DUNEDIN, New Zealand (CMC)- - Darren Bravo led a resistance with his maiden double century which saved West Indies from an innings defeat against New Zealand on the fourth day of the first Test at University Oval in Dunedin here on Friday.
Bravo dug in and mixed gritty defence with powerful drives through the off-side to b ...more »
I was struck by these words in the Independence Day message of the Governor General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Allen. I had the honour of calling on Sir Patrick a few days later and asked him about this. He told me about the many examples of untapped excellence, skill, enthusiasm and goodwill which he has experienced when travelling around the country. There are law-abiding Jamaican citizens who want to do their best for their country. We all saw the top-class achievements of Jamaican athletes in Moscow over the last two weeks. I experienced myself the delight and pride people felt when they watched their heroes win gold, silver and bronze. What Sir Patrick was talking about was those who translate that enthusiasm into excellence at grassroots level — in local schools, hospitals churches and communities.
I attended my first Independence Day Gala at the National Stadium on 6th August. I don't know why, but I had been expecting something less exciting. Perhaps because last year was the 50th anniversary, I thought, the 51st will not match it. Well, I wasn't here in 2012, but the 2013 Gala was impressive. Quite apart from the dancers and singers and displays on the field, what really struck me was the genuine enjoyment of those sitting around me in the stadium (and I don't just mean the diplomats!).
Driving to the stadium we passed families with young, excited children. Fathers with young daughters on their shoulders; young boys waving flags; and everywhere loud bouncing music. The performers didn't disappoint either. I'm not quite young enough to follow the latest musicians, but I recognised some of the music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s. And so did families around me. What has struck me most since arriving in Kingston is the rhythm and buzz of the place — every Jamaican has it. Hear some music playing with a beat, and it makes people sway, move their hips, and dance. And it brings out the smiles. Families of all ages were clearly enjoying themselves. It brought home to me what is good here. And it's infectious.
Too often we read about the bad things happening in the country. Sir Patrick's words made clear there is a good side that can contribute to putting right the bad; to Jamaica's success. I'm sure he, like me, doesn't underestimate the challenges. But there at the National Stadium was an example of what is right about the country. This was a side of Jamaica and Jamaicans I'd not seen enough of since arriving.
And it really was infectious; even the diplomats were starting to tap their feet and sing as the evening wore on.
David Fitton is the British High Commissioner to Jamaica
A scene from this year’s Independence Grand Gala at the National Stadium.
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