I guess most of you watched the much anticipated Presidential debate last night. Every network, indeed every local stations were promoting this event. It was must watch TV.

The entire event reminded me of the historic match between Ali and Frazer in what was then called #ThrillaInManila. Who can forget the loquacious Ali in his effort of self promoting the fight said that the fight would be a “killa and a thrilla and a chilla, when I get that gorilla in Manila.”

It was most certainly a thrilla for Ali and he stood by his words to make the event a chilla. 

He won the match and the eventually the series 2-1. 

It was glorious boxing at the time and Ali went on to cement himself as #TheGreatest.

The debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was similar in importance as this would be the first round of a three debate series to decide who would be rewarded with the world’s most coveted job, POTUS. Braggadocios Donald’s camp suggested their athlete was quote The “Babe Ruth of Debater”.  


Team Hillary’s camp described their athlete as quote “hunkered down”, illuminating someone taking this bout seriously as this was her first time stepping into a ring with a pre advertised bully. 

Team Trump mocked Team Hillary. Their candidate was out and about “speaking to the people” on issues, no wonder you see the narrowing of the polls. He is doing what he is supposed to do, talking to the people and especially African Americans who have been fooled and used by HRC for years.”

Battle lines were drawn. The temperature reached fever pitch. 9.00pm was Showtime at Hos Fra University, Long Island New York. Grab your popcorn, ice up the buds. 

Both Ali and Donald Trump have one thing in common. They are good at self promoting. The difference is Ali could back up his rhetoric. Donald Trump umm, not too sure.

The Donald was facing for the first time 2 of the people he disrespect the most – a woman named Hillary and an African American called Lester.

Let’s face it, Donald has certain standards for women. They must be beautiful first by his standards. They must be intelligent but not over bearing and they must know their place, meaning they must always maintain 3 paces behind the AlphaMale. He married 3 times to achieve these standards. 

The Donald deals with many African Americans at various levels and as a New Yorker with “NewYork Values” he can relate to many kind of ethnic groups. But just because he speaks to you does not mean he will invite you over to supper or you can date his daughter.

Lastly this was Donald’s first true debate in the political arena, an Arena he long time thought was lacking the skill of someone who can make deals. America was like his real estate business, a business that needs a good no nonsense manager and someone that will treat every aspect of government as a business entity. Government must make a profit. If needs be, reneging on debts, revaluing assets, cancelling and refinancing debts are all on the table. 

Trump does not see allies as allies. To Trump allies are deficits that are a burden to his profit margin. They must pay for the service America is giving them.

Trump is a business man and sees the world as a business. 

I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye toward the bottom line. Perhaps it’s time America was run like a business.- Donald Trump

Trumponomics is in itself not a bad thing in principle. Any entity including government, should apply basic business models of profit making as a standard of operations. But whist that may be the overriding principle to governance, looking at everything as a business model in government is not necessarily the right thing either. 

Trump’s attempt to sell his version of economics has created un seemingly great divisions of the American society , sending bull horn noises to extremists that are interpreting his message as their gospel to rise and take their place in the society.  

Race is a hard truth that ignite the affected souls on fire. People of Colour are fidgety. Members of the extreme whites are antsy. Trump is in the middle fanning the flames, not literally but through his surrogates and his personal weapon, #Tweets. 

The indiscipline of his message pours from every tweet he creates and like a person suffering from nepotism, makes him easily read. A nepotist judges the world through his eyes so preparing for the match was already a done deal from his perspective as you cannot make anyone, like him, even greater than himself.

He just needs to go over what HE wants to talk about and it will be just fine. He would as usual, set the tone and structure the pace of the debate as he had already done numerous times during the GOP primaries. It worked for him then, it must do so again.

Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make. — Donald Trump.

His experiences taught him nothing and it abandoned him on the night of September 26.. 

On this day September 26, 1777 the Secretary of US Navy authorizes the enlistment of slaves and the history of this enlistment highlighted the racist cause of the Blacks fighting for a country that did not see them as equals. Some 300 years later, It is as if Karma aligned itself with Donald Trump suffering a similar fate when he used similar tactics to embarrass the first black President of the United States to show his birth certificate to a country that was divided on whether he was truly American. 

Hillary had hoped the opportunity would come up for her to use his racist birtherism movement against him, forcing him to come to terms with it before an estimated TV audience close to 80 million. 

Trump did not see it worthy to apologize to the President, of course no true narcissist does that, and neither was it of importance to him, except for political reasons, to end the self propagated rumor that caused this national rift. 

But there was a national pain with this birtherism and the wound was deep. Hillary threw the apple to him.

He ate the bait and it poisoned him. 

Pressed on this by the moderator he made a right swing veering to talk about crime in the inner cities, further admonishing a different sect of African Americans whose circumstances are surely marginalized.

What Trump failed to see was that a part of this marginalization is the effect of Systematic racism on their communities. His politics to remedy this crime and violence is to implement further Systematic racism – #StopAndFrisk.   

– “We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African American, Hispanics, are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot,”. Trump Sept.26 Presidential Debate. 

“Stop and Frisk had a tremendous impact on New York City, a very big impact taking the crime down and was stopped by the current mayor..”- Trump Sept. 26 Presidential Debate. 

