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04/15/10

Permalink 09:13:17 am, by amilnal
Categories: Sports, News

Usain Bolt set to compete in New York

Jamaican sprint sensation Usain "Lighting" Bolt will compete in the 100 meters at the adidas Grand Prix in New York City on June 12th. The adidas Grand Prix, formerly known as the Reebok Grand Prix, will be the fifth stop on the inaugural IAAF Diamond League circuit and will be held at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. Bolt, the reigning triple-Olympic Champion (100m, 200m and 4x100m) and triple-World Champion, is one of the most popular and sought after sports personalities in the world. A showman both on and off the track, Bolt shocked the world in Beijing in 2008, not just by winning the 100m gold medal but by doing so in a never-before-seen dominating and entertaining world record effort. He followed up this victory just days later with another historic world record at 200m (19.30) and again in the 4x100m Relay (37.10). In 2009, Bolt outperformed the world as well as his own seemingly untouchable world best marks with two more records (9.58 for 100m and 19.19 for 200m) at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. Ranked #1 in the world at 100m and 200m in 2008 and 2009, Bolt was also named Athlete-of-the Year by the IAAF in both years. Newly crowned world indoor champions Bernard Lagat of the United States and Jessica Ennis of Great Britain as well as American record-holder Hyleas Fountain will ride the wave of their recent successes when they compete at the adidas Grand Prix. Lagat joins Bolt as the featured athletes in their respective events, the 1500 and 100m. The golden girl of British Athletics, Ennis will face-off against Fountain, the Olympic heptathlon silver medalist, in a special multi-event challenge featuring the long jump, shot put, and 100m hurdles. The adidas Grand Prix will be Ennis’ U.S. debut, and it will be Fountain’s first appearance. “Winning the world indoor title gives me a load of confidence heading into the summer, and now what a great opportunity it is for the multis to be included within the adidas Grand Prix’s Diamond League structure,” Ennis said. “This meet is known for producing great results, and I’m excited to use the energy and support of the New York City crowd in making my U.S. debut.” Lagat, 35, of Tucson, Ariz., captured his second world indoor title in the 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha in early March, making him the first U.S. champion in the event. The victory brings his career World Championship medal count to eight—four of them gold. A two-time Olympic medalist, Lagat most recently made history in New York, winning his record eighth Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in Madison Square Garden in January. Ennis, 24, is dubbed the world’s greatest female athlete after becoming the first British woman to win both indoor and outdoor world titles in 2009 and 2010. She was victorious this month in Doha, and just seven months prior, Ennis dominated in similar fashion, setting a personal best in becoming the world heptathlon champion at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Berlin. Fountain, 29, of Kettering, Ohio, also had a stellar performance in Doha, finishing fourth in the pentathlon and equaling the American record of 4,753 set in 1999 by DeeDee Nathan. It was an encouraging performance for Fountain, who was forced to miss the World Outdoor Championships last summer due to an injury after winning the Olympic silver medal in Beijing a year earlier.

04/12/10

Permalink 11:26:48 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Commentary

Parliamentary Behaviour

Anybody who has read or even glimpsed the news over the past month or so will have read about the current situation within parliament which stands as a major embarassment to the Jamaican public, as they see the people we have elected to run our country act like squabbling children instead of focusing on the important issues, such as how to pay our public sector workers. But then again what can you expect, the people put in charge of our country are nothing less than a bunch of corrupt thieves who more than likely went into politics for nothing more than their own personal gain, and not something like making a better life for the people of Jamaica. But I digress.

The first instance of the mass flareup in parliament came from Everald Warmington. Warmington a (JLP senator) got quite angry after he attempted to vote against a move recommended by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) and ended up with his opinion not being represented in Parliament. He started to get very angry and heated and started openly cursing the members of both sides of the house including his own side despite the attempts by other JLP ministers to clam him down. The entire debacle ended with Warmington storming out of the house while making it known to his party that they cannot remove him from power, as only the people of his constituency have the power to do that. He also made sure to include a few choice Jamaican words on his way out to make sure that his point was properly made.

