THE KING & QUEEN IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE USA.

Jamaica suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday afternoon. Bolt lost the M100m at the #LondonWorldChampionships2017.  It was the anti-climax to the biggest farewell party, over 2 years in the planning, for an athlete that has single handed mesmerized the world with human speed.

The social ripples were far reaching. The economic even worse. Downing strong cues of #Wray&NephewAppletonRum, the nation tried to recover turning their attention to their new sprint queen #ElaineThompson who for sure would save face and restore the shine of the sprint power on the right feet. The King suffered a major set back on the left. We have a Queen. No worries. The name of honour is more important than death.

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Men’s 100m final at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 (Getty Images)

Sunday, August 6. Jamaica’s Independence Day, 55 years old. Jamaica suffered another cardiac arrest. Elaine Thompson fizzled in the W100m final and came 5th, not even earning a medal.  The silence across the nation was deafening. I stood in Montego Bay and felt the silence as far as Kingston.  Exactly 9 years after the coronation of the nation in Beijing as the #sprintfactory,  the King and Queen was now dead. And technically, so did the Jamaican track and field program.

What happened?.

in 2008 after years of US dominance, the atmosphere putrid by swirls of drug incensed clouds in the US camp, Jamaica tipped the balance of power in their favour, led by #Bolt The King, and his cadre of team members and #Shelly-Ann Fraser, the newly crowned queen of track and field. The politics of power in athletics is like the global political game of present players, the US and the others. The US commands enormous political power in athletics. Amidst accusations of nefarious circumstances, their athletes are usually given the benefit of the doubt by their governing US body. And even if found guilty of using substances, deals are broken with the convicted, names are shamed, persons outed, suspensions reduced and voila, the athlete is back on the circuit in lesser time than other athletes of other countries that usually suffer stiffer penalties, including life bans.

Such was the case of the man who beat Bolt at the Championships, #JustinGatlin. His story is chronicled and followers of track and field have openly expressed their displeasure with him, including Bolt. So it was not at all surprising when the stadium. full of some 50,000 persons booed when he was declared the winner of the race. Why HIM? Anyone else would be easier to swallow, but not HIM!

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Justin Gatlin of the USA reacts after winning the men’s 100m final at the London 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, Britain, 05 August 2017. (Getty Images)

Fresh wounds were open. The cheat won. The bastard of Athletics beats the boy wonder. A Russian journalist intimated in her question later at the presser with Bolt and Gatlin and Bolt surprisingly defended Gatlin. If you were watching this warm and fuzzy BBF moment between the two, you would have wondered when since these two were such close buddies?

In the geopolitical arena, Russia is no friend of the US. In the politics of athletics, the US is no friend of Jamaica. Can we say nice things to each other? Yes, we can. But Bolt was attempting to cross that sensitive line and incorrectly thought the journalist was casting doubt on his performances. Bolt should have known better. Each man should have spoken for himself when that ugly topic was raised. Gatlin basked in Bolt’s answer clearly happy that he didn’t have to relive and retry that case of his drug conviction and suspension.

Bolt did not do himself any favours then as he didn’t do any earlier on the track. For the first time in his long and storied career, Bolt was embarrassed. Genuinely embarrassed. His personal motto is ‘Anything is possible. I don’t think limits“. As a pro, he knows that possibilities are erased to certainty when hard work is put in the mix.

Bolt did not put in the hard work and it showed. Hard work was not mixed with need. Bolt did not ‘need’ this anymore. His lust for athletics died in Rio and through agonising pressure, he went on his final preparation but it was without energy, drive or feelings. His friend died as well, not having heard about it but was physically there when it happened. Bolt was mentally out of it. Bolt was not hungry but the champion that he is, performing with confidence is not his weakness. And so he appeared in London with his panache,  knowing he had no clothes.

Bolt was half the man he was in 2008. Quarter the man he was in 2012 and not himself in 2017. #ElaineThompson, however, is still a shocker. Only she knows the answers and we hope her coach and her will have a come to Jesus moment in the next few days. Her sponsors certainly will. Losing is one thing for the country. It’s a totally different thing for a sponsor. Like any job, athletics has its stresses.

