Monday, August 31, 2009

Heed the tried and true

Stewart... "we have to put more people to work"

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, August 31, 2009

It is beyond me, why we are struggling so hard as a nation, when we are sitting on a veritable gold mine.
We are the homeland of Usain 'Lightning' Bolt, immortalised on a huge chunk of the Berlin wall, venerated by China, one of the most celebrated citizens of the planet. Puma has estimated his media value to be euro238m or J$35.7 billion. We are the undisputed sprint factory of the world with stars like Shelly-Ann 'Pocket Rocket' Fraser, Melaine Walker, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

Legendary entrepreneur Gordon 'Butch' Stewart suggested on CVM's Direct last week that the Jamaica Tourist Board should ask Usain to be the spokesman in a commercial about Jamaica, showing off his beautiful country. How hard is that? Let's do it! Well do we remember Usain's remark to Bryant Gumbel on HBO's Real Sports. When asked if he wanted to live abroad, Bolt gestured at the Trelawny seacoast and asked, "Why would I want to leave this?"

In a discussion on RJR's Beyond the Headlines with Dionne Jackson-Miller, we explored the power of Brand Jamaica. Mark Wignall had suggested over a year ago that the Trelawny Stadium should be renamed in honour of Usain, and I asked if Puma had been approached to sponsor a running track there. Zachary Harding had the excellent idea of a Negril Beach Sprint when he was at the Tourist Board - we hope it has not been shelved.

We heard the prime minister's plea to public servants to hold strain, but we would also like him to tell the young entrepreneurs in YEP (Young Entrepreneurs Programme) to give full rein to their creativity. I believe there must be a reason why our Maker chose to plant on our tiny Jamaica, such extraordinary talent in the arts, athletics and business.

We know that the road to the successful implementation of any project is fraught with corruption, petty-mindedness, and incompetence. This is why we remain the most studied and least productive country in the Caribbean. I have seen good ideas shunned because people would not allow anyone to look brighter than them. I have seen ideas stolen and given to inept friends and relatives. I have seen ideas mocked by people who were not competent enough to judge or activate them.

The most important thing our leaders can do right now is to listen to those persons who have shown the courage of their convictions, who have invested where no one else has dared to go, and who themselves have earned the respect of the world for their brand. 'Butch' Stewart has the credentials, so let's heed him. In the CVM interview with Garfield Burford, he said we should give credit to the Government for "the mere fact that we are still standing". He observed that over the years, "Jamaica has sold or mortgaged everything we have" and that Government now has to be bold and creative.

Mr Stewart said that the most urgent task was to encourage the expansion of existing businesses and the starting of new ones, so that employment can be created. He is also asking the authorities to find ways for taxation to be added "at the back end rather than the front end". He suggested that this system was harming our competitiveness, and explained, "People don't want to buy taxes, they want to buy products," giving the example of vacation destinations that cost less because of a more thoughtful system. The world renowned mogul said that he believed the Government to be business-friendly but that they had found themselves in a "terrible position".

"A country is no more than a multiple of businesses, big and small; they generate the taxes for the government to collect," he opined, "so we have to put more people to work." Mr Stewart expressed the hope that as a nation we would place less emphasis on borrowing, and more on productivity.

(click on title for full column)


8/30/2009 10:02 PM
Jean; Jamaica will have to stop being "the place where good ideas go to die". The idea of business creation is one thing, realising them amid the mind-bogeling beauracracy is another.

One Love!

Alvin L.
8/31/2009 2:40 AM

Jamaica is slowly becoming a mirror image of African nations which choose to live and die with the old ways rather than allow the young and talented to shine!

If you look across the political landscape in most positive thinking countries you will notice that there is a high turnover within the political sector. In Jamaica, observe that the same people from 40 yrs ago when a lot of us were in High School are still there and refuse to move on so that the younger , brighter minds can flourish!

Jamaica is ripe for fresh minds and positive improvement, however that will only be a figment of our imagination until the worn out rhetoric and failed tired old Politicians retire and allow the youth to take a stand!

Jamaica, Land we love!

8/31/2009 5:58 AM
Jamaica has to think globally due to the limited resourses of the Island. Our bauxite industry has died, sugar has died, banana...died and I could continue. We need to take Jamaica to the world and stop relying on the world to come to Jamaica. Just like we did in the recent sporting activities we need to do the same in business. Rather than trying to attract investors to our troubled Island, why not take things Jamaican to them. No only do we have the best sprinters but our food his highly appreciated also. Not one Jamaican food chain franchise exist outside of Jamaica. Island Delight attempted but for some reason recinded. It high time we take a look at the various nationalities that has chosen to migrate to our Island and do business and reverse the situation. The Chinese are here, The Koreans are here, the Pakistanis, the Indians and the list goes on. Wise up Jamaica its time we attack the world and stop waiting on them to saturate us. Can you imagine what a Jamaican fast food franchise could do in China or India. For every American food franchise in Jamaica we should have a corresponding parallel over there. Granted there are a lot of individually owned entitities in the US, but nothing stands out notionwide. Come on Jamaica let us connect the success of our athletes to our food. We can run with it.

