Arise, Sir Usain! God save our Queen!

Franklin Johnston

Friday, June 08, 2012    

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Do not deny our Queen or be ungracious because of something that happened centuries ago or you do not like royalty. All peoples have suffered. Do not hug up old grievances - it deforms. Be generous, live large. Men butchered others in 1919, 1942, Korea, Vietnam; their children are now friends. Anger cripples the angry.

Celebrate your Queen, she may not be so for long. For her Jubilee she attended the Epsom Derby with her grandchildren and Camelot won in style, O'Brien aboard. Last year her horse came second, that's her passion. She has more in common with jockey Dick Cardenas than our hoi polloi. Liz is a lady. Her dad King George VI died so she stepped up to head the firm as a youth - duty and courage. Some 20 prime ministers later (Winston Churchill was the first), she is the rock of the UK and Commonwealth - nuff respect! The long weekend was a feast of parties. New York and many countries marked the event, but because of politics we did not - hats off to our Yacht Club!

When last I looked it was Elizabeth R who signed our Independence paper, Americans signed theirs - they fought for it. Grow up. Businessmen turned St Lawrence Gap, Barbados, into a mall - 50 clubs and tented food joints. British beer, fish and chips, music, union flags waving from dawn to dusk made a bag of money off The Queen. MoBay "hip strip", New Kingston, were ideal, but we are into sour, negative politics. Some things our "Out of many" mix the many do not celebrate. We could have given The Queen a good "last lick" of revels but we are so self-absorbed and cued to politics we spite ourselves. No church service for our Queen? I am for a local queen but Elizabeth's is a hard act to follow. Usain Bolt also has a thing for The Queen and he was again an item in London as the Jubilee street parties rocked. Hear this!

Usain is a marketer. He knows where his money is made. Last weekend on British media, he said: "I wish when I break the world record The Queen would say, 'Let's knight Usain'... that would be real cool!" Arise, Sir Usain! I prefer "Lord Bolt of Trelawny". "Baron Bolt" would move his career earnings to half a billion British pounds. The Queen sees him like grandson Prince Harry - they get up to the same tricks. As High Commissioner Aloun Assamba presents her credentials, please tell The Queen it's OK to knight him. We love British titles and Lord Kitchener or King Stitt would not begrudge Usain a real peerage. Good for his brand; for our trade and tourism too. Usain, don't let our feral local politics cramp your career. Take what the English have to offer, live large; one day our nation will catch up; you or I won't be there.

Politicians politicise everything. Ever seen a gaggle of them hijack a wedding and upstage the bride? Our opposition to The Queen is not principle, primogeniture, hereditary royalty or freedom; just cheap racial politics as we seek to mask failure to build our country. It wasn't me? The Queen held us back? The Queen issue, like the China issue, is voodoo politics. Anti-communist JLP, and conscious PNP deal with communist China - not a word about human rights. Once PNP wanted to free political prisoners - not now; JLP warned us of communist "Russian ships" coming to enslave us - they now hug up communists. A deficit of trust!

The Queen may go, but royalty is our roots. Every Rasta and his lady are heirs of kings and the King James Bible is our mother's milk. We admire African kings, though slavers, and won't use their wealth to feed their people. Is it slavers we don't like or just white ones? We are a major part of the West, and of Africa we made their history. Liz's son Charles may take over using the sobriquet "George VII". This time we may see the golden spoon at the anointing - we also love to anoint. We made them rich and they gave us this island - stolen goods. Read history. Incidentally, all parents who could not help their kids with homework, conscious people who can't find African history, be advised that Heroes Circle may soon reveal an islandwide service for you to gain a high school diploma without leaving your own community, and history, maths, science will be open to you. Education for all!

The UK is awash with controversy and demonstrations about royalty - republicans, anarchists, syndicalists. They avow the injustice of hereditary privilege. Our views on the Queen are politics or race, not principle. For me, it's economics. The Queen brings in some 15 million tourists and billions of pounds sterling for souvenirs. If the British oust her, I want her here to market Jamaica. Get real, we had the best leaders, also Dr Lecky, and still can't feed ourselves; do you really care who make us prosper? Chinese Communists? British Queen? Let's try something new!

In the UK, bookies as William Hill have more accurate data than opinion polls. You see stuff like "10 to 1 Drogba scores the first goal" or "6 to 4 Culture Secretary Hunt will resign". Usain is a poll, has more support than politicians, so if he wants "Sir", me too. Incidentally, I ask Usain to support free compulsory early childhood stimulation and education as his handlers read this column. Some in Cabinet think fixing a pothole is the equal of a child's education. Let's shake them up. Holness agrees with me the Queen is not a priority, but he is wrong about the CCJ - it's the shot. The British suffer since 2008, but they had decades of prosperity (we did not). Some want to dump The Queen and many migrate. Do you know our people fight to stay in The Queen's prisons? The UK pays prisoners to go home, ours choose prison - unlike Russian, Asian, Bajan or Poles. What makes a man choose prison over living in Independent Jamaica? Let's make our country prosper so it is a real home for us here and in the diaspora. We want prosperity but our excuses for failure - The Queen, US imperialism, Trinidad's oil, Manley's fault — are many. The Queen is not on my radar. But my people are easily confused by politics. I am fixated on prosperity in my lifetime. I don't care a "rat's arse" who is in King's House or Buckingham Palace. I care that my people are well schooled, fed, secure and have options for advancement. Portia must lead us from the front.

A Jamaican queen like the late Ruby Martin would be good. But how do you choose? Let's vote for a monarch by text, "Yes or No"; moderated by EOJ, telecoms regulator and the auditor general for oversight. Pearnel would be a good king as an African Chief with "out of many one" hair. But we should not have politicians - past or present and no "president", as this title turns heads as our Haitian and African brethren may attest. I like the title King or Queen. Stay conscious!

CONGRATULATIONS, Sir Errol "Micky" Waldron, a well-deserved knighthood though he spent more time here than Barbados; wife Bev Walters (my UWI classmate), the prettiest attorney ever in our courts, was still roots when I broke bread with them at Sandy Lane last year.

CHARLES TAYLOR, ex-president of Liberia, got 50 years in prison for his part in the Sierra Leone massacres. Our own Naomi Campbell got a blood diamond from him. Ex-president Mubarak of Egypt was also in the news - life imprisonment. A good week for justice!

Dr Franklin Johnston is a strategist, project manager and advises the minister of education.





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