Columns

What is Superman Bolt's Kryptonite?

Wignall's World

Mark Wignall

Sunday, July 08, 2012    

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The summer Olympics will definitely be a sizzler after the world witnessed the 'competition-hungry beast', Yohan Blake, temporarily unseating Usain Bolt here in Jamaica.

Bolt has his cosmic-like records and, one suspects, only Bolt can take those away from Bolt. Or, so we think. So we hope.

At one level, many of us know that Usain Bolt is way beyond something special, a superhuman being. But no one should beat superman.

So what happened?

It is my belief that Bolt started to believe in his own hype and for an extended period forgot that all of the hard work that he had put into his craft had to be part of a continuous process. For a man to whom much had been given he had forgotten that much had to be given back, in terms of dedication to a nation of people who see him as a national treasure.

In a choice between having too good a time too many times and in giving up that natural part of his youth which said to him, live for now and enjoy oneself like the next guy down the road, at the wrong time he opted for the latter.

I am certain that he will now accept that he is only superman to the extent that he puts in the work to make himself remain so.

It is much better for him to accept that having too many late nights is more his kryptonite than Yohan Blake is. Based on what we have heard, the young Blake is a workaholic and is no less deserving of putting Bolt into second place. Twice.

Bolt will therefore know what he has to omit from his life, for now, and what he has to step up to. He has been there before, but losing twice is new to him.

In the end, he will be a better man for it, and August will be the perfect time for him to prove that superman can overcome his proximity to kryptonite.

But we must never forget the beast lurking, not necessarily in the shadows but leading from the front and daring superman to catch him.

Is Digicel giving consumers the best deal?

No one is about to write off mobile phone company Digicel.

It is very far from that. Digicel knows that since its arrival in Jamaica in 2001 (at just about the time that the PNP Administration was selling an 80 per cent stake of Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to a troubled American company (Mirant), users of its services have been fiercely loyal to it.

In the years before that when LIME operated as Cable and Wireless Jamaica Limited (C&W), Jamaicans had a deep dislike for how it operated. It was a total monopoly on the landline phone market when the acquisition of a phone was a veritable status symbol. Some households had to wait years before they could acquire a phone.

Prior to the arrival of Digicel, C&W entered the mobile phone market and the same monopolistic behaviour obtained. The huge 'fridge' phones were expensive but again, were status symbols and the rates were prohibitive with both sender and receiver of calls being billed.

All of that changed when Digicel set up business in Jamaica. Little did Digicel know that Jamaica would be the springboard to the launch of the company being huge and financially successful as it is today.

As the arrival of Digicel forced C&W Jamaica, later rebranded as LIME, to move its game forward, in almost all instances Digicel was like Usain Bolt at his 2008 best. LIME could barely pick up a bronze medal.

All of that changed with the new Telecoms Act which, in its original dispensation, had always worked unfavourably for LIME.

With the change, LIME dropped a bombshell by moving its rate sharply downward from in the region of higher than $8 per minute, per second billing to $2.99 per minute, per second billing. LIME stores were bombarded by an influx of new customers.

As expected, Digicel, which had recently announced a reduction to $8.99 per minute, per second billing, made the 'killer' drop in rate to $2.89 per minute. What was not written in the large print was that the billing was per minute.

In other words, if one spoke on the Digicel network for 10 seconds the amount billed would be $2.89. If one spoke on the LIME network for the same time the amount billed would be $0.29.

As the competition heated up, Digicel announced the rollout of its new, faster data service -- the 4G network. At the same time I, who was still a loyal customer of Digicel, began to experience an odd slowing down of the Digicel 2G or EDGE system. Was I being paranoid?

Many people I spoke with were having the same experience.

So what am I supposed to do now?

Faced with credit on my Digicel phone disappearing faster than I can say 'bye now' and recognising that the playing field is level for both players, it is obvious which direction I should go.

Digicel has been good for Jamaica and Jamaica has been extremely good to Digicel. Companies like LIME and Digicel must do what works best for them and the best route to take in attaining that objective is to please their customers, to give them what they believe is the best available deal.

Let me see now. Digicel at an upfront cheaper rate than LIME -- at $2.89 per minute, per minute billing.

LIME at $2.99 per minute, per second billing.

It is obvious that LIME is the better deal.

So, Mr Seaga, where did the guns come from?

In my June 17 column headlined 'Who first gave them Guns', I suggested that based on the CIA's activities in using covert actions to engineer regime changes thought favourable to the USA in countries across the globe, from Iran (1953), the Congo (1961), Indonesia (1967), Chile (1973), it would have been foolish for anyone to believe that the eruption of gun violence and the rise of the high-powered assault rifle in the period after 1976 to 1980 was without the involvement of the CIA.

At that time Michael Manley saw Fidel Castro, an avowed communist and arch enemy of the USA, as a person with whom he would 'walk to the mountaintop'.

My basic theory was that America could not and would not stand by while little Jamaica in its 'democratic socialist' experiment became another Cuba.

At that time, the conservative Opposition JLP was allied to the USA while the PNP with Manley at its helm was threatening to 'go rogue'.

Last Thursday, Eddie Seaga, former prime minister (1980 to 1989) debunked that theory by stating the following in an article.

"The repetition of that propaganda is intended to imply that the CIA played a role in the JLP victory in the 1980 General Election. This propaganda lost its currency 32 years ago based on Michael Manley's own statement which dispelled all versions of CIA stories in relation to the JLP and the CIA as related in my autobiography, My Life and Leadership. Volume 1:

"An article, 'Dangerous Dishonesty', by Gleaner top investigative columnist Wilmot Perkins on July 8, 1980, disclosed that Michael Manley had admitted in different interviews, including to Newsweek magazine in February 1977, and in an interview on a WIRT Television Florida Forum, according to the January 18 issue of The Gleaner, that government had no evidence of CIA involvement in any attempt to destabilise Jamaica or overthrow the government, and that he had said so publicly and was happy to say that now. The arguments of Agee and others, therefore, were of little substance. Minister of National Security Keeble Munn also told the House of Representatives that 'the Government had never accused the CIA of involvement in the destabilisation activities which took place in Jamaica last year (1976)', contrary to the argument of Philip Agee promoted on JBC and in the Daily News. Munn thought it was, perhaps, the Mafia'."

I must confess that I rather like the last sentence, 'Munn thought it was the Mafia.'

Without getting into too much details about something that neither Seaga nor myself has any hard evidence about, the real question must be, how did the sudden influx of guns come about?

An important question for Mr Seaga is, did the JLP directly supply or in any way support the guns which were in the hands of JLP goons in the period leading up to 1980?

Certainly, Michael Manley, a politician who must have known that his political viability would lead him back towards doing business with the USA would have reason to backtrack on statements he had made earlier. Politicians all over the world do that every day.

Just ask Mitt Romney.

The fact is, in the period in question goons allied to the JLP and the PNP were adequately supplied with firearms, many of them, high-powered rifles. Plus it was always thought that although the PNP outnumbered the JLP gunmen, when it came to ferocity and firepower, the JLP gunmen were tops.

Many years ago Eddie Seaga found in the late JLP don good favour but could not see his son Dudus in the same light.

Why was this so, seeing that both of them were Sunday school teachers? What was it that made one favourable but the other a pariah?

One would have expected more of an answer from so eminent a personage as Eddie Seaga than the really lame, 'Munn thought it was the Mafia.'

observemark@gmail.com

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