8/31/2009 6:29 AM
Now everybody and their granma are on the Boltmobile.Why not go furher uncle Butchie and call the ouster of Bruce Golding and instate Bolt as prime minister?That's just our problem,we're a nation of "wagonists",waiting for some miracle to happen or manna falling from heaven,rather to channel our energies in building a nation that is prosperous,and does not depend on "things of the moment",then wilt away once the "high" is gone.
Rev. Dr. Joan Porteous
8/31/2009 7:33 AM
Jamaica worship two dead men, one in music and the other in politics. If I take the Air Jamaica Plane five times for the month I see both The Late Hon Michael Manley and The late Hon Robert Nesta Marley on the monitor of the airplanes. 'Can a dead man praise GOD?' (Psalm Holy Bible KJV). No wonder so many funeral homes in Jamaica, Jamaica only worship the dead. Gives no promotion to the living artists and men and women of good will. Is it that Jamaicans worship the dead? Is there no vision beyond the lives of these dead men?. It is time to use living beings to advertise Jamaica. A living musician or athlete, A living Prime Minister.
Be transformational in your leadership and create an environ through the change process that embrace innovation. With respect to the dead, dead men cannot be creative nor innovative, only living men can have vision

8/31/2009 8:03 AM
Our present goverment need to take a look at this aspect of Thailand. Inward investment is encouraged and rewarded, but the Thai do not sell off the land, the earth to these inward investors. As I understand it, no individual or group of individuals from abroad can own a piece of Thailand out right. You may part own a part of it for a period of time, that is all. In other words Thailand belongs to the Thai people. Jamaica now belongs to the British, Americans, Russians, the Spanish everybody owns a piece of Jamaica except for the Jamaicans. What are we leaving for the babes in arms? For future generations? As far as I can see, only a ghetto. The same apply to businesses, Every inbound investor should in my opinion be made to partner with a Jamaican business no matter how small a percentage, to stop all the profit leaving the island. As the dollars are earned, so are they transferred out, it is like cutting your main vein and allowing your life blood to seep out. That is what is happening to Jamaica right now. Just like in the days of manual slavery, only this time it is more effective, and it is done with the blessing of our governments. Some will say we do ot have Jamaican business people capable of partenering with the inward investor from Germany or Chaina, I say this is a lie. They are there but they are prevented from being seen to be successful. That is why some of them go to USA, Canada and other parts of the world to managed theirs and other nations affairs. We have the talent, skills and drive, what we lack is the decipline and the support of our people's government, a thing that we can develop. One last note, is it time to dismantle the All-inclusive, or atleast limit their growth. All-inclusive is the death of Jamaica. Other country of the world successfully entertain tourist without all-inclusives, again Thailand, USA, England, Spain spring to mind. Are we so different, or is this the way our government want it. What would be nicer that to see visitors walking along our streets, frequenting our bars, restaurant, shops, churches on a daily basis and spreading their hard earned cash among the common people. Can you not see the face of Jamaica changing? I can and I'm not a business man.

8/31/2009 9:05 AM
I wonder if Rev.Porteous read what she had written.Is it not a fact that she along with other followers support and worship a dead man.Please stop your hypocrosy.every day you preach that we should all follow this dead man and we all will be saved and all things will be added unto us.One of our greatest downfall is that we talk through two sides of our mouth so we live in squalorinside a sixty million dollar house.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

At Least Jamaica is Willing to Join the Dance

Date: 08/30/09 Posted by: George Graham

I’ve always wondered about the Parable of the Talents. The parable tells of a master who was leaving home for a while, and before setting out, gave his three servants different amounts of money. The first servant got five talents, the second got two talents and the third got one. The first two invested their talents (which in those days was a lot of money) and had a nice fat profit for the boss. The third servant didn’t take any chances; he buried his cash in the ground so it would be safe and sound when the master came home.talents

I’m sure you know how the master reacted. He praised the first two servants and dumped all over the third. I can’t help feeling the third guy got a raw deal. But the message is clear: the Lord wants us to go for it… to take a chance on the future … to get in the game with whatever stakes we have, not to sit on the sidelines. Or, as Lee Ann Womack put it:

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance… I hope you dance.

And, little Jamaica has joined the dance, while mighty America sits timidly on the sidelines pondering the risks involved.

What on earth am I talking about? Why, health care, of course.

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding is forging ahead with plans to abolish hospital user fees, despite a torrent of criticism and the head-scratching conundrum of paying for the plan. He is suggesting that Jamaicans who can afford to pay should contribute whatever they can afford. But to quote from a Jamaica Information Service press release:

The problem has always been that the country was never able to develop an appropriate means to determine whether a person can afford to pay and, if so, how much.

“It is an administrative nightmare,” Mr. Golding said, noting that studies done over the years indicate that the vast majority of people could not afford to pay, and when they do, they do so at tremendous sacrifice. He said that in light of this, the decision the Government took was necessary and must be sustained.

Admitting that it is not a perfect arrangement, the Prime Minister said that one of the weaknesses is in the area of health insurance, which should be covering some of the costs.

Sound familiar? Of course, Golding could just as easily be talking about the good ol’ USA. Nobody pretends that creating an equitable health care system is easy. There are swarms of problems involved. Especially in figuring out how to pay for it. But governments all over the world have accepted the challenge, and are in the game. The U.S. is imagining the worst, too scared to take a chance, defeated before the game has even started.

(George was my boss - brilliant, iconoclastic features editor at the Jamaica Daily News in the seventies - Jean Anita)

Monday, August 24, 2009


M Bolt Usain 200 Metres
W Walker Melaine 400 Metres Hurdles
W Foster-Hylton Brigitte 100 Metres Hurdles
M Jamaica 4x100 Metres Relay
W Jamaica 4x100 Metres Relay
M Bolt Usain 100 Metres
W Fraser Shelly-Ann 100 Metres

W Stewart Kerron 100 Metres
W Williams Shericka 400 Metres
W Jamaica 4x400 Metres Relay
W Campbell-Brown Veronica 200 Metres

W Ennis-London Delloreen 100 Metres Hurdles
M Powell Asafa 100 Metres

Stars deserve a peaceful JA

Residents of Maxfield Avenue celebrate Melaine - make them 'free from evil powers'.

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer | Monday, August 24, 2009

As we watched our athletes, and heard the testimony of their parents, we realised that these amazing performers were raised in God-centred households.

Indeed, our beloved superstar Usain Bolt paused after breaking the world record in the 200-metre event in Berlin to bow his head, say a prayer and make the sign of the cross, his well-known pre-race ritual.

Primrose Palmer, the mother of Brigitte Foster-Hylton, could not watch her daughter triumph in the 110-metre hurdles because she was busy cooking for a church event.

