MIAMI, United States (CMC): Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz are set to leave Miami today for Chicago to begin what is expected to be a difficult campaign in Group C of the historic Copa Centenario on Sunday. All but two members of the squad assembled in Florida for a short camp, following their 2-1 victory over Chile last Friday in Vina del Mar, and have been undergoing final preparation for the June 3-26 showpiece in the United States. Captain Rodolph Austin, who plays his football in Denmark, joined the squad on Monday, while defender Wes Morgan is set to link up with the contingent in Chicago today. Morgan recently captained Leicester City to their historic capture of the English Premiership title. On Monday, Jamaica further enhanced their match preparation with a 2-0 victory over American Premier Soccer League side, Boca Raton FC, at the Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. England-based Joel (Jobi) McAnuff and Dever Orgill, who plays in Finland, both scored in the game where most of the squad got time on the pitch. Since then, the squad members have gone through their medicals and light pool sessions. Jamaica, who qualified for the Copa Centenario by virtue of being the reigning Caribbean Cup champions, will be hoping to build on their performance in last year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup when they reached the final of that tournament. They played unbeaten in the preliminaries before edging Haiti in the quarter-finals, shocking the United States in the semi-finals and clinching a spot in the final against Mexico, where they eventually lost. Jamaica open their Copa campaign against Venezuela at Soldier Field on Sunday, then follow up against Mexico on June 9 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, before closing out against Uruguay at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The Reggae Boyz contested last year’s Copa in Chile, losing all three of their preliminary games 1-0 against Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
More money will be spent on the upgrade of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in 2019.This was announced by the Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson, on Monday.The move comes years after the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC), which when in Opposition, had cut the funds the then Government – People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – had allocated for the CJIA expansion.Ferguson made the comment while delivering the feature address at the Art Williams and Harry Wendt Aeronautical Engineering School’s graduation and prize giving ceremony on Monday at the Eugene F. Correira International Airport.According to the Minister, over $65 million will be spent on the airport to upgrade its technology to be able to track the weather, among other things.“We would have just approved in excess of $65 million, which would now enableMinister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Fergusonthe Guyana Civil Aviation Authority out at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Air Traffic controllers to ensure that a new mechanism is installed so we (will) be moving from manual settings to a more digital setting,” she noted.It was further explained that the new technology will even help pilots to track the weather patterns to make better landing decisions.Earlier in the year, the Ministry had sought more than $346 million in supplementary funding to cater for two air bridges and see the project to completion.Upon completion, the airport is expected to have four air passenger boarding bridges for arrivals and departures; a 450-seat Departure area, escalators and elevators in addition to an extended runway catering for larger categories of aircraft.In 2012, Guyana, under the PPP Administration had secured a US$138 million loan from the China Exim (Export-Import) Bank to fund the expansion and modernisation project, for which the Guyana Government has injected some US$12 million.However, when the coalition Government came in to power in 2015, the project was put on hold, but following discussions between Public Infrastructure and the contracting company, China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), it was announced that the project would be continued.So far, the new arrival and departure sections have been opened to passengers.The new arrivals terminal, which became operational in September, has already been commended by passengers. The outstanding work includes placement of hoardings (billboards) and striping of the runway (to reduce the risk of aircraft over-shooting the runway, or over-flying during take-off). The striping can only be done after the laying of asphaltic concrete once the runway is completed.Further, when the project is completed, other minor works will be done during the one-year defects and liability period, Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson said.Just recently, the aviation sector was able to gain a 20 per cent improvement and currently stands at 64 per cent compliance in the sector. The announcement of the achievement was highlighted at opening of the Air Transport Conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Center. (Davina Ramdass)