It had a very very big impact alright in New York City. It is reported that 7 out of every 10 person that were stopped and frisked were people of color and.after a series of judicial gymnastics, the practice was ruled unconstitutional and the new Mayor of New York announced he would overall the policy and make dramatic changes.  

This is fact. This is history. Trump apparently either hates history or ignores facts. 

The bleeding did not stop there. He suffered blows after blows. 

On the payment of taxes, he gloated on paying very little or none at all. “I am a business man” he exclaimed.

On stiffing small business owners out of monies owed to them, he said it was “good business.” 

Hillary was not done as yet. Towards the final 5 minutes Hillary went for the juggler telling the story of Trump treating a beautiful woman, even for Trump’s standards, inhumanely referring to her a Miss Piggy and Housekeeper. She had problems with maintaining her weight as the reigning Miss Universe at the time and she was humiliated by Trump because according to him, quote, ” she ate like a pig”. 

“Trump may not remember me but I remember him all the time. He treated me like trash.” – Alicia Machado.
Hit with his attitude on women, he delivered an uppercut and killed any hope of winning any change of heart from women who were still convertible. He was so defenseless he asked the name of the woman Hillary was referring to and she let him have it-

“Her name is Alica Machado and she became a US citizen and you bet she is voting no in this election”. -Hillary Clinton September 25, Presidential Debate 

It was like the scene from Gladiator when, Caesar came I,to the arena to enquire who was this gladiator who was so successful. When he realized it was the man he ordered killed, he was traumatized.

Trump was traumatized. The ghost of Alica came back to haunt him.

There are three famous last words and after that blow from Clinton we can use them to sum up the night of September 25 in New York.

It is Finished.

The disappointing thing to many was his total unpreparedness. To others it was no surprise. Trump had evolved into an egomaniac and at 70 years old a leopard never changes his spots. 

Billed as an “outsider” but who was in fact an insider caressing the barbarians at the gate, Trump’s attempt to challenge the institution failed by his careless banter and incoherency. As he attempted to raise the temperature of the room by his alpha chauvinism, he seemed crass, rude and rebellious.

He fumed. He sniffed through his nostrils like a person on coke. He just melted away.

There was no question most of the audience wanted him to succeed in challenging the System and The Establishment that for so long no one dared to challenge, but he failed miserably. 

He was like a man walking through the thick bushes of power, armed with the sword of reform in his right hand, the spear of change in his left hand but was blinded by the dirty cloth of Ego. 

Trump was blind. He preaches Law and Order but he forgets that you also need Justice as well because you cannot achieve one without the other. 

He has to learn that. 

But can someone who is set in his ways able to change and achieve nirvana? Can he accept the simple truth that through humility all is given? We have to wait and see in the next two rounds. 

Trump once said ” sometimes in losing a battle you have to find new ways of winning the war”.  

There are 2 more battles. 

The table is set. 

The men are in place. 

It’s your move Mr. Trump. 

Copyright 2016.(c) Kwesi. All Rights Reserved. 


A sudden death in a family is shocking. There is a moment of silence, utter disbelief and total confusion in ciphering the details of what just happened. 

Parents, team mates and friends are in the twilight zone.  

Puzzling minds are screaming , NO! NO.!

Emotions burst open initiating an overflow of fear, anger and disbelief. 

The mood is heavy. This was my brother. 

The news of the death of young Dominic James tore at the heart string of every Jamaican .Death , even for young people, is not unusual in Jamaica. The island struggles with levels of crime that can only compete with large urban cities like Chicago in the US. 

But this was not death by a bullet. This death drew us even closer to our own mortality, reminding us that death comes unannounced and is swift. 

Dominic died from an apparent SCD , Sudden Cardiac Death syndrome, and everyone who saw the incident and those who hadn’t , is in shock and disbelief as they all temporarily died suddenly with him.

For many it was facing a brutal truth. Dominic had just faced his.

People do sports because they feel good. Drive around the island and you will see every open lot engaged by Jamaicans kicking a football. Doing sports in Jamaica whether it’s track, football , swimming, basketball or even netball is for most fun, occupational therapy, adrenalin flowing and most importantly simultaneously meeting their required exercise requirements. 

When registering to an expensive gym is not financially feasible, play a sport. Our little nation has made international headway in Sports, creating many “firsts”, movies made because of our firsts; our involvement in the World Cup was another first that coined the name “Reggae Boys” . Our Bolt led track team has changed international discussion on the perception of Jamaica , referring to it as a “Sprint Factory”. 

Umm here’s a tip to the Jamaican government, Trademark the term “Sprint Factory”. 

Bit I digress .

And there are many, many more “Firsts”. Yes we have entered the sporting arena with a bang challenging the big boys at there own game. Exceptional. 

So it is easy to see why sports in a nation like ours is so important to the country’s national development. But I dare ask is Sports a national importance to Jamaica and if it is so, what is the national policy that drives what we do in Sports as it relates to the overall objective of development, inclusion of genders, representation, community development, social integration, economic derivatives, job opportunity, educational resources and the implementation of Sports as a national industry?