Shelly-Ann Fraser's mother, Maxine Simpson, shouted "Thank you Jesus!" when her daughter flew to finish in the 100-metre event, and related how she counselled her to "put God before and I know He will bring you through".

I had the pleasure of an inspiring conversation, walking the streets of Beijing last year with Rev William Powell, the father of Asafa Powell. Rev Powell and his wife Cislyn are both pastors of the Redemption National Church of God in Linstead. I have also met the warm and godly mother of Melaine Walker, Jenefer Wilson.

Clearly, their faith in God and the example of their devout parents have played a role in the confidence of our athletes. As they mounted the winners' podium, received their medals and stood at attention, we reflected on the prayer that is our Anthem:

"Eternal Father, bless our land
Guard us with Thy mighty hand
Keep us free from evil powers
Be our light through countless hours."

In trying to figure out where we got our winning ways, I looked back at Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller, Outliers. Gladwell analysed the circumstances around the success of such achievers as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amadeus Mozart and The Beatles. They may have been gifted, but they all worked long and hard.
"What's more," observes Gladwell, "the people at the top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder."

Before we go bashing the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA), we should know that it is made up of volunteers who work much, much harder than most. Only individuals who have represented the country in athletics are eligible to be members. Their leadership has included legends and fine individuals, among them the late great Herb McKenley, Mel Spence, Teddy McCook, Patrick Anderson, Donald Quarrie, Bertland Cameron, Brian Smith, Don Anderson, John Leiba, Denis Johnson, Adrian Wallace, Vilma Charlton and Headley Forbes.

These volunteers make up the most disciplined group I have ever seen, arriving on time for meetings, making meticulous preparations for meets, transparent in their actions and accountable in their results.

And so, beginning with the JAAA-JTA Primary and Prep School Championships, Jamaican children are burning up the stadium track from the age of six, in well-planned events that demand hard work and discipline.

These children are prepared by the unsung heroes of Jamaica, our coaches. The tough training means long, sometimes painful hours for coaches and athletes alike. It is only recently with the emergence of our golden superstars that we are hearing such names as Glen Mills and Stephen Francis. Delano Franklyn in his book, Sprinting into History reminds us that the G C Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, donated in 1977 by the Cuban Government to the people of Jamaica, has provided Jamaica with many excellent homegrown coaches. These include Michael Clarke, Fitzalbert Coleman, Edward Hector and Maurice Wilson.

Our volunteers of the JAAA and the Jamaica Association for Sports Medicine, committed coaches, steadfast corporate sponsors, public training and administrative facilities have given the country a strong foundation for sporting achievement. Franklyn also quotes Jamaica's Anti-Doping Sports Act (2008), born out of several revisions of the country's Policy against Doping in Sport.

One thing that has been clear about Jamaican sport, and in particular athletics, is that there has been no tolerance for indiscipline and unethical behaviour. It is regrettable that a genius like Stephen Francis has become so publicly conflicted with the JAAA. We all know that there will be trouble in the best of regulated families, but one should try to keep it in the family, not play it out in the press.

Norman Peart, manager of Usain Bolt, said in our phone conversation last Thursday morning, "I don't want to comment on that. There is good camaraderie in the camp. This is the athletes' work, their living - it is very important for them. Right now, it has to be about them."

However, there is an even more serious national issue. How could we have an attack on police officers last Thursday in the same hour that the country stopped to watch Usain Bolt and Melaine Walker? While they were running their hearts out for Jamaica, heartless gunmen were running down our good name! Clearly, the politicians and some in the private sector who have been arming and mollycoddling these gunmen have not been subject to the scrutiny of a disciplined, objective body like the JAAA.

We should not accept that our politicians can no longer control the monsters that they have created by omission or commission; they must be man and woman enough to deal with it once and for all. Look at the environment where some of our stars live! These communities will not see better days if the criminals (from uptown and downtown) are allowed to stay in charge of these hapless people who cannot cross from one street to the next, for fear that they are stepping into forbidden territory.

Let the discipline and values that helped to mould our athletes become the watchwords of our nation. We are sharing in their glory, but have we played by their rules? Could we run, in the light of day with no props or bribes, and win on our own steam?

Forget the fleeting razzle-dazzle of a grand welcome - instead, use the resources to make us "free from evil powers" so that our precious champions can have a homecoming to communities of peace and good order.

Jean Lowrie-Chin is the author of Souldance, a collection of poetry and commentary.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

'Relays are more fun' - Usain

From IAAF website -

Usain Bolt: "If I am getting used to win? Oh, you cannot get used to win. The relay was really very much fun. It is always more fun than to run alone. Winning three gold medals in Berlin is wonderful, I am proud of myself."

So far - Asafa in

Patrick Anderson - TVJ says Asafa should be in for the Men's Sprint Relay.

Also said he saw Veronica and she looked very upset!
Sent from my BlackBerry® device from Digicel

Peart - the man who groomed Bolt

Usain Bolt with Mentor and Manager Norman Peart

JEAN LOWRIE-CHIN | Jamaica Observer column | 29 June 2009

Much has been written about the emergence of young Usain Bolt as the phenomenal powerhouse of the track and from all indications, a lot more is to come. In a meeting last week, the athlete's manager Norman Peart reflected on the deliberate steps taken to groom Bolt for greatness. "As a William Knibb old boy who did athletics, I was called in February 2002 by then principal Margaret Lee who said she wanted me to help with 'this one little one that I think will do big things'," he recalled. "After work, I went to see him and then coach Dwight Barnett at the school and I was immediately impressed by his stature - this 15-year-old was taller than me, a six-footer!"

The next day Peart went to see Usain's parents, Mr and Mrs Wellesley Bolt. "Daddy Bolt was very much in charge," said Peart. "His parents and I have the same values and since then, there is hardly a day that we have not been in touch. For me, it has been the support of his parents that has made Usain what he is today. There is a very close relationship between that family, parents, brother and sister. That's where Usain's strength is."