Warmington in Parliament**Taken from Jamaica Gleaner

He was chided openly for his behaviour in parliament, and the Gleaner reports that:

Karl Samuda, the party's general secretary, said Warmington was out of line and that his behaviour was "a departure from what is expected". Warmington, however, insists that the party cannot sanction him for his actions in Parliament. He also says that there is no strained relationship between him and the party... he had received widespread commendation for his actions in Parliament for his constituency, which has indicated it will stand with him.

However this is not the first time something like this has happened.

A similar event took place few weeks after Warmington's outburst, however this time from the opposite side of the house - This time from Senator KD Knight. As the JLP through senator lightbourne was attempting to pass the Financial Investigation Division Bill in the senate, Knight grew increasingly upset at the manner in which the government was passing the bill stating that they are trying to rush through the proceedings without following proper procedure as the opposition had not had any say in the proceedings. Senator Lightbourne shot back at his remark, only to be called stupid by Knight, before he stepped out of parliament. Knight was subsequently suspended for 2 sittings of the senate and the bill was eventually passed. Knight however stated that his suspension was merely a sideshow for what was really taking place which was:

What they do is use the occasion to rush through legis-lation, and when we ask them to delay legislation for a week, the leader of government business gets up and says we are trying to derail the legislative agenda

However true this is, is up to interpretation, but there have been some recent reportings that parliament has been notably lazy in pushing a legislative agenda... However I think it is important to note the fact that this isnt exactly the first time that KD has made outbursts in parliament, as a matter of fact he is quite known for being one of the more feisty members of parliament.

KD Knight**Taken from JIS

However it is things like this that happens all the time in Jamaican parliament, which is why more and more Jamaicans find themselves becoming embarrassed by the behaviour of our MP's and Senators. Things like the cursing and walk outs are regular occurences, so much so that if one was to actually sit and watch/listen to one of the parliamentary broadcasts, I can assure you that you would hear people behaving in a manner that is not becoming of leaders of a country. This is not to say that the Jamaican Parliament is the only place where this happens, after all there have been a number of other examples where people in other country's parliaments have been caught cursing, and one can point to the fights in the South Korean Parliament last year which is much more embarassing I would think.

However this cannot be used as some sort of excuse for poor behaviour in our local parliament. This is no excuse, we should expect more from our leaders, and it is becoming sickening to watch parliament and see these children who are in charge of our country. I have made the call numerous times and while I doubt it will happen anytime soon I still think it is a necessary move. The two party system, and all current MP's and senators need to be swapped out for a new batch of people, who are focused not on what is right for themselves, but what is right for the people of Jamaica.

Permalink 04:35:41 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Commentary, News

Police on Strike

So its finally happened, the nurses have been joined by yet another public sector group who have simply become fed up with the decisions taken by the government. The islands police force has today staged a sickout in protest to the fact that the government has owed them a large amount of money for some time and simply refuses to pay them. Most people expected this kind of reaction eventually from the police (and other public sector workers) because as of recently, the government has been treating them (the public sector) with such a high level of disrespect and lack of sympathy that there was bound to be some sort of backlash, and it is finally happening.

Jamaican police

The Jamaica gleaner reports that:

The Police Federation is remaining firm as it presses the government to respond to matters relating to the payment of outstanding salaries to its members. While not confirming reports that some rank and file police personnel are staging a sick-out, Sergeant Raymond Wilson says the federation is giving the government more time to call a meeting with its executive.  The federation had served a 72-day ultimatum on the government last week to call a meeting. However, the government failed to respond to the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday.

So like with the issue with the nurses everybody is pretty much remaining quiet as to the subject of the sick out but yet everybody knows that it is actually going on.

For those wondering about the disrespect and lack of sympathy I am speaking about, one simply has to look at the recent speeches made by the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister. Both people have been talking to the public sector workers in the same manner that a parent speaks to his/her unruly child. Instead of trying to come up with a plan to pay the public sector similar to that Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) introduced by the previous administration, they have simply come out and said "we will not pay you the money that we rightfully owe you" - of course that is not a direct quote, but it is more or less what was stated.

Can you imagine, the entire public sector - Doctors, Teachers, Policemen, Nurses, etc. - all these trained professionals who spent time acquiring the level of education and training required to provide adequate service, being told that without any other explanation than "we cannot", that the money owed to them will not be coming. Especially when one adds the fact that the same government who refuses to pay them, is also trying to take more money from them by increasing and applying new taxes to almost every good or service that they need to live. So the little money they have been making is actually worth much less due to inflation, less disposable income means that the public sector workers are living living like paupers despite having the same amount of work  to do.