I began my quest to answer these questions by researching the relevant Ministry responsible for Sports. The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports website is the obvious place to start. It’s a website, a virtual Ministry where geeks like me can go and get answers without enduring the treacherous wait of unanswered calls from lazy or otherwise too busy public servants.

I found nothing. 

There were many policies pertaining to youth and culture . Nothing about Sports. Doubt my honesty? Go to the site yourself and please correct me if I am wrong . 

On the site there is the usual Vision and Mission- 

The Vision:- To be a vibrant and dynamic organization, excelling in service delivery, realizing the full potential of Youth and Culture in nation building.

The Mission: – The Ministry of Youth and Culture is mandated to lead social transformation and enhance social well-being through programmes, services and activities geared towards youth development as well as contribute to economic growth and advancement through the development of the cultural industry by generally pursuing policies and programmes which help to boost Brand Jamaica.

To me the Vision and Mission do not reflect the Objective in total of this Ministry which is the office and oversight for Culture, Gender, Entertainment AND SPORTS. I guess they are probably in the process of updating the site by writing these policies, if at all.

My point however is if there is no professional direction from the Top, how can we expect any professional execution from the bottom? 

Let us leave the government for a minute while they get their act together and move to the private sector and the various Sports authorities in Jamaica. 


In November 2014 in an article in the Jamaica Observer, written by one Professor Ernest Madu entitled “Don’t Let Our Athletes Die Young “, gave a definitive understanding of SCD in young athletes and stated that this unusual medical occurrence is not foreign to Jamaica. It also drew references to best practices and data from other countries and ways of providing some direction for treatment. The article also announced this ground breaking policy at the time:

  • On April 16, 2014, the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) and Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) signed a four-year agreement that would see HIC donating $10 million in free cardiovascular screening to JAAA athletes from 2014 to 2018. This agreement came on the heels of the sudden death of St Jago High student Cavahn McKenzie in Trinidad and Tobago. Cavahn collapsed and died after completing a 6K race on February 22, 2014 while representing Jamaica in the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Cross-Country Championships in Tobago. On July 29, 2014, the Jamaica Observer reported the sudden death of another young man, a Jamaica College (JC) footballer who collapsed and died in the bleachers of the sports complex at the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) grounds. Apparently, the student was among a group of JC Manning Cup players resting in the bleachers after a road run minutes earlier.

In the context of Jamaica getting this professional service to its young athletes, this was BIG NEWS. To borrow a phrase from the American election cycle, this was HUUGE.

For me it was probably one of the first time my country was thinking like a ” first world ” country. Recognizing there is a problem, a policy was established and delivered by intelligent minds using data, not Jamaica’s data of which there is none, and concluded that student athletes must undergo regular tests and not your friendly neighborhood Doctor stethoscope test, but professional tests run by cardio vascular trained personnel.

But this was a J.A.A.A initiative and I give them full marks. The article went on to recommend and invite all sporting bodies to join this break through important service necessary for the sustainability of sports in Jamaica. 

The question now to be asked is did I.S.S.A jump on board at this invitation? 

In January 2015 there was an article announcing another earth moving initiative for student athletes in Jamaica for cardiac care of which it would appear that ISSA was involved.

The headlines read:

Student athletes of St Jago High School, Vere Technical, St Andrew Technical High School and GC Foster College are to benefit from a cardiac screening initiative called the One Love, One Heart Program.

Quoting from the article it said : ” the athletes from the mentioned schools were scheduled for screenings and workshops from January 19-21 to be taken at the time at Knustford Court Hotel in Kingston.”

That was last year. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions from that news. How extensive was the test, were other schools to be involved at a later date , how many students were tested, how many true positive or false positive results, any data to be shared and knowing what we know from this test what analysis can we give to the government to aid in a national debate of lifestyles and its effect on Sports in Jamaica?

All this not known or apparently not even published on anyone’s website, data apparently means nothing to some entities in Jamaica. 


I was not satisfied and said to myself there has to be a Sports policy in Jamaica. A relatively simple Google search pulled up a “White Paper” from the Prime Ministers Office , Portia Simpson at the time, outlining the National Sports Policy of Jamaica and sure enough is was a lengthy 48 page piece of beautifully crafted work on Sports and the way forward. This was dated March 2013. 

It’s impressive. You should all read it, honestly. 

I looked through the paper for policies regarding health and wellness of athletes and found this statement :

 “The Government will also pursue the establishment and maintenance of a state of the art facility which will provide a comprehensive set of medical , diagnostic, therapeutic and general wellness for all national athletes.”



There’s Good Deeds and then there’s Good Intensions . And they are as far apart as Heaven and Hell. – Ben Harper.

This impressive document is loaded with every good intention but like most government “white papers’ , it outlines no practical way of implementing the State of the Art facility. Frankly the policy was a 49 page goal and objectives that was brilliantly written. Not sure if relevant stakeholders read the document and acted on said paper.

Is this a living document , one that acts as the bible of sorts for national development in sports or is this just another “White Paper” that finds a home in a beautiful folder and placed in a locked filing cabinet somewhere in the PM’s office? And when do you think this paper will reach the associated Ministry’s office and website?