But Usain Bolt's strength also lies with the calm, focused management of the mild-mannered accountant Norman Peart who has kept the Bolt enterprise humming like a well-oiled machine.

Peart says that by 2003, Usain Bolt had come to the attention of world athletics, running the third fastest time in the world at the National High School Championships: 20.25 seconds in the 200-metre event, as well as 45.35 in the 400-metre.

“We looked down the road and made a decision,” said Peart. “At the time, sprinting was at a low and we thought, ‘he is the next generation, this is the time’.”

“Under the guidance of Hon Teddy McCook, we decided to make the transition to the High Performance Centre at Utech that would take him to a professional level. I got a job transfer to Kingston, set up house for both of us and he lived with me for three years. The adjustment was a challenge at the start, as I had no experience as a father.” Then Peart jokes, “After I got married, I figured it was time I threw him out.”

During that time, Peart was ensuring that Usain kept up with his studies, enrolling him at Quality Academics so that he could gain the five CXC subjects to qualify for UTECH, the manager’s alma mater. “You’re going to college through the front door,” he told the fun-loving athlete. He also engaged Paula-Ann Porter to give Usain speech training and we saw the result when he acquitted himself well in those Beijing interviews.

Bolt did one term at UTECH 2005, but then came more laurels at the Commonwealth Games and he had to turn athletics into what Peart describes as “a full time job”.

“He will not be 22 again,” says a realistic Peart. “So he must do the sponsors’ tours, the photo shoots and of course, the constant training to stay on form.” So how are Usain’s finances being handled? “We have been planning every step of the way,” says Norman. “We have in place an attorney, a financial advisor, a competition agent and his great coach Glen Mills.”

Norman has also encouraged Usain’s spirit of philanthropy. Recently, they reached out to the children with HIV-AIDS at Mustard Seed’s ‘Dare to Care’, and give ongoing support to several community projects.

Peart describes a day in Usain’s life. There is gym in the morning, interviews, meals, afternoon rest followed by three hours of intense training in the afternoon to evening. “He also has to have time for himself, time for his friends.” The athlete’s relationship continues with his childhood sweetheart, Mizicann.

Peart refuses to become paranoid over Usain’s driving even after his April car crash. “Yes, he’s driving himself,” says the cool manager. “We have very good relations with Stewart’s Auto and Usain now has a BMW X5.”

Jamaica-based Peart keeps tabs on all aspects of Bolt’s business as the athlete travels with his coach, sports manager and masseuse. “He never stops training and when he goes off to Europe, they’ll have to set up home in the various locations, find a good gym and training facilities.”


"Usain is very tough, very positive and undaunted by the competition. He will have a great tour," says Peart of the upcoming season. Such confidence comes from the grooming of a world superstar, by an honest and diligent man. With more nurturing by citizens like Norman Peart, imagine the great heights that our children could achieve.


Friday, August 21, 2009

With Blazing Speed, It's the Isle of Might

Usain Bolt cools his heels (for a change) after a record-setting run Sunday. (By Anja Niedringhaus -- Associated Press)

Jamaican Sprinters Quickly Step Up Nation's Identity

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 21, 2009

It's not just Usain Bolt who has been showing his golden-spiked heels to the world's fastest humans at the world track and field championships this week. The whole Jamaican team seems to be on its own special people mover, running in another gear, maybe another dimension.

In addition to Bolt's jaw-dropping records in the 100- and 200-meter races -- he broke the former by the largest margin since electronic timing began -- Jamaica's male and female sprinters have dominated the sprints like no nation has since, well, since the United States, which until a few years ago had consistently produced the world's fastest athletes.

No more, and not since last year at the Beijing Olympics when Bolt and his teammates accelerated in a blur of bright yellow and green. At the championships in Berlin this week, Jamaicans have circled the track in flag-caped victory four times. Through Thursday, the country's runners had captured eight medals in the sprint races, with several more medals likely to come before the championships conclude on Sunday.

Surprised? Ease up, mon. Jamaicans have been fleet afoot for some time (it wasn't entirely crazy that they had an Olympic bobsled team, given the need for sprinting speed at the start). But this is something else: In 11 previous world track championships, Jamaica had never won more than one gold medal at a single meet. As recently as 2005, its runners didn't win a single race.

Now, the world trails and wonders: How does a tiny, impoverished island nation of 2.5 million people produce such an astonishing cadre of athletes, and in such a short time?

Save your cynicism about better running through chemistry -- we'll get to the drug stuff in a bit -- and consider the Jamaican sprint miracle as a kind of national signifier, a worldwide trademark. Just as Italy produced Renaissance painters and stone carvers, just as the French churned out copper-potted gourmands, and Japan produced world-mincing swordmakers, some nations, through history and culture and national perseverance, attain a global standard of excellence.

That is certainly the way Anthony Johnson, Jamaica's ambassador to the United States, saw it on Thursday, after Bolt disassembled his own record in the 200 (19.30 seconds) and replaced it with an unimaginable standard (19.19).

"It is the oldest story in the book -- a lot of hard work," Johnson said. The gold medal athletes, he noted, have tended to come from Jamaica's peaks-and-canyons countryside, which has intensified the celebration in certain parts of the island. "To have someone beating all of the people of the Americas, it is a very big deal. We hope it will be an inspiration, and lead us to be successful in other areas. We are a poor country."

Sprinting may be the oldest and most basic of human athletic endeavors; surely there were Cro-Magnons challenging each other in a race to the next cave, or to outrun the saber-toothed tiger. But sprinting champs, to torture the cliche, are made, not born. Despite its elemental dynamic -- be the first one to run from Point A to Point B -- sprinting takes refinement and technique in addition to raw athletic talent.