Add to this the fact that wages have not increased in a years, and the government has had the required testicles to add a further 2 year wage freeze to the entire public sector, and you have a bunch of understandably angry people who want what is due to them. Can you imagine what would happen if the entire public sector decided that they are going to strike? The crippling effect it would have on the Jamaican public? We already have to live through the lessened security we have because of lack of police, what more can we expect? I personally am happy that the majority of these public sector workers have not outright stopped their work though, and I applaud their nobility, but there needs to be some steps taken to ensure that this situation is sorted out... and quickly.

Gleaner cartoon**taken from the Gleaner

... As I typed this article I also had to think about something interesting that came to mind, and that was essentially what was the purpose of the IMF loan that the government took out? But maybe I should save this for another article.

04/11/10

Permalink 08:35:27 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Good Times linking up with Irie Jam Media

This Spring Irie Jam Media will present the yet another staging of its always eagerly anticipated Good Times, the premiere 70s, 80s, 90s party event,… but with a twist for 2010. Irie Jam will collaborate with Quorum Entertainment, originators and promoters of the hugely popular Good Times party series in Jamaica (since1997), to introduce the first phase of what it anticipates will be a long lasting effort, for taking Good Times Ja, to the USA & indeed globally. The event aptly tagged, “Yard and Farrin” offers a unique blend of the synergy created by these dynamic organizations both of which have been recognized for staging award-winning, world class entertainment events. The “Yard and Farrin” Good Times party will provide the perfect mix of authentic Jamaican “back-in-tha day” party flavor with the added unique flair, that can only be experienced in New York City, arguably the world’s most energetic and exciting metropolis. Louis Grant, Exec. VP of The Irie Jam Media Group describes the collaboration as a “natural progression given the synchronized vision of both entities, Irie Jam Media NY and Quorum Entertainment, Ja”. Grant explains that “the groundswell experienced by the Good Times event held in New York throughout the Boroughs over the past 7 years demands the crescendo provided by joining forces with the well known, and extremely successful Jamaican counterpart event to take this ultimate retro party experience to even higher heights.” Grant guarantees that loyal patrons of the New York Good Times party can expect the usual high quality entertainment offering which is designed to satisfy the demands of even the most discriminating of party goers. Celebrated New York based DJs will skillfully deliver the retro hits of the 70’s, 80’s & 90s at the Mingles Café’s turntables come Friday April 30, starting 10pm. Dubb Master Chris & DJ Roy of Irie Jam 93.5 fm fame, will be joined by the exciting Party Animal DJ Kurt Riley from Fame fm Blazin’ 95 Jamaica. Riley is no stranger to the “Irie Jam fam”, having occasionally co-hosted the very popular Direct Connect radio program simulcast, aired on Irie Jam Radio & Fame FM on seasonal Saturdays.
Permalink 08:08:44 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