Putting the pieces together of what we have gleaned so far we can see there is a national policy; an awareness of the problem of SCD; solutions to remedy the problem; no data established for further study of SCD; the exclusion of a number of schools and athletes for testing that I can only assume a reason of funding and accessibility and finally the apparent body ,The National Sports Council, whose role is to implement the National policy at every level, is seemingly ineffective.  

Now let’s look at the facts.

1. Dominic collapsed on the football field .

2. It was reported doctors were present but had no medical assets 

3. There was no stretcher available at the event 

4. Ambulance was a no show

4. It was reported Dominic was taken to the hospital by his father driving his own car

These all point to one thing- the lack of preparedness and total unprofessionalism. 

Regardless of young Dominic having what would seem to be SCD, he did not have a fighting chance because organizers, corporate sponsor Flow, coaches, auxiliary staff, indeed everybody seemed to be busy enjoying the entertainment value of the game, hoping that as usual , We Gonna Be Alright, and very little evidence or concerns paid to the the changing dynamics any event can serve at any time.

And so we REACT. 

1.Stretchers are reportedly sold out. Every man jack is suddenly getting their act in order:

2.An ambulance is magically organized to be present at the next football match. WOW, what a joy when we actually DO something instead of “pursuing” it: 

3.Every school is now initiating policies regarding school boy events. Hm, so somebody remembers there are standards to be met when you have a public gathering that you ensure available medical services close by or on site, clearly marked exit routes, clean air, a sustainable environment and security to ensure the safety of every man Jack present. You see Any person attending the event could have suffered the same fate as Dominic. 

But I guess that’s not important in Jamaican culture. Public safety? What safety?

Yes Jamaica I guess the possibility of some crazed lunatic would never think of placing a bomb at any public event because this is Jamaica and it’s all One Love in this country. 

Really? Keep thinking that way. Keep sleeping. It’s only a matter of time before the Caribbean gets involved in this crazy happy hour of mass bombings. 

Pay attention Jamaica. Pay attention. 


The sleeping government has jumped into their reactionary position and is reportedly trying to find that White Paper policy locked in some vault and you guess, form a Committee, to begin to read and actually DO something about the plans they made but never go around to those plans because actually they were only PLANS!

Nothing serious. Just…….PLANS. 

To Pursue. Not DO!

Minister Ruel Reid said the ministry is “interested” in finding out whether there were any breaches of safety guidelines for students involved in contact sports.  



There you go ladies and gents. It’s no longer pursue . It’s interested.

On the question of whether or not any “safety guidelines” were breached that is the million dollar question for this Committee, isn’t it?

Well how about this fact Mr Minister…

Somebody DIED.! 

There were no known or seen medical service available.

Is Death good enough for you Mr. Minister for an erosion of “safety guidelines”?

Folks, I am sick and tired of getting sick and tired of Jamaica being reactive and not proactive. It is one of our biggest flaws as a country. We sit and wait on things to happen knowing only too well that sloppiness IN will always let sloppiness OUT.

Here’s the real truth Jamaica.

We  let Dominic down.  

We wallow in this excuse of no funds and we hope that everything will be just fine, no incidents, everybody having a good time and we all go home, scotch free.

That’s how amateurs think. 

Professionals know and DO better. 

They cover all bases.

We cannot continue to adore and emulate Sports in Jamaica and give it Lip service at both amateur and professional levels. Jamaica needs to stop thinking Third World and start thinking with intelligence? 

We cannot have our cake and eat it. If we want to be in the Big Game then we have to be prepared to have the Big Attitude to do it right. Every time. All the time. 

The difference between Third World and First World is not size, its not necessarily even money. Its simply professionalism, doing things Right, All the time . It’s that simple.

To some, Professionalism can be slow , it might lack appeal, it may even be downright boring.

But professionalism is Everything.

And Everything is theoretically and financially impossible, until it’s Done
All Rights Reserved. 2016. Kwesi. 


I read with interest the recent Jamaica Gleaner story of local entertainers hustling for a piece of the entertainment dollars in the industry, Sunday September 11,2016. This issue is like whales coming up for air, blowing through their blowpipes and then submerging again on their way to their annual migration. 

If you can use this issue to understand the personality of most Jamaicans, this is a classic one. To borrow a colloquial expression, “they cant bodder”. 
 Jamaicans are never good at fighting for anything without being led. Look at the issues we readily fight for: LGBT issues, LGBT issues and oh yes LGBT issues headed by pastors and you get the picture of where the passion lies. It has nothing to do with their own economic benefit and livelihood and more to do with their false sense of morality. It’s a plantation syndrome that sadly some in the country are only too happy to reman, feeling ‘secured.’ But I digress.

