Sunday Brew — September 12, 2021Sunday, September 12, 2021
with HG HELPS
No vaccine? Well, no hospital space for you
Last week, another protest by a few misguided souls in May Pen, Clarendon, against the administration of vaccines to fight the novel coronavirus, only served to confirm that the list of fools we have in Jamaica has grown.
It is hard to find out what will happen to this country when the uninformed ultimately have their way if the political leaders do not act decisively.
It's not about pushing false democracy now and abiding by certain tenets. No, it is a time for firm, swift, and decisive action to be taken against those who continue to live in the Stone Age, and would, in effect, gnaw away at the gains which sensible people have made and continue to make.
Those who are so against being vaccinated are, by the science and statistics, the ones getting sick and clogging up the public and private health-care system. The last numbers I saw suggested that 99 per cent of those who fall ill as a result of contracting COVID-19 become regular hospital guests.
Now, if they had been vaccinated, it is highly likely that some hospital staff would have been given more time to do their nails, visit the supermarket, plant a few more vegetables in the backyard, or finally get the opportunity to clean that sofa which had gathered so much dust due to neglect, for having to be at work so long.
The Government must act now. Anyone who decides not to take any of the vaccines must not be allowed to use the facilities at any of the health-care institutions if that individual is COVID-19 afflicted; unless, of course, there are compelling reasons, which must be medical in nature. It's time to end the foolishness. We cannot allow a minority to railroad the gains of the majority.
Holness, Golding should make a huge statement
As vulgar and repulsive as partisan politics can be in Jamaica, and has been over the years, a move must be made now by this country's political heavyweights — Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding — to hold hands in one accord (my friend Rukkoo would say in one BMW) and try to beseech all citizens and residents of Jamaica to become vaccinated.
What we are seeing now is an effort by Holness to visit communities and try to convince the people that the vaccines are safe, although in one section of the island, St Thomas Eastern, ground organisers there were smitten by a partisan political bug as they decorated sections in green, the colour of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), which only served to nullify the effects of the visit and turn it into a political charade.
But we have gone past that now, hopefully.
So, Holness, leader of the JLP, and Golding, president of the People's National Party, must knock fists and hit the road as part of one convoy. Perhaps that is the only way some with political leaning will be convinced.
That same message could go far in allowing Jamaica to push itself into a comfort zone with an increased vaccination exercise, as long as the commodities are available.
The history of the political divide shows that trying to achieve something as important as this would be like moving to get me take an injection every hour for five days. But both party leaders can give it a try. As the supreme boss, Holness should extend the invitation. Golding should accept without reservation or hesitation.
This country is yearning for a show of political maturity. The time has arrived for reality to set in.
John Barnes, Whitmore and the JFF
The allegation that an operative, or operatives of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) tried to impose a team to play in Jamaica's match against Panama in Kingston a week ago, instead of allowing Head Coach Theodore Whitmore to do his job of choosing the team, takes me back to late 2008 shortly after John Barnes became coach of the Jamaica national team.
Twice (could have been more too) Barnes was handed teams that a certain high-ranking official of the JFF suggested should start in matches of the Caribbean Cup, which Jamaica won under his stewardship that same year. I know. I saw those lists. It happened first at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay, and occurred again at the National Stadium when he was handed the lists by the JFF man. Both lists were loaded with Portmore United players. Barnes ignored them.
On average, Barnes is the most successful man to have ever coached Jamaica.
And he was not the kind of man who could be bullied into submission. Remember now, this man, born in Jamaica, went on to represent Watford, Liverpool, Newcastle United, and Charlton Athletic in English division one football, also the England national team after his father Colonel Ken Barnes was posted in England at the Jamaica High Commission as the military attaché in the early 1970s. It was felt by the new People's National Party (PNP) Administration that Colonel Barnes was not a PNP supporter, and so he had to be sent far away. It turned out to be a blessing, for Barnes, who attended St George's College before his trek abroad, turned him into a football big shot.
For the record though, Colonel Barnes, a Trinidadian by birth, was not a political activist. He was a soldier and a gentleman, so the PNP got that one wrong. But, I digress.
When John Barnes took over as Jamaica's national coach, he did not ask for a salary. He requested US$10,000 per month (around a little less that J$1 million a month at the time), as a fee, and found his own accommodation, this coming from a man who made hundreds of thousands of pounds per month as a player. At last check, Whitmore was getting $1 million a month from the JFF.
Barnes' problem with the JFF, too, was that a certain top man in the federation wanted him to be dressed in a suit during matches, something he refused to do, and instead opted for T-shirt and shorts, which irritated the hell out of the official.
Before you knew it, Barnes was gone. He was not being paid his fees consistently by the JFF, and the pettiness that the federation wanted to prolong, well, he was not into that. By June 2009 he was coaching at English League One team Tranmere Rovers, cutting short a more than promising international career with Jamaica, but still holding the record of having never lost a match while coaching this national team — a mark that no other Jamaica team coach has.
When veteran Coach Winston Chung-Fah was at Arnett Gardens there was a similar issue. Once, team official Clinton “Jingles” Davey, now deceased — the PNP's regular beating stick by Eddie Seaga in Kingston Western at general election time — came into the dressing room with a piece of paper and said, 'Coach, a dis team yah yuh fi start.' Chung-Fah took the paper and crushed it on the spot without looking at what names were written on it. He proceeded to tell off Jingles in his usual sophisticated style.
If it is true that it happened to Whitmore, then he has a problem, added to the headache that he is now confronted with, of having to qualify a Jamaica team for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and looking like one who does not know how to claw his way out of a deepening hole.
What's wrong with the West Indies selectors?
Well, the squad for the Twenty/20 Cricket World Cup, set for the United Arab Emirates next month, has been released, and although some names were expected, again the selectors flopped by not jotting down those who must be automatic choices.
How in God's name, for example, can you relegate the world's number one all-rounder, Barbadian Jason Holder, to the ranks of the reserves? It is not right. In fact, it is downright stupid. Cricket West Indies has about three weeks to submit the final squad to the International Cricket Council, so it is expected that the brains of those who made that and other horrendous decisions, which froze during the selection meeting, will return to normal.
Trinidadian spinner Sunil Narine has been bowling well, with a reformed action, but, like productive Guyanese batsman Sherfane Rutherford, who has scored over 200 runs so far in the Caribbean Premier League, he has been told that he failed a fitness test. Now, couldn't they have been named and ordered to go on a specific fitness programme over the next month if they were seen as not that fit?
How can the selectors, too, go for fast bowler Oshane Thomas over Sheldon Cotterell? It just does not make sense.
Chris Gayle's recent form is worrying, and he can consider himself fortunate to have made the squad. Maybe the selectors felt that they wanted him to bow out of representing the West Indies with one last hurrah, something which other greats before him were not allowed to do.
It's a good move to have brought back pacer Ravi Rampaul, who has been exceedingly effective in the ongoing CPL. In fact, he, up to Friday, was the leading wicket-taker. He seemed to have shed a few pounds from around his waist and now looks the part.
But let's go back to Holder and Cotterell. They must be sure picks. They have played good cricket this year and are doing well in the Caribbean T20 league.
Chief selector Roger Harper and company need prayers.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login