Code Red Anniversary kicked off Easter weekend

Code Red’s first ever anniversary event on Good Friday, Easter Weekend, turned out to be a phenomenal success. Margaritaville, Ochi, was filled to capacity with patrons arriving as early as 10pm. “We were still putting the finishing touches on the decor when people started to get there, I was amazed. That was when I knew we would have a tremendous turnout.” said Master Lee, CEO of Code Red Music Group (CRMG). “To be honest, people never actually ever ‘stopped’ arriving, even at 3am people were still lining up at the gate to get in, the total number of patrons was in excess of 2000 people, there was barely space left to move.” stated Master Lee. The music for the event was kicked off by the host sound themselves with the Code Red’s new stars ‘Dj Lank’ and ‘Chris Dymond’ building the vibes as the people streamed in. Pacing the night properly like experienced professionals, they started with the 90s era, getting people to dance and give an ‘early forward’ as the vibes built up. Shortly after, Chris Dymond introduced Mr. Fully Loaded himself ‘Blade’, who re-introduced himself to the crowd having just returned from a 6 week tri-state club tour for Code Red Sound in New York. At 1:30am, in came the Far East Rulers ‘Mighty Crown’ from Japan, who in fine ‘big sound style’ broke the pace and started their round with today’s most popular one-drop hits. For an entire fifteen minutes they had the crowd singing the songs word for word and before they stepped up the pace and switched to hip hop. They quickly progressed into the latest dancehall and then ended their set with some foundation songs. They then saluted their long time friends Master Lee and Zj Rush, congratulated Code Red on a successful event and 9 years strong in the business, and bid the crowd goodnight. “Irish & Chin, Mighty Crown and Code Red are really all one big family.” stated Master Lee. “They literally stopped in the middle of their preparation for ‘Death Before Dishonor’, came to our event, played, and then drove straight back to Kingston to catch the first flight out to Antigua for a clash they had over there the next day. That’s true friendship.” said Master Lee. Zj Rush from Code Red promptly took over at 2:30am. Even though the event was called ‘Code Red Anniversary’, it was also his ‘1 year Zipaversary’ to mark the completion of one full year for him on Zip Fm. The ‘Remix King’ played some of the material he’s become renowned for through his widely popular ‘Remix Mondays’ show. After a short and spicy segment he then transformed into the host for the live performance section of the event. The anniversary was billed to feature Aidonia, but was also blessed by the presence of the youngest legend in the making ‘Konshens’, the high energy duo ‘RDX’ and the Alliance’s new sensation ‘Poor & Boasy’, all of whom were eager to perform. RDX opened the show reeling through their many hits punch-line for punch-line with songs like ‘Everybody Dance’, ‘Bend ‘Over’ and their latest hit ‘Skip To My Luu’. Then came the cool, calm and collect Konshens touching on heartfelt topics for the patrons with songs like ‘Winner’, ‘This Means Money’ and ‘Keep Badmind Outta A Mi Heart’. After Konshens it was time for the man of the night, Mr. Code Red Anniversary, ‘Aidonia’. “Donia’s set was craaazzzyyy.” said Zj Rush. “He did like 20 songs. I was afraid that people were gonna cut after he was done at one point, lol.” continued Rush. “Yup, he did ‘Heart Is Hers’, the big song he has with Aisha Davis, ‘Bad People’ and ‘Tell Dem Me Bad Anyweh’. Those were the songs he got the most response for overall, even though it felt like every song he did flattened the place.” added Master Lee. Lastly ‘Poor And Boasy’ from the Alliance stepped up to close the performance segment with a brief stint of his most popular songs. After the performances ended, Zj Liquid took the music to the next level, wasting no time to get into the ‘girl dem bruck-out segment’. There was a time when it was just Zjs in action, where he and Zj Rush were playing as a team to hold the vibes into the early hours of the morning. The event was not only well attended overall, but was also honoured by the presence of some distinguished members of society, the entertainment industry, and media houses. Minister Phillip Paulwell and the regional manager for Margaritaville were in attendance. Hit producers ‘Russian’ and Equinoxx’ were also present. Representatives from Rockwildaz.com, Partyhaad.com, Entertainmentjade.com and Dj Wayne from Irie Fm were all there to enjoy the event.

04/09/10

Permalink 09:04:13 am, by amilnal
Categories: Culture, Business, News

XOOM.com tries to become the main remittance provider for the Jamaican Diaspora

Xoom Global Money Transfer, available online at Xoom.com, recently brokered a blockbuster partnership with one of Jamaica’s outstanding and most respected financial institutions, Capital & Credit Financial Group Limited, via its remittance arm Capital & Credit Remittance Limited. This exciting partnership provides Xoom.com customers with four times more locations for receiving money in Jamaica and provides immigrant communities in the Diaspora with an easy, convenient and inexpensive way to send money to Jamaica from the comfort of their computers. "Many of us at Xoom.com personally understand what it means to send money to our families living back home. That is why we are proud to make our service more convenient for our loved ones in Jamaica by offering more locations though our new partner Capital & Credit Reggae Money Express,” said Julian King, SVP of Business Development and Marketing at Xoom.com. Speaking about the new partnership, Sheron O. Dixon-Brown, General Manager, Capital & Credit Remittances Limited said, "Xoom.com is the first online remittance company that we have worked with at Capital & Credit Remittance Limited. With Xoom.com, the sender goes online, while the recipient collects their cash easily through more than 70 