This issue needs a leader to organize and demonstrate to the entertainers that their talent is, like most things in Jamaica, being outsourced to foreign entities. The careless and shameless comment by the so called entertainment director quoted in the story, is to be expected as most of these ‘directors’ are really not Jamaicans and so have no ‘navel string’ tied to this country that is feeding them.
The issue is this. Deliberately and precisely , the hotels have been seeking foreign entertainment to replace the burgeoning cost of local entertainers that have been experiencing diminishing returns. 
Yes the local talent has some part in the blame game. For years they have assumed the position of the lazy creator; if it is not broken, don’t fix it. Talent with no innovation is like a paper weight, it just there, occupying space, accomplishing nothing except dead weight. 
The economic realities hotels faced with years of this artistic deficiency was needless to say economically senseless. Their entertainment dollars did not meet or exceed guests satisfaction or perception.
Enter the Dragon that lies just 90 miles from the coast of Negril. The Spanish culture itself is dynamically colorful and sensuous, integrating the rhythmic music that compels them to dance and express a culture that is not seen in Jamaica nor its millions of guests. 
It is this perception of offering a more glitzy, professionally staged and a music that is globally liked and marketed particularly with the help of the pop influence of international Latin artiste, that the Latin option was introduced and now seems to be successfully accepted and appreciated by the consumer it was intended to entertain , the guests. 
No one, including Entertainment directors or General Managers can or should use the common argument of similarity when addressing the issue of perception using Latin over Jamaican culture. They are not the same. Our cultures are different as paella is to Ackee & Salt fish. 
Perception is reality and when the producers of entertainment insidiously feed their guests with an overdose of Latin glitz accompanied with a side dish of pop, salsa and a sprinkling of some Jamaican rhythm, the guests are led to believe by this cultural indoctrination , that this type of Entertainment in Jamaica is the new Black. 
No sir. Salsa is NOT the new black. It is a false narrative as much as saying Jamaicans are just like Cubans. Birthed from a State run entity, Cuban entertainment and entertainers enjoy privileges Jamaican entertainers have never enjoyed from their own government. That is not blaming anyone, it is what it is. 
The cost of producing a similar conference of performance for a Jamaican group is comparatively higher than the Cubans. Their price point will be comparatively higher, so it’s good business for the Hotels to hire the Cubans. It’s the dollars and cents of the business that few entertainers find it hard to swallow. 
How do we resolve this ? A good place to start is for the Jamaican government to have a serious look at its Entertainment portfolio and for the first time organize the sector into economic productivity and their social and cultural relevance, and with specific attention to the sector’s continued development towards professionalism. 
With all the hoopla of Jamaican entertainment , most are still far from a professional entity and that is what is bothersome in Jamaica, the professionalism of everything. That in itself is another discourse but the problem starts at this intersection , professionalism is nothing in Jamaica. 
The local entertainers are slipping away from the doors of employment and they have no leader. The hotels are maximizing their entertainment dollars and they are happily experiencing the benefits of economies of scale.. It’s not cheap entertainment that is replacing the Jamaicans. It’s professional entertainment. Until Jamaica get professional in every aspect of the sector, we will continue to see the drip, drip of our culture and yes Latin will be the new Jamaica.

All Rights Reserved. (C) 2016. Kwesi 


I like controversies, a good juicy controversy. That’s when you can see and hear the most extreme differences from every voice  from every crevice they emerge from.  Controversies always  begin when one person or many , go on the mountain top and shout a story they either heard or read   and without much facts, the different faces of the story appear. The faces that appear begin the chatter and idle chatter becomes fodder, fodder becomes  conspiracies and sooner or later the conspiracies become the truth.  

Conspiracies always have a receptive audience. 

The Colin Kaepernick’s story is one such scandal. As the  story goes,  Kaepernick has been sitting all along , not standing , when the US national anthem is being played. For days he did that until one reporter casually asked him why? That’s when all hell broke loose. He told the reporter his truth. 

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” – Kaepernick
To say this story had the effect  like the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima is  putting it lightly. Every possible theorists  had something to say, scurrying for more ammunition to further advance their hate.  From outright calling him a radicalized Muslim to a communist traitor,  once the golden boy of the 49ers football club , Kaepernick  was now the most hated person in America. 

The noises were loud and often loud noises drown out the truth. And then suddenly in comes Jim Wright, quietly and succinctly making his point on his discovery of Kapernick’s truth. And there lies the meat of the problem. 

Discovering the truth.

Kapernick’s story erupted all the vile and viscous emotions of those that read or possibly heard the story and few attempted to discover the truth behind the story .Jim discovered the truth and it is this truth I am so proud to repost on my blog. 

Read the truth and hopefully you will understand Kapernick’s story. 

Kwesi Copyright (C) 2016. All Rights Reserved


I’ve been away from the internet all day. 

I came home from a family picnic on the Blackwater River to find my inbox, as usual, overflowing like a ripe Port-O-Pottie. 
One of the first messages I read was about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, quoted above, who last Friday night at the beginning of a preseason game suddenly decided to become the most hated man in America du jour by deliberately not standing for the National Anthem. 

Yes, that’s right, a football player didn’t stand for the National Anthem. 

As you know, this means Kaepernick is scum, a horrible human being, a likely member of ISIS, a Muslim terrorist, a black thug, a communist, a socialist (and not the cool share your weed Bernie Sanders kind of socialist but the Red Brigade kind of Socialist who sleeps under a poster of Chairman Mao), a radical, a Black Panther, and he probably has Fidel Castro’s phone number in his contact favorites. 

Yeah. Okay. 

I answered the message and went on to the next one. 