Unlike the magnificent distance runners of East Africa, whose highlands are thought to convey the development of more efficient heart-and-lung functioning, Jamaican sprinters have no special geographic advantage. Although Jamaica and some of its neighbors (the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, even microscopic St. Kitts and Nevis) have produced great sprinters in the past, there is nothing in the Caribbean air that makes people run faster (Jamaicans, however, might contend about the special properties of mannish water, a spicy native soup sometimes made from goat testicles).

But Jamaica may have been pointing to this moment for a few decades. It first registered on the world scene during the 1948 and 1952 Summer Olympics, when its 4x400 relay teams, led by the legendary Herb McKenley and George Rhoden, stunned the world with record-setting times. In the 1970s, its leading sprinter was Don Quarrie; from the 1980s onward, its banner was carried by the ageless Merlene Ottey, who won medals in four Olympics between 1980 and 2000.

Johnson, the Jamaican ambassador, cites several reasons for his country's sprint surge: a long-term national development program, dramatic gains in literacy and formal schooling, and emigration and technology.

Jamaica already had a system of local, regional and national track championships, he said. What it did not have was the full participation of its young people; when he was going to school thirty-odd years ago, he said, high school enrollment in Jamaica was perhaps 10 percent of the eligible population. Now it's 95 percent, which has greatly deepened the potential pool of young athletes.

In years past, many of Jamaica's best athletes left to run for American universities (they still do) and never returned. Jamaica exported talent; Olympians Donovan Bailey and Ben Johnson (he of the drug-tainted 100-meter victory in the 1988 Summer Games) competed for Canada, and Linford Christie ran for Britain. More recently, however, many of Jamaica's fastest have returned, adding their experience and know-how to the national stock. The Internet has pared worldwide coaching differences still further, Anthony Johnson says; advice pours in daily.

There is, unfortunately, no running away from rumors of drug use among Jamaica's best. At the Jamaican national track championships in June, five sprinters failed tests for banned substances, although one athlete, Sheri-Ann Brooks, was eventually cleared for competition (given the uncertainty over their fate, Jamaica has pulled all five from its team).

The good news? Track's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, announced earlier this week that all of the finalists in the 100 meters, including Bolt, tested negative after the race.

Which made Bolt's achievement not just stunning, but pure.

Silver for Veronica Campbell-Brown after brave run

Allyson Felix of the United States of the United States, left, races to the line on her way winning the gold medal in the final of the Women's 200m ahead of Jamaica's Veronica Campbell-Brown, center, who took the silver medal and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas, bronze, during the World Athletics Championships in Berlin on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

From the Baltimore Sun

BERLIN (AP) — Defending champion Allyson Felix of the United States has won the 200 meters at the world championships, beating Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica.

Felix held off an early charge by the Jamaican and extended her lead in the home straight to win in 22.02 seconds on Friday, holding an edge of .33 over Campbell-Brown.

Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas took bronze.

Foster-Hylton thanks coach for gold medal success

Jamaica's world 100-metre hurdles champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton (left) and bronze medallist Delloreen Ennis-London pose with their medals in Berlin, Germany, yesterday. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)

Friday, August 21, 2009

BERLIN, Germany (CMC) - Jamaica's new world 100-metre hurdles champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton heaped praise Wednesday on her MVP Track Club coach Stephen Francis for the role he has played in her success.

The 34-year-old Foster-Hylton explained after her first global triumph at the 12th IAAF World Championship on Wednesday night how Francis persuaded her to stick to the sport after her huge disappointment of missing out on a medal at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

Foster-Hylton had retired in frustration and Francis urged her to return to the sport.

"I actually was retired last year; after Beijing I was so disappointed, I wanted an Olympic so badly (but) my coach dissuaded me and told me to come back," Foster-Hylton said.

"I give it all to my coach and I thank him. He prepared me well," she added.

The reigning Commonwealth Games champion and former Pan American Games gold medallist became Jamaica's first gold medallist in the event at the World Championships and finally copped the big prize in a lengthy career.

She delivered a near-perfect race to win in a personal season's best 12.51 seconds.

Starting well and running solidly throughout, Foster-Hylton clung on to the lead at the end, repelling strong late-race challenges from Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (12.54) and Jamaican Delloreen Ennis-London (12.55).

"I knew it was going to be a tough race and I knew it was going to be to the wire. When I visualised my race I said I am going to run my heart out from the start and I am going close my eyes and power my way to the finish and that's what I did," she said.

Foster-Hylton had won two previous World Championships medals - silver in Paris (2003) and bronze in Helsinki (2005) - and her triumph stunned her rivals in an event that was billed as one of the most competitive at the nine-day championship.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt claimed yet another world record as he recorded a stunning victory in the 200m final at the World Championships.

BBC | 20 AUG 09

Bolt set a time of 19.19 seconds to demolish the previous record of 19.30 he set in winning Olympic gold last summer in Beijing.

The 22-year-old finished well clear of the field, with silver medallist Alonso Edward finishing in 19.81.

Wallace Spearmon of the United States took bronze.

Bolt, who also smashed the 100m record in Berlin on Sunday, is now the first man to hold the 100 and 200m world and Olympic titles at the same time.

After a nervy opening which saw Frenchman David Alerte false start, Bolt streaked off the blocks and took the lead within 20m.

He put on the afterburners around the bend to leave the chasing pack trailing in his wake and after storming over the line, Bolt glanced down to the electronic display and pointed at his historic time.

Earlier in the week Bolt had said he did not think a 200m record was on after missing a month of training earlier this year following a car crash in Jamaica.

And after the 200m Bolt told BBC Sport: "I can definitely say I didn't expect that because I was a little bit tired.

"I said let's try because people are really looking out for this, I said it won't hurt to try. So I tried really hard and now I'm really tired.

"Maybe next time I should just run the 200m or the 100m alone. My form was going backwards. I wasn't running upright. It wasn't a good race but it was a fast one."

Bolt, who completed his 200m win a day before his 23rd birthday, set three world records when winning his Olympic golds in Beijing last summer and his breathtaking performances in Berlin have enhanced his reputation as the best sprinter of all time.

