DONALD, ITS YOUR MOVE


 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”.  

Nice.

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. 

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED

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. 

DONT LET THEM DIE YOUNG 

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. 

NATIONAL SPORTS POLICY FOUND

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.”

Pursue.

Ok.

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 GIANT IS AWAKE

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.  

Interested. 

Ok.

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. 

SALSA IS NOT THE NEW BLACK 


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