The next message was about Kaepernick. As was the next one. And the next one. And…
They all begin pretty much the same way: Jim, AS A VETERAN, what do you think about this? Well? 
Let me answer all the messages at once

AS A VETERAN, what do I think about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the National Anthem? 
As a veteran? 
Very well, as a veteran then, this is what I believe: 
The very first thing I learned in the military is this: Respect is a two-way street. If you want respect, true respect, sincere respect, then you have to GIVE IT. 
If you want respect, you have to do the things necessary to earn it each and every single day. There are no short cuts and no exceptions.  
Respect cannot be compelled. 
Respect cannot be bought. 
Respect cannot be inherited. 
Respect cannot be demanded at the muzzle of a gun or by beating it into somebody or by shaming them into it. Can not. You might get what you think is respect, but it’s not. It’s only the appearance of respect. It’s fear, it’s groveling, it’s not respect. Far, far too many people both in and out of the military, people who should emphatically know better, do not understand this simple fact: there is an enormous difference between fear and respect. 
Respect has to be earned. 

Respect. Has. To. Be. Earned. 

Respect has to be earned every day, by every word, by every action. 
It takes a lifetime of words and deeds to earn respect. 
It takes only one careless word, one thoughtless action, to lose it. 
You have to be worthy of respect. You have to live up to, or at least do your best to live up to, those high ideals — the ones America supposedly embodies, that shining city on the hill, that exceptional nation we talk about, yes, that one. To earn respect you have to be fair. You have to have courage. You must embrace reason. You have to know when to hold the line and when to compromise. You have to take responsibility and hold yourself accountable. You have to keep your word. You have to give respect, true respect, to get it back. 

There are no short cuts. None. 
Now, any veteran worth the label should know that. If they don’t, then likely they weren’t much of a soldier to begin with and you can tell them I said so. 
IF Kaepernick doesn’t feel his country respects him enough for him to respect it in return, well, then you can’t MAKE him respect it. 
You can not make him respect it. 
If you try to force a man to respect you, you’ll only make him respect you less. 
With threats, by violence, by shame, you can maybe compel Kaepernick to stand up and put his hand over his heart and force him to be quiet. You might. 
But that’s not respect. 
It’s only the illusion of respect. 

You might force this man into the illusion of respect. You might. Would you be satisfied then? Would that make you happy? Would that make you respect your nation, the one which forced a man into the illusion of respect, a nation of little clockwork patriots all pretending satisfaction and respect? Is that what you want? If THAT’s what matters to you, the illusion of respect, then you’re not talking about freedom or liberty. You’re not talking about the United States of America. Instead you’re talking about every dictatorship from the Nazis to North Korea where people are lined up and MADE to salute with the muzzle of a gun pressed to the back of their necks. 

That, that illusion of respect, is not why I wore a uniform. 
That’s not why I held up my right hand and swore the oath and put my life on the line for my country. 
That, that illusion of respect, is not why I am a veteran. 
Not so a man should be forced to show respect he doesn’t feel. 
That’s called slavery and I have no respect for that at all. 
If Americans want this man to respect America, then first they must respect him. 
If America wants the world’s respect, it must be worthy of respect. 

America must be worthy of respect. Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, unarmed black men shot down in the street every day, poverty, inequality, voter suppression, racism, bigotry in every form, obstructionism, blind patriotism, NONE of those things are worthy of respect from anybody — least of all an American. 

But doesn’t it also mean that if Kaepernick wants respect, he must give it first? Give it to America? Be worthy of respect himself? Stand up, shut up, and put his hand over his heart before Old Glory? 

No. It doesn’t. 
Respect doesn’t work that way. 

Power flows from positive to negative. Electricity flows from greater potential to lesser. 

The United States isn’t a person, it’s a vast construct, a framework of law and order and civilization designed to protect the weak from the ruthless and after more than two centuries of revision and refinement it exists to provide in equal measure for all of us the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The United States is POWER. 

All the power rests with America. Just as it does in the military chain of command. And like that chain of command, like the electrical circuit described above, respect must flow from greater to lesser FIRST before it can return. 

To you the National Anthem means one thing, to Kaepernick it means something else. We are all shaped and defined by our experiences and we see the world through our own eyes. That’s freedom. That’s liberty. The right to believe differently. 

The right to protest as you will. The right to demand better. The right to believe your country can BE better, that it can live up to its sacred ideals, and the right to loudly note that it has NOT. The right to use your voice, your actions, to bring attention to the things you believe in. The right to want more for others, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and RESPECT. 

A true veteran might not agree with Colin Kaepernick, but a true veteran would fight to the death to protect his right to say what he believes. 

You don’t like what Kaepernick has to say? Then prove him wrong, BE the nation he can respect. 

It’s really just that simple.

(C) 2016. Jim Wright. All Rights Reserved.

This was originally posted on Jim Wright’s Facebook page and reposted here .You can see more of Jim’s prolific writing on his blog I am happy I read the post. I just found a writer I can read and be throughly amused, entertained and informed. 


I have tried to refrain from commenting on the salacious news flying like a meteorite on social network regarding The Big Man in Rio , not on his latest accomplishments mind you, rather his bedroom and party antics on his birthday. 