"I definitely showed people that my world records in Beijing were not a joke," he added.

And America's Shawn Crawford, who finished fourth, admitted he was left in awe by Bolt's display.

"Just coming out there, I'm just waiting for the lights to flash 'game over,' because I felt like I was in a video game," said Crawford. "That guy was moving - fast."

I am still in shock. What are we witnessing?? I am just glad I am around to watch this happen


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jamaican runs 2nd fastest time ever for gold

Melaine Walker of Jamaica celebrates another brilliant performance on Thursday, one year after her Olympic win in Beijing. (Anja Niedringhaus/Associated Press)

Melaine Walker ran a blistering 400-metre hurdle final on Thursday at Olympic Stadium in Berlin to capture world championship gold.

Walker ran 52.42 seconds, a time second only to Yuliya Pechonkina's world record of 52.34 six years ago.

Walker fought off a strong early challenge for LaShinda Demus of the U.S., who came across in 52.96 seconds.

Her victory comes exactly one year after she captured Olympic gold in Beijing.

Josanne Lucas of Trinidad and Tobago took bronze ahead of the likes of Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica and American Tiffany Williams.

Pechonkina has missed the Beijing Games and the Berlin championships due to sinusitis.
Women's 200 semifinal

Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, the 2001 world champion, ran the fastest time on Thursday to qualify for the 200 metre final.

The Bahamian veteran ran 22.24 seconds, with defending world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown also advancing in the heat.

Allyson Felix of the United States also had little trouble advancing, winning her heat comfortably ahead of Anneisha McLaughlin of Jamaica.

American Muna Lee and Simone Facey of Jamaica topped the third and final heat, with the remaining spots in Friday's final to be taken by Emily Freeman of Great Britain and Eleni Artymata of Cyprus.

Most observers expect Felix and Campbell-Brown to be pitted in another battle for gold.

Campbell-Brown and Felix have finished 1-2 in the last three biggest events at the 200. The Jamaican was the Olympic champion in 2004 and 2008, with Felix taking the world championship in 2007.

Felix was also the 2005 champion, with Campbell-Brown fourth on that occasion.

Monday, August 17, 2009

OMG - did you see???

Flashback to Beijing - Shelley Ann triumphs again!!!

Comments from BBC Website a few minutes ago!

Fraser, who is the fastest speaker I have ever heard, says: "I came back from the semis with a different spirit. It feels good to be Olympic champion and world champion. I'm glad we went out and just did our best."

Get involved on 606
From MEANZ on 606: "omg did you see that start!! its was mad quick!!"

2043: What a start for the Jamaican. Not quite the dancing of Bolt. More like jumping around like she's got drawing pins in her shoes. Fabulous. Kerron Stewart second in 10.75, Carmelita Jeter in 10.90. Shelly-Ann Fraser started brilliantly. She's got a very forward, neck-forward technique. Michael Johnson says: "It was like she jumped out of the blocks and put pressure on everybody. She already had a metre on the field at the start. The Jamaicans are dominating with technique and speed. Lots of fun to watch."

Gold medal
2040: On your marks. Here we or two shouts from the stadium. Settle down please. Women's 100m GOLD goes to Shelly-Ann Fraser in 10.73

2037: Michael Johnson says this 100m final is going to be fun. He predicts a photo-finish. Jamaican flags are going mad in the crowd.

2032: The women's 100m final coming up. Forget Bolt, Gay and Powell for a second, this is going to be electric. Jeter is my bet. What do you reckon?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

9.58!! As predicted by Mills!

Bolt triumphs again! Who said that was a 'slow track'?? After the Beijing Olympics Coach Glen Mills said that if Bolt had not slowed he would have done 9.58! The man knows his charge! What a race! What a great moment in time!
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Usain Bolt burdened with expectations at Berlin

What a poser: Usain Bolt shows off his Puma 'Bolt arms' in Berlin Photo: GETTY IMAGES

By Ian Chadband, Chief Sports Correspondent in Berlin
Published: 9:00PM BST 14 Aug 2009

Usain Bolt will not turn 23 until next Friday. In no particular order he enjoys cricket, yams, dancing, chilling and running very, very fast.

What he does not enjoy is making highfalutin pronouncements about his place in sporting history. He is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete but he is not a saviour.

You would not, however, have credited this fact here in Berlin. When the World Championships begin in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday and Bolt saunters to his blocks for the 100 metres heats, never before will the sport have invested so much so publicly on a single pair of shoulders and quicksilver feet.

Bolt is seen as the answer to the sport's every ailment, and there are many. Athletics has no characters any more? Here's the most charismatic in a generation. The sport can't sell tickets these days? It can when it pays Usain $250,000 per run. TV audiences are slumping? Train the camera on the posing archer.

Everybody expects miracles from the lad now. Even, apparently, Lamine Diack, the IAAF President, who was inspired to muse about the last time a global track championship came here at the 1936 Olympics.

"I was fortunate to have met Jesse Owens and spent some time with him. He was, without a doubt, not just an amazing athlete but an outstanding human being," noted Diack.

"So I would love someone like Usain Bolt to try and match Jesse Owens – not only on the track, but by setting an example outside the stadium as well. That is the secret."

No pressure then, Usain. It is now evidently not good enough just to be a freak sprinter. You must be Owens Mk II, following in the spike tracks of the most significant 100m run – and runner – of all-time; you must be a ground-breaking inspiration for the world's youth; you must transcend your sport.

The Jamaican sports minister Olivia Grange told The Daily Telegraph on Friday that "every young man wants to be Usain Bolt... in fact, I've had requests from various governments of other countries for him to visit so he can speak and motivate other young people".

According to her, he does a brilliant job but it is still possible to feel almost sorry for Bolt. Last year, if he had made a throwaway comment about Jamaican kids trying cannabis, nobody would have cared; 9.69 sec later, though, such honesty saw him get slaughtered.