Athletics is a business. Period.

Athletes are paid to run and to be successful.  Elaine lost thousands of dollars for her unexpected loss. Her coach will certainly have an answer but you can expect sponsors will be watching Frano’s camp closely as well as the Mills camp. Money goes where champions are bred.

Behind the glamour and spectacle lies a business and at this #WorldChampionships Jamaica has damaged itself. By not meeting their own standards The US has gladly taken the reigns once again and can now hang their banner reading  “Sprint King & Queen”. The King is dead.  There is no one to replace him. The Queen is dead. There is no one to replace her.Like a falling star, Jamaica tumbles into the abyss once again waiting for young talent to emerge.  The effects will be devastating but nothing we can’t handle.

Soon, athletes will have to make hard decisions. Coaches too.  The Governing body has to do a post mortem. and rid itself of the politics that strangles common sense decision making. Jamaica Athletics has been sitting on its lofty post for 9 years unaware that the World was coming after them.  The US never stopped hating. Now we have South Africa, Botswana. Kenya. Bahamas. China and even Japan knocking at the gates. We cannot afford to mismanage this opportunity. Our economy is too fragile for carelessness.

This industry is too new for bad management and too fragile for mediocrity. Whenever our athletes put their feet on the world stage it has to be perfect. No errors. No excuses.

Bolt was asked at the presser what was it he is looking forward to when this is over. He replied, “..for me, it is just to live normal. To have no training. To do whatever I want. To travel whenever I want. I don’t know where my career will go or what I will do but I look forward to it and the person that I am I will do it at my best.”

He was confident when he said those words.

If only Jamaica’s athletics was as confident to say otherwise.

© 2017. Kwesi. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

WHO IS A JAMAICAN?

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Yesterday was not the brightest of Thursday’s.
I was on my second day without data or cable from the hapless cable and data provider, Flow.
This has now become a periodic feature from the lowly provider.
Since I returned to the country, January this year, this was my 3rd time experiencing this black out.
Calls to the company are followed by the programmed “we are trying our best” to solve the problem.

“Trying our best.”
I grew up hearing that phrase many times so it is not surprising to see it has now become a part of our culture and the way we do things.
We “try our best ” at everything.
Because that is our valid excuse.
If any reader can say they haven’t heard those 3 favorite words in any service organizations, please send me a comment.

But trust me,
Everyone has.
And hearing those words seem to have a psychotic effect on the receiver as they invariably walk away;
Hopelessly
Helpless!

But I digress. Flow is not the inspiration for this essay.
As I sat listening to everyone’s favorite DJ, Barry G, on Mello FM
I was entertained by his conversation with one caller, who like myself, is a returning resident visiting the country, lamenting the same realities every Jamaican face each day.

Blocked Roads.
Blocked by rubbish, garbage, and clutter.

Barry G sounded surprised but in reality, I personally thought that was his radio performance.
He couldn’t have been surprised because this is a reality in Jamaica.
Blocked roads are part of the landscape for years
You usually see them In performance after a heavy downpour.

Four days earlier I had rented a car and driven to Negril
The Sodom and Gomorrah of any Town planning.
It rained all day and heading back to Montego Bay on the same Wit Horn road
The road was blocked!
Drivers had to do what they have always done;
Drive on the bank of the road to traverse the high waters.
Problem was that the diversion was also mud soaked and with over 100 cars taking this route
A mixture of Rain, Mud and Car tires produce a veritable Mud Bath!.

As you turn West to go over the bridge
As they say in Jamaica,
Riva Cum Dung!.
It was pure entertainment for the residents as the river was ferociously rocking the bridge as it took with it huge tree limbs, huge debris and anything that was moveable because it was a perfect missile.
Crowds stood by.
Water rushing from the nearby hill was now a gushing waterfall, flooding the main road even more. It was chaos.
Impatient Drivers. Floods. Mud. Crowds.
CHAOS.
That was 4 days ago.
Four days later nothing had changed.