A social liberal like myself found it personally disgusting to even read what I call this social gossip as it was, and still is, no concern of mine. But looking at the entire picture, especially as it seems the story is still taking flames, I had to give the Big Man my 1 cent worth of advise as this brain of mine keep seeing visions of history repeating itself. 

A wise man, Abraham Lincoln said this on publicity…..“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself“. I am going to speak as clearly as possible to Usain and for those who are also consciously or unconsciously living in a similar spotlight. 

Usain, by your own words you have always maintained you have one goal to accomplish and that was to prove to yourself that you are the greatest in the sport of track and field. Many people will not remember and neither many will forget, when you , a youth champion, was placed in the jaw bone of competition in 2004 at the age of 18, Athens Greece and you placed a disappointing last, not even making it to the second round. We commiserated with you and with faith looked ahead to the next Olympics. It was there that the world began to pay attention. 

Your success skyrocketed to enormous fame and with fame comes wealth. Rio was the stage the world was waiting to see a God amongst men manifested and It was at that point you single handedly became a living legend in the eyes of your county men and the world. 

No one has ever made being successful so achievable than you and immediately the hashtag of #BeingLikeBolt was the only motivating theme for every athlete of all genre in Jamaica. You became a national treasure.

With fame comes enormous responsibility and Usain as we say in Jamaica the horse gone through the gate , brother you have no choice in this. You are who you are. Usain , know this buddy. For every birthday a man celebrates , it is not to only drink and party all night with wild abandonment, it is also for him to celebrate the REASON he was born and WHY he was born. 

At 30 you know the reason and you know the why. So Usain, guess what, you are different. You are not like the common man and the faster you realize that what you do is now everybody’s motivation , the quicker you will realize why this latest social media hype can be a cost in the long run that you will regret. 

You are young and a wealthy man but don’t ever think that the hand that put you on a pedestal cannot break you down. How many times have we seen this happen to athletes like yourself? You are 30 years wiser. Use it. Enjoy yourself to the max, but do not give more than what you want them to see. Be careful of how you use that light that shines on you every second of the day. 

With every thing comes a price and guess what buddy, being a legend has its price. If you are not prepared to pay it, then watch your legacy fade away. Usain don’t listen to the so called “blood brothers ” who will jump and shout ” mek them gwan and mine dem bloodc**t business”. Guess what , they did not create your legacy and they have not nor will they walk the path you took to create your legacy.

You want to see your blood brothers fly? Look around for them when you really need their support. It never fails Usain, friends are like flies. They are always there when the food is plenty. When food done, friends done. 

Do not compromise your legacy Usain. If you keep searching for Adventure, it is ridiculously easy to find but weigh the cost Usain, as you will have to pay for the ride.. Do not get over exposed. Stay humble even when you are partying. You are not like any other man. Know that , accept that and live your life accordingly. 

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.  John Wooden

(C) 2016. Kwesi.  All Rights Reserved. 


The stadium is now cleared of spectators. Volunteers and stadium staff are earnestly preparing to strike the big set. Some are tired, others are sitting restlessly trying to catch a breath after the amazing show.
Rehearsals have been done over and over again, starting over a year ago. The glitches, the demotivated that did not attend rehearsals and the numerous calls to do it “once again” all are now indelible memories of the journey getting to where the team wanted to be. It was, in fact, the best part of the Olympics, the preparation. 
It would not have been a true Brazil Olympics without the brand Brazil is known for, Carnival. The opening ceremonies did its due homage to the birth of this great country, but the closing was authentic Brazil and the performances were all testament to this gospel. 

The show could be easily placed next to the other best in show, China, as the most memorable. The one thing Brazil wanted the world to take aŵay is this – problems there are but the land is green, the sun continues to shine and the people know how to throw a party. Brazil pulled off sports largest party, the 31st Olympiad. 

Months, weeks even days before the opening the media spun its web of doubt. Infested water, a mosquito named Zika and of course the unloved cousin named crime, were reported to threaten the lives of those planning to attend. Few athletes took the bait and refused to attend. Countries brought additional luggage purely packed with repellents and water, enough to give every team member and every family in the favela, packets to last a month. 

Brazil was in fact dusted by the world media as the country plagued by pestilence and if you go, you do so on your own peril. Brazil was humiliated even before the first plane landed with their guests. The political strife did not help either as their President was facing a political earthquake she is hoping to survive. 

The process to creating this ubiquitous event of glitz and glamour was bumpy. In cases where the State needed land it was the residents of the favela that paid the price. A country daunted by millions of its people living below an already low poverty line, basic services seemed to be curtailed in favor of satisfying the wealthy sponsors and the many affluent citizens of Rio. Choices made were not equitable and people of the favela excercised the only power they have, the power to protest. 

It sent a message loud and clear as delays and sabotage prevented time schedules of spaces for the Olympics to be completed on time. Brazil pressed on, facing their realities and a deadline as the World was coming. A visibly shaking President of the Organizing Committee Carlos Nuzman was a happy man. In his closing speech, he declared the games would be one the people of Brazil can look back and be proud of for generations to come.
In a way, I think he is correct. The games did not lack any excitement or drama. There were many highs and as expected many lows. There were 27 World records and 90 Olympic records at the Rio 2016 games. 
The outstanding athletes Phelps of the US, Farah of the UK and Bolt of Jamaica were the stars of the games. There were other memorable moments as well too numerous to mention but for Brazil the sweet moment was the revenge victory over rival Germany for the gold medal in the beloved sport Soccer. Karma was so sweet an ale on the lips of the Brazilians. 