He has had to grow up quick. Asked here on Thursday, amid the biggest media bun fight seen at these championships since the mid-Eighties days of Carl Lewis mania, whether he had come to terms with the magnitude of his Olympic achievements, he said warily and wearily: "I know what I did. And I know the responsibility that comes with it."

He wears that responsibility lightly and with natural charm but it must weigh heavy. Five of his compatriots, including a training partner Yohan Blake, are currently embroiled in controversy after testing positive at their national championships. Yesterday they learned that no decision about whether they could run here would be made until Monday.

Another depressing prelude to a championship then, but Bolt is seen as the antidote to cynicism. Regularly, you can hear the lament that if ever he failed a drugs test, it would finish athletics. He has to be seen as cleaner than clean.

When this championship was first staged in 1983, it was built on a host of marquee names such as Lewis, Ed Moses, Daley Thompson, Mary Decker, Grete Waitz and Steve Ovett. It helped make other names such as Steve Cram and Sergei Bubka.

Here? He is a man alone. Yelena Isinbayeva, the Russian pole vault queen, may possess glamour and unique ability and Tyson Gay may be the quality foil in the sprints, but one man is being asked to carry the whole show.

And that isn't possible for one man. The ills of athletics cannot be solved by Bolt's brilliance, only camouflaged. The suggestions here that less than a third of tickets have been sold for the evening sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the 74,000-seat stadium illustrate that only too well.

Bolt's biggest problem is having to follow his own vapour trail. How can he top Beijing? "I don't know," he shrugs. The hope is that Gay will push him to further uncharted territory in human endeavour come Sunday night. Anything else will be considered a let down. How unfair would that be?

As he was being revered on Thursday, what must his mother Jennifer have made of all the madness? One imagined that, like the mum in Life of Brian, she must have been tempted to jump up with the cry: "He's not the Messiah! He's a very fast boy..." This is our chance to enjoy Bolt, not to deify him.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jamaica Athletes given Reprieve

(UKPA) – 40 mins ago

Jamaican athletes who failed to attend a preparation camp last week in Germany will be allowed to compete at the World Championships beginning in Berlin on Saturday.

The Jamaican federation withdrew a request for them to be excluded following the personal intervention of IAAF president Lamine Diack.

Diack agreed it was the right of the national body to punish the athletes - which included former world 100m record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic 100m and 400m hurdles champions Shelly-Ann Fraser and Melanie Walker - but he successfully argued that throwing them out of the championships was too strong a punishment.

Diack suggested other action be taken by the Jamaican federation if it is deemed necessary.

The trio are members of the MVP track club, which elected to stay at its base in Italy rather than join the remainder of the team in Nuremberg.

Paul Doyle, who manages Powell, maintains he had been told attending the camp in Germany was not a compulsory requirement.

Meanwhile, the IAAF has still to receive documentation about the five Jamaican athletes who allegedly committed drug offences at the National Trials in June.

The Jamaican Federation has yet to comment publicly on the outcome of their trials, which ended last Friday.

Copyright © 2009 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lady B - in her own words

LADY BUSTAMANTE... we must all acknowledge the obligation to pay our debt to the past.


Lady Bustamante, when urged by writer Ken Jones to say more about herself as he worked on her memoirs, told him, "I seldom speak - I only work." Fortunately, the persistent author was able to garner enough about this national icon that we have a well-drawn portrait of a courageous lady who was that steadfast North Star for her mentor, boss and husband National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante.

The Memoirs of Lady Bustamante (Kingston Publishers) tells us that Gladys Maud Longbridge was born in the tiny district of Parson Reid near Ashton in Westmoreland where her God-fearing family and solid teachers inspired her enduring faith in God and encouraged her to develop her talents. At the Bustamante Museum, Seragh Lakasingh has in place Lady B's piano, organ, guitar and accordion, "all of which she played well", he says.

It is important that we educate this and coming generations about the incredible sacrifices made by pioneers like Lady Bustamante, to secure our sovereignty. She has given us an eyewitness account of the beginnings of our labour movement and the founding of the Jamaica Labour Party.
She recommended, "We must all acknowledge not only where we are coming from and how much we owe the past, but also the obligation to repay our debt to the past. This is the spirit in which I have lived and I strongly recommend it to my fellow Jamaicans."

It was fortuitous that years after Lady B was born, her birthday March 8, was declared the International Day for Women. Her memoirs reveal that she was very proud of the achievements of her fellow women, and that she worked hard to qualify herself, surpassing the speed for shorthand and typing expected from the graduates of Tutorial College.

Her 150-word-per-minute rapid-fire recording matched the rapid-fire dictation of Bustamante who became her boss on March 9, 1936 and with whom she lived "happily ever after" when they got married in September 1967.

Lady B records the triumphant fight to reinstate our first female Jamaica Scholar of 1912, Oxford graduate Leila James, in the Education Department, the first black woman to have ever held such a post. She recounts Amy Bailey's advocacy for graduates of technical schools to be admitted into the Civil Service, "and so (she) opened the doors of opportunity for thousands of boys and girls whose standard of education had been unjustly regarded as inferior".

Lady Bustamante took these breakthroughs personally, remembering the many months that she stayed unemployed because of her colour. She referred to Gleaner employment advertisements of the 30s that made specific reference to colour and shade. "Because I was not of light complexion I could not hold a job of any kind in a commercial bank," she stated.

No wonder that the young Gladys Longbridge became such a passionate supporter of the labour movement that Busta and St William Grant had started to build. "The folks at home would marvel at the fact that the quiet, Sunday-school organist from Ashton was in the forefront of national upheaval, fighting for the underpaid working class and the hungry unemployed," she said. "Almost all my working days have been spent in this service; even now (1997), so late in life, I am still fully committed to trade unionism and I propose to continue that way until the breath has left my body."