Everyone had “tried their best”.
This has been like this for over 10 years!
The problem seems unfixable.

Barry G did not relent however in calling out the new tenants of the local parish council and I was hoping one of his crack producers would have called them to hear their ” try their best” story. Suddenly the producer earned their salary and got the big kahuna, The Mayor.

It is important to note that this municipality of Lucea has had some interesting history with the last Mayor. Under the previous government, the Mayor was allegedly doing more for their pocket than for the parish.

But I digress.

The New Mayor said in as many words that the problem was not their problem. Rather it was another culprit.
The N.W.A.

For my readers not familiar with that acronym, the NWA is the National Works Agency, another listless government agency that defines the word impotent.

Barry G giving this problem a public voice was also spurned on by his wife experiencing this reality. It took her over 45 minutes to reach home and she lives only 5 minutes away under normal circumstances.

But Barry G, even YOU know that
This is nothing New!.
Mediocrity is so widely accepted in Jamaica, it has become a cultural norm. When the Mayor blames the NWA, that was him telling the public he has,
“Tried his best!”

Barry G then exclaimed:
“These people are sick!”.
Maybe that was to provoke his listener’s emotional reaction
But the “these people” he referred to had to include himself.

You see Barry,
“These people”
Are the same people that have allowed their representatives
Year after year,
Government after government
To be unaccountable.
Can “these people” expect anything better
When they know their ’employers’ don’t give a damn?

Most Jamaicans have never accepted the simple fact that
Representative government is just that,
Representative. The government represents them. Not the other way round.
Since our independence Jamaicans experienced politicians after politicians expounding their ideas and vision of the country.
All nice and rosy.
None realistic and progressive.
And this is the principal reason why our little country has not progressed as fast as it should have because our leaders,
At Every level,
Are more Talkers than Doers,
More Takers than Givers,
More “Fi Mi” than “Fi You!”.

Eventually, an official from the NWA came on the program and his version of “trying their best” was typical of a governmental agency prone to doing nothing.
We see problems.
We do not see solutions.

Here were some of his explanations.
*The money is not there.
*The citizens do not dispose of their garbage properly.
*the technical issues are bigger than they think.
*The citizens do this, they do that
And we, you guessed,
‘”Try our best!”

He finished the call with the assurance that he will
“Meet”
With some other low less officer to
“Do something”.
Before the hurricane season!

BEFORE THE HURRICANE SEASON!
That’s it, ladies and gents.
That’s “Trying Our Best” in action.

The four-hour rant by Barry G accomplished only one thing.
Everyone is “Trying their Best”.
Let us move on.
Life goes on.
Drivers will drive on the bank
And I guess his wife, who is only 5 minutes aŵay, will continue to get home late when it rains.

Jamaica is still very much a youth in its development.
There is this disconnect with what type of a nation we can be and the type of nation we seem to be.

That nation-building vision was missing from August 6, 1962.
Looking back, it seemed our politicians only took the keys to the door from the landlord, waved goodbye, closed the door and then asked, “What now!?”

55 years later
Our politicians and leaders are still debating that question.
What now?
There are many answers to that question but amidst all of the cacophony, one of the questions that have to be answered first is
Who are we?

Who is a Jamaican?

If you ask any Jamaican their answer will be laced with nationalistic pride. Most answers will even point to the many exploits of Jamaicans locally and internationally.

Intellectually, physically, mentally and socially Jamaicans have distinctly proven to be just as powerful as any Caucasian in any “first World” country. I use that word pointedly and for a reason. Somehow we seem to want the “Caucasian” hombre to tell us about how to build a nation!