The lows were as low as they could go and the three that will be etched in the history of Rio2016 Games were the public refusal of the Israeli athlete to shake the hand of his Palestinian competitor and the blond athlete from the US that claimed he and fellow athletes were robbed at gun point when upon investigating the incident , was determined to be false, very false.

The other low point was the visible empty seats in the massive 70,000 seat Olympic stadium except for when Bolt was attending and the 80,000 Maracana stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies were held. No director wants to see empty seats. It says a lot about the planning of the event. If I were the director, I would have filled those seats with the people next door the Maracana. The favelas had thousands of people standing above their shanty roof top houses, that would have given an arm even a leg to be in the stadium. I think the organizers and the government lost an opportunity there. 

Every event has its drama and the event ghosts are always around determined to distract and displace every possible decision taken. Brazil faced their truth and stood back up on their feet 1 million times as much as they were knocked down 1 million times. For this Brazil can be proud. Nothing is more satisfying than to do something that your haters say you cannot.

I think Brazil had the last laugh. They can laugh at the doubters and be assured that the City of Rio has been tested and passed every test imaginable. The final test for Rio and Brazil is the test of conversion and innovation of the many facilities to serve its people. 
This will be its hardest challenge. I hope they face it with the same resolve as they did to open the games. Fairy tales they are but the land is green, the sun shines and the people not only can throw a party, they now have facilities that will move their people and country from being a great Brazil to an even greater Brazil. 
(C) 2016. Kwesi. All Rights Reserved. 


A funny thing happened on they way from a party in Brazil. Three high profiled swimmers, by US standards anyway. were reportedly ambushed and robbed at gun point. This bombshell was dropped mid way through the staging of Brazil’s biggest party, the Olympics.

As you can imagine, no country, not even the US, would want such negative headlines in bold print splattered across every major news media around the world. Negative publicity means negative impressions of the country, regardless of the efforts thousands are doing to make the games a success. It was no surprise the authorities took these reports seriously and investigated post haste. 
The findings as you would have heard by now unless you are living under a rock, were conflicting, and Brazil exercised its rights to summon the ” victimized” as the Americans referred to themselves, to answer these conflicting questions. 
The proceeding events that happened could not have been written for a reality show. The parts were moving violently and what has been to date, an Olympic Games of highs and lows, surprises and excitement , the story became the focus and the games became that other story. 
It was depressing and the lines were drawn on both sides. From outright condemnation to acceptance of the behavior, the story never went away. Neither did Lochte. 
Waiting until his “brothers in arms” returned to the US, Lochte said he had “suffered enough” to come forward to discuss “the mess” he says he is in. In a classic “let me hold your hand gently ” interview, NBC’s Matt Lauer attempted to “ruffle Lochte’s feathers. It was an attempt for Lauer to come across as the ‘tough interviewer’. 
Millions like myself did not buy it. Lauer was more intent on saving face as social media was on fire. The dye had been cast. It was another classic example of what white privilege looks like in the comfort of your home. and the media, through its agent was upholding and reminding you of this unwritten standard of the way things are in good ole US of A. 
A friend wrote his response. I thought I would share it for you to read and draw your own conclusions.
Kwesi (c) 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger and James Feigen all thought they were in a third world country, and as such, their bigotry and newly-acquired gold accessories warranted them vandalising a hard-working family’s service station by urinating on the walls and trashing the place – – and then running to the USA media with claims of being robbed at gunpoint (as is “expected” in Brazil).

The Brazilian judge (in his quick wisdom) smelled a rat and sent for the rodents on the aircraft bound for the United States . As it played our, apologies were offered, the stories recanted and monies were paid (all of this as the world watches). 
All across America white privilege apologist in the people of Billy Bush et. al. seek to offer excuses for a 32 year grown ass man and his punk team members who cite “youth” and “immaturity”. Where were these voices when a young black girl stood on the podium (yes, their teammate) and (in her nervousness) forgets to place hand across her chest at the medaling ceremony? 
 What of the superhuman gymnast of color who (after endless flips) just can’t seem to keep her nappy hair in one direction and is slaughtered within the same circles? …oh how different the cry would be if Felix and her relay peers behaved the same way eeh? 
The cushy reporting from US media would not be afforded them I’m sure! All in all, America has a long way to go. The shackles are transferred from black ankles and is seemingly evidenced now in the minds of the once captors.
The incident in Rio only highlights who these thugs are in their heads and certainly it presents the opportunity for pause to thought. Ryan, Jack and James are damn lucky they weren’t black men behaving in the same fashion in their homeland – notwithstanding there would be three funerals sometime next week – the men behind their shiny badges would have seen to it!
Good going gold medalist! …Donald Trump would be extraordinarily proud of you! 
H. Pratt (c) 2016.All Rights Reserved.