"During the formative years of the union we worked night and day," she recalled, "setting everything else aside, travelling the countryside . I had become the principal day-to-day caretaker of what was the largest single organisation in Jamaica." In March 1939, the BITU had a paying membership of 6,500 efficiently managed by Ms Longbridge without the aid of modern technology.

It is truly fitting that she will first lie in state at the BITU Headquarters tomorrow.

Lady B shied away from active politics. She reluctantly agreed to run for office in Eastern Westmoreland in 1951. She was pleased when she learned she had lost - a Gleaner report described her as "the happiest loser" they had ever seen in an election.

Her memoirs carry photographs that are milestones not only in local, but also in world history: attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 and the funeral of John F Kennedy in 1963, welcoming royalty to Jamaica House, including Emperor Haile Selassie in 1962, the building of Jamaica House in 1963.

On the lighter side, Lady B loved cars and there is a pictorial of the vehicles she had driven over the years, through hills and dales of Jamaica with her beloved Bustamante by her side. She was a fierce defender of the Chief as she fondly called him, and recounted a dramatic scene at the Port Maria Tennis Club in the early days of the BITU. A black man named Clifford Clementson had refused to serve Busta a drink, saying, "You are the man organising the niggers around here. You cannot drink in my club." Another member, Colin McGregor (Resident Magistrate, later appointed Chief Justice), insisted that Busta should have his drink but with the atmosphere becoming tense, Ms Longbridge persuaded him to leave.

As they were leaving, she caught sight of a drunk about to strike the Chief with a bottle. "It was then that I summoned the nerve to grab the offender by his tie and pull him to the floor," she related.

Although Sir Alexander's health had been steadily declining, his death came unexpectedly on August 6, 1977 at their home in Irish Town. "I gave way to uncontrollable tears and a feeling of emptiness came over me," recalled Lady B. "He whom I loved with all my heart, was gone, never to return."

But Lady B soldiered on: "I could not leave my work with the BITU. The Union had been a great part of the Chief's life and it was my life too."

My husband's family (the Chins of Victoria Street, Franklin Town) was close to the Bustamantes, and I was privileged to be at several of her birthday celebrations which she enjoyed so much, lovingly arranged by her close friends and caretakers Seragh and Effie Lakasingh. Warm and wise, Lady B would take the time to commend and advise us. We can try to repay her sacrifices by emulating her: as she reminded us, service is not an option, it is an obligation. Rest in Peace, Lady B, enjoy your heavenly reunion with your dear Chief.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

NYT -Anger Has Its Place

NY Times - 1 August 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

Anger Has Its Place

Cambridge, Mass.

No more than five or six minutes elapsed from the time the police were alerted to the possibility of a break-in at a home in a quiet residential neighborhood and the awful clamping of handcuffs on the wrists of the distinguished Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

If Professor Gates ranted and raved at the cop who entered his home uninvited with a badge, a gun and an attitude, he didn't rant and rave for long. The 911 call came in at about 12:45 on the afternoon of July 16 and, as The Times has reported, Mr. Gates was arrested, cuffed and about to be led off to jail by 12:51.

The charge: angry while black.

The president of the United States has suggested that we use this flare-up as a "teachable moment," but so far exactly the wrong lessons are being drawn from it — especially for black people. The message that has gone out to the public is that powerful African-American leaders like Mr. Gates and President Obama will be very publicly slapped down for speaking up and speaking out about police misbehavior, and that the proper response if you think you are being unfairly targeted by the police because of your race is to chill.

I have nothing but contempt for that message.

Mr. Gates is a friend, and I was selected some months ago to receive an award from an institute that he runs at Harvard. I made no attempt to speak to him while researching this column.

The very first lesson that should be drawn from the encounter between Mr. Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, is that Professor Gates did absolutely nothing wrong. He did not swear at the officer or threaten him. He was never a danger to anyone. At worst, if you believe the police report, he yelled at Sergeant Crowley. He demanded to know if he was being treated the way he was being treated because he was black.

You can yell at a cop in America. This is not Iran. And if some people don't like what you're saying, too bad. You can even be wrong in what you are saying. There is no law against that. It is not an offense for which you are supposed to be arrested.

That's a lesson that should have emerged clearly from this contretemps.

It was the police officer, Sergeant Crowley, who did something wrong in this instance. He arrested a man who had already demonstrated to the officer's satisfaction that he was in his own home and had been minding his own business, bothering no one. Sergeant Crowley arrested Professor Gates and had him paraded off to jail for no good reason, and that brings us to the most important lesson to be drawn from this case. Black people are constantly being stopped, searched, harassed, publicly humiliated, assaulted, arrested and sometimes killed by police officers in this country for no good reason.

New York City cops make upwards of a half-million stops of private citizens each year, questioning and frequently frisking these men, women and children. The overwhelming majority of those stopped are black or Latino, and the overwhelming majority are innocent of any wrongdoing. A true "teachable moment" would focus a spotlight on such outrages and the urgent need to stop them.

But this country is not interested in that.

I wrote a number of columns about the arrests of more than 30 black and Hispanic youngsters — male and female — who were doing nothing more than walking peacefully down a quiet street in Brooklyn in broad daylight in the spring of 2007. The kids had to hire lawyers and fight the case for nearly two frustrating years before the charges were dropped and a settlement for their outlandish arrests worked out.

Black people need to roar out their anger at such treatment, lift up their voices and demand change. Anyone counseling a less militant approach is counseling self-defeat. As of mid-2008, there were 4,777 black men imprisoned in America for every 100,000 black men in the population. By comparison, there were only 727 white male inmates per 100,000 white men.

While whites use illegal drugs at substantially higher percentages than blacks, black men are sent to prison on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men.

Most whites do not want to hear about racial problems, and President Obama would rather walk through fire than spend his time dealing with them. We're never going to have a serious national conversation about race.
So that leaves it up to ordinary black Americans to rant and to rave, to demonstrate and to lobby, to march and confront and to sue and generally do whatever is necessary to stop a continuing and deeply racist criminal justice outrage.

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