But it has been my surmise that despite our repeated and proven acts of excellence, it does not translate to how we administer, govern and live in our country.
We start, then stop.
We excel, then we falter.
We slowly take our time to do everything. Soon Come!
No sense of urgency.
We celebrate bureaucracy
Laws? What laws?
We are quick to migrate and obey any other country’s laws
We achieve many firsts , then we allow them to fall apart
We create . Then We desecrate.
We create trends, dances, music, then we allow others to manipulate, confiscate and call it their own,
We are blind to injustice and accept public service incompetence
We use to grow what eat. Now we import so much more than we grow.
We produce. Then we create hindrances to production.
We invite tourist to our country, then we harass them away.
We allow our government to give us a 6 for a 9 through blind partyism.
Ŵe create barriers at every level of government and private service, creating a culture of NO!

We are excellent at Talking the Talk
But we do not Walk the Walk.

That, Barry G is the symptom and sign of a “sick people” who are still discovering who they are and want to be.
Irrational.
Indulging in self pain,
Two steps forward. Ten steps backwards .
Suffering from a disease called PISS-
Post Independence Stress Syndrome.

Many may forget when the PM of Singapore visited Jamaica
When that country was trying to “find themselves”.
He learned many things from his trip,
One of which was how NOT to be like a Jamaican.

Not that he did not find the people friendly, beautiful and hard working.
Of course he did.
But i think he also found that as beautiful and talented as we were,
There was no discipline!
Discipline of thought, action and deed.

Jamaicans seemed to have been on an unending Independence Party, each man for himself, everyone pursuing their own goals at the expense of someone else, a lawless people, squandering all the wealth the county had accumulated indigenously, manually, naturally, culturally and scientifically.

They look outwards and not inwards.

That to me is a true Jamaican. He is very successful everywhere else except in his own country. I am convinced Jamaicans are not focused on nation building.
That’s too much work.
In common Jamaican parlance
Jamaica. Is. Yard.
And by that definition, Yard is a common ground where everything is just there. There is no there, there!

The Prime Minister of Singapore took a different route for his people
And his results are there to discuss and compare!

What if.
What if Jamaica had such a leader as Singapore had?
Fearless.
Tough. Some even called him wicked.
Disciplined.
Progressive.
Intuitive.
Results driven and has a plan for his people and country?

Let me stop and dream on this for a minute.
After all, we can all dream, can’t we?

Kwesi
All Rights Reserved.
(C). 2017. May .

BRITAIN HAD THEIR BREXIT, NOW AMERICA IS HAVING THEIRS 


I have been away for a while preparing myself for some final exams I took for a degree. I was silent on my blog but I was very much awake  by the events over the past few months , and none so prominent than the election in the USA. 

What a connnundrum that was.

I distinctly remember the national remorse in the UK after their emotional vote to leave the EU.  The nicotine from the coffee the Brits drink took some 24 hours to take effect.  People were asking what happened as if they took a sedative to go vote.  It was something half of the country regretted and the other half were  understandable euphoric. That event in their history is now etched as an event never to be forgotten. It was a shock event with repercussions.

Months later the US is having the same symptoms  to their event.  What happened is the question asked by 59% of the people. The glamourised talk of the “smooth transition” from Obama to Trump has not been smooth and in 10 days since January 20 the homeland is undergoing a shock event of immense proportions. 

So it was very interesting to see these comments from a noted professor that seems to put some explanation to the symptoms Americans are experiencing. 

I think if you are American you should read this as  hidden within her thoughts is a silver lining. 

Kwesi  

An important message from a historian:

From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:

“I don’t like to talk about politics on Facebook– political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends– but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.

What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a “shock event.”

Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.

When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.

Last night’s Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.

Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.

My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like.

I don’t know what Bannon is up to– although I have some guesses– but because I know Bannon’s ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle– and my friends range pretty widely– who will benefit from whatever it is.

If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.

But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.

A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.

If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln’s strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.

Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it.”

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 

DISCOVERING THE TRUTH – KAEPERNICK’S TRUTH

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

POST BY JIM WRIGHT 


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 http://www.stonekettle.com. I am happy I read the post. I just found a writer I can read and be throughly amused, entertained and informed.