Observer column for MON 16 JAN 2017
by Jean Lowrie-Chin
|Sportswoman & Sportswoman of the Year Elaine Thompson|
and Usain Bolt receive awards from RJR Group MD Gary Allen
and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport,
Hon Olivia Grange
|Special Award to Shelly-Ann|
Fraser Pryce from Gleaner
Managing Director Chris Barnes
|Special Award to Usain Bolt from|
Selection Panellist Dr Carrole
Hon Mike Fennell, our age-defying Jamaica Olympics Association President and Chairman of the Commonwealth Games, received the Global Icon Award, and here I must pause to also congratulate his radiant, practical wife Kathleen ‘Peggy’ Fennell who in her own right is a role model for Jamaican women.
|Young Athlete Calabar's Christopher|
Taylor receives his award from his
School's distinguished graduate Hon.
The guest speaker at the event Olivier Gers, CEO of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said he was in Jamaica to discover how our small country had been athletic world beaters since 1948. He recounted the achievements of our greats, and acknowledged the past failures of the IAAF. He said that an independent unit would ensure the success of the Federation’s drive for integrity, and that there would be greater fan engagement to promote the sport.
|Paralympian Gold Medalist Alphanso Cunningham|
receives a Special Award
|Omar McLeod receives Runner-Up|
Award from Hon Molly Rhone
As I watched the younger athletes ascending the stage, I remember the words of my good friend the late Hon Neville ‘Teddy’ McCook in the early nineties, “Jean, if you know what was coming, your head would hurt you!” Well, Mass Teddy, our heads are still spinning as we saw Shelley-Ann Fraser Pryce, always a queen and suffering from an injury, hugging Elaine Thompson after Thompson’s stupendous win of the 100-metre event in Rio. We were dizzy with delight as we saw the flawless gold medal hurdling of Omar Francis, and that great burst of energy at Champs from People’s Choice winner, Calabar’s Christopher Taylor.
|Alia Atkinson receives Runner-Up|
Award for Sportswoman of the Year
Reports are that Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce said her bronze medal in the event was her "greatest medal ever …By far, I would definitely say that this is my best championship ever, because I knew how hard I worked, I knew the pain and the sacrifices and the tears."
In a similar spirit, world record holder swimmer Alia Atkinson rebounded from her Olympic disappointment to beat the Olympic Gold medallist and equal her 100-metre breaststroke world record, while also establishing a new world record for the 50-metre breaststoke short course. Dignity and perseverance - that is how our Jamaican royalty rolls!
We were honoured at PROComm when Alia attended our Christmas meeting with our scholars from Grants Pen. Her genuine warmth and listening ear had our team swooning and the young students blushing with pride. She is now organizing free swimming lessons for them!
A Bold 2017
Butch Hendrickson allows his passion for Jamaica to speak, and at the GraceKennedy event, it spoke clean and clear. Lauding the company for its 95 years of successful growth, its simplicity, unique vision and authenticity, he said the company was a blueprint for success.
He shared his beliefs: “ I believe in the raw value of hard work … in the power of ‘messing up’. After all, it is only from life's mistakes that we can 'get it' so to speak, and do it properly the next time around.”
|National Baking Chairman Butch Hendrickson|
inspires at GraceKennedy Business Conference
|GraceKennedy CEO Don Wehby|
leads the dynamic Business Confenrence
Butch asked all Jamaicans to step up and do the simple things that are so important and to show more respect and courtesy. He explained the tremendous loss that can result from one single unrepaired pothole, including loss of life. He noted the effects of night noise on children in poor communities, who are deprived of sleep as they try to get an education. He urged us to remember that “the individual rights of a few cannot obstruct the collective good of a country”
Don Wehby, the company’s CEO personifies the difference between a leader and a boss, as he was unstinting in his praise and challenged his team to be dedicated to the professional development of their younger colleagues, with succession planning intrinsic in their approach. This is how a small Jamaican company became a global giant – it has never rested on its laurels.
And so, we are constantly reminded of our considerable national resources – our people, our culture, our crops, our strong democracy. Let us invest our riches to bring everyone.
Standing up for what is right
In the midst of scandals and the very interesting press conference held by president
elect Donald Trump last week, the media both here and abroad is being challenged as never before. How does one maintain credibility in the face of accusations of “fake news”?
How does a media house balance reporting on the tragic and sordid and the positive and constructive? Take for example, the still unfolding reports around the alleged sexual misconduct of several local clergymen. How does one report on this while still ensuring that the excellent work of the majority of our church leaders is not dismissed? Without those churches, many of our excellent high schools would not even exist, many of our poor and abandoned would have no refuge.
Like Acting Commissioner Novelette Grant, we must be realistic but constructive. At her first press conference last Wednesday, she noted, “We have no miracles. For my 90 days as Acting Commissioner of Police, my team and I do not promise to work miracles. However, what we promise to do is to work together, and continue to partner with key stakeholders.” She thanked those Jamaican citizens who have stepped up to assist the police in solving crimes.
This is what we all must do: step up to do our jobs well, and be of help, not hindrance to the many who are working so hard to build and protect our country.