Our beloved Louise Bennett-Coverley wrote about Jamaican migration to England in the 50s:
What a joyful news, Miss Mattie,
I feel like me heart gwine burs'
Jamaica people colonizin'
Englan in reverse
Today as Olympic fever takes hold, she probably would have said:
We taking ovah London Mattie
Check de Parliament building side!
No fi we big man Usain Bolt
Wid him arm dem open wide!
An yu no hear bout de English farmer
Who dream seh Bolt bruk record?
Him mow one big 'To di worl' maze
Inna him country yard!
Black green and gold tek ovah
Sponsor spare no expense
Usain, Shelly-Ann, VC, Melaine
I'm taking a bow here readers, as we ride on this Olympic tide!
But seriously, are we seeing the dazzling, divine message that the good Lord is sending this country in response to the National Anthem? In our Olympic endeavours, there is a comprehensive answer to this prayer which is our anthem, sung in supplication for justice, truth, guidance, respect, and wisdom.
This very week of our Emancipation, we have heard the roar of the world's approval for our impeccable Olympic team marching proudly with the flag we raised in our National Arena 50 years ago. This very week, leading to August 6, the actual date of our Golden Jubilee, our Maker is casting us a lifeline to restore our respectability.
In our Olympic preparation, in the efforts on that level playing field of our National Trials, we see the formula for success in other areas of national life. In the respect for the elders in the JAAA and JOA, the coaches and managers, we see the importance of combining the wisdom of experience with the enthusiasm of youth. In the constant submission to test after test, more frequent for champions like Bolt, Blake, Campbell-Brown and Fraser-Pryce, we see the integrity of our athletes who fear no probe as they have nothing to hide.
Our agency has worked on several projects with the JAAA, beginning with the Guinness Road Race, the first event of its kind in Jamaica. We had great meetings with Teddy McCook, John Leiba; also Herb McKenley, Headley Forbes and Mel Spence of blessed memory; sports medicine gurus Dr Herb Elliot, Dr Paul Wright and Dr Winston Dawes, and expert physiotherapists - the late, beautiful Elizabeth Phillips, and her colleague the dedicated Pat Lue-Chin.
These individuals were all volunteers, yet they turned up on time for meetings and delivered on their promises. Once we had a little argument with Teddy McCook. A stickler for punctuality, he wanted to end the practice of late entries for the road race as people were turning up at the last minute on the day of the event and demanding to be registered, delaying the start.
We argued with Teddy that people would not register early and the race would lose support. "Let us show them that we are serious," he insisted. "We cannot promote indiscipline." They got the message - that year we had the biggest ever number of entries.
What an experience when we worked on the then Blue-Cross/JTA Sponsored Primary-Prep Athletic Championships at the National Stadium! There were these tiny six-year-olds lining up like pros at the start, and flying down the track like colourful birds, learning how to win, and yes, how to lose. Is it any wonder then that Jamaica's high school athletics championships are the biggest in the world? When we see our teenagers in flight, many of them have been running on the Stadium track for nearly ten years.
In every sphere of life, it is discipline and integrity that takes us to that place of excellence. However, mental slavery is keeping us from daring to be diligent, daring to be disciplined, daring to be honest, daring to be excellent. This is the mental slavery which has spawned a conspiracy of mediocrity and attendant corruption in our society.
To emancipate ourselves from this mental slavery, we must be bold enough to explain to our children that riches do not happen overnight, that the wealthy Jamaicans featured as Jamaica Observer Business Leaders were very similar to our Usain Bolts and Veronica Campbell-Browns. They came from humble homes, they worked hard, they sacrificed much and they succeeded, sometimes after many failures.
As we look to the celebration of Emancipation Day in this our Golden Year of Jubilee, let us shake off the cowardice that results in corruption. Let us believe that we can succeed as our athletes have done because of their long hours of training, their triumph over injuries and setbacks, their willingness to carry the hopes and Olympic dreams of a people on their capable shoulders. After their triumphs, they must submit themselves to clinical testing. Will our leaders emancipate themselves and step into the bright light of probity? We know they can and we hope they will. Have a peaceful Emancipation Day and inspiring Olympic moments!
Jamaica 50 buzz in New York
As the excitement for Jamaica 50 celebrations in New York intensifies, our home-grown media marketers in the tri-state area Dave Rodney and Anthony Turner are taking some of the celebrations to network television over the independence holidays with a showcase of our cuisine, culture and fashion. They are also targeting the print media for a commemorative presence for Jamaica, and they say their efforts are aided in no small part by the massive buzz that is being created on the other side of the Atlantic at the Olympics for any and everything Jamaican.
Also of note - Buzzz magazine has a great Jamaica 50 issue featuring cover art of Jamaican icons by Howard Moo Young.