Sunday, September 28, 2008

TEN ways I think we can all serve JAMAICA

Disclaimer: This was inspired by a Time Magazine article I read recently...21 ways to serve America.

Social graces are declining in the world, but in developing countries such as Jamaica, the recovery process is much longer. However, we have to START EARLY...

1. SUPPORT LEGISLATION: We should make it compulsory for every Jamaican from 14 years up serve a community group, non for profit organisation or a sporting organisation.This is expansion of our National Youth Service
2. TAKE A TOUR: We should encourage families to take a tour of Jamaica, so we can see how our brothers and sisters exist/survive.
3. JOIN THE LIBRARY (online or the Physical one): This is an encouragement for all of us to read, this is in addition to the school is also a hint to Jamaican writers to write more of our own stories.
4. START YOUNG: Imagine if you wanted to be a great football player, you would start dribbling from as early as eight years old, well since so many of our social graces have declined, get in the game early. Eat out once in a while, visit a neighbour, attend church, go our of town to a sporting event etc
5. KNOW HOW PARLIAMENT WORKS: Know who your political representatives are and what their roles are. In other words, re-enter the CIVIC world.
6. VOLUNTEER: Go to a nursing home, a hospital, a prison facility, a school in your community; offer your service Free of Charge
7. EXERCISE: Walk 20 minutes a day for three days a week. Obesity and Heart related diseases are top in the list of killers of "black" people
8. IGNORE YOUR AGE: Not because you are a little older than some, do from "1" to "8" and stick to it. Retirement should be dynamic
9. TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY: Pass on the knowledge you have and the world will be a better place. Share, Share, Share
10. PREPARE FOR THE WORST: At all times, expect the worst, but if you are prepared you will be able to handle the challenges.

Let's work for a better JAMAICA.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Keep the Story True

So much has been published and carried about Jamaica since August 15, 2008, that it is almost unbelievable the value of the exposure this small country has gotten during this time.

I heard BBC Journalist on radio saying “Jamaica gets so much bad press that the last few days have just been so much great news. And there are so many angles to tell these stories from.” I think that is an endorsement from the BBC and we should build on that.

I cannot overemphasize how well our 51-member team to the Olympics in Beijing, has kept Jamaica in a positive light and what a momentum it has created, way past the nine-day wonders we have become accustomed you.

I am going out on a limb this time around to say this time around, things will be different. Let us be mindful that while we are getting great press, there is always a way for international media to twist and turn the stories to suit their own needs. For example, I saw a headline recently “From Pauper to Sprint King” now how untrue is that? If my information is right, the Bolts were never paupers, and now they are not. But there is always someone, somewhere who wants to denigrate. I beg us to tell our own story and tell it with pride.

Please print, carry on radio and TV, and produce documentaries, features and even full length movies as part of the legacy of our programme. The MVP story, even with all the current grouses, would still be good material for a feature…truth be told!


Within a few months Jamaica will have a draft sport policy to discuss with all major stakeholders. As a credit to Jamaica, The UNESCO International Roundtable Congress on Sport for Peace and Development was just was hosted in Jamaica over two days and from the discussions to take place, the country will have a document to guide how physical education and sport is managed for economic, political and social development.

As we celebrate though, let us be serious about our commitment in sustaining programmes and activities geared at success at the highest level for sport, but we must be decisive. The policy will help as we will have guidelines by which to operate.

Jamaica’s 60 year history is more than sufficient for us to pay attention to sustaining another strong 60 years and more in sport for this country.

Yes we can! Yes we should!


Hosting a welcome home reception for one of the world’s most popular track and field athlete is like hosting a major sporting event. This means that all the necessary plans must be in place to ensure smooth running.

Protocol must be observed as for this activity you would be dealing with a variety of persons, including National Officials, Family, Officials of the particular sport, officials of the sporting fraternity and the exuberant fans.

As we prepare for a round of celebrations to last over an extended period, let’s plan, rehearse, assimilate for rain or shine and hope for a perfect implementation.

Invitations must be sent out early and the necessary follow up done so seating or placement of people by status be done correctly.

Our athletes deserve it!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Major Events and Protocol

So now we are becoming a regular destination for hosting major sporting events and ever so often, we need to be reminded of the rules which should guide us in how protocol is to be observed.
Here are some areas we should pay keen attention to:
-seating plans
- precedence of persons
- invitations
- speeches
- flags

Let's take our National Stadium, for example. The Royal Box can seat 87 persons in permanent seats and an additional 14 can be added. The additional seats are to seat the president of the sporting federation, heads of government and the specially invited guests of the host.

Special care must be made when seating persons who speak a foreign language, space should be made for a translator; and if there are couples involved, it is customary to separate them, unless they are the hosts. These seating arrangements are also relevant for seating at a dinner table.


Precedence of persons includes official titles and how they are to be used appropriately by the public address announcer. A clear example is the governor general. He is to be announced as His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Sir Kenneth Hall and in the case of the prime minister, the Honourable Bruce Golding.
Invitations should be sent at least 14 days in advance of the event and should bear directions to the venue, parking information, allotment of tickets, number of seats to be occupied and dress code. In addition, the RSVP is to be used so the organisers can know the response to the invitations and if allowed, how many guests will attend.
Long speeches have no place at a major sporting event; however, when mentioning dignitaries, they should be mentioned in descending hierarchical order.

Finally, flags are symbolic of a country's honour. The colours on the flags are significant as there is generally a story. The Jamaican flag has black, green and gold which refer to the people, land and sunshine. When there are two flags, one is to be placed to the left of the audience and the other flag on the right.
This is just one element of event hosting that should be placed as high priority, so I thought I would mention protocol first; however, there is so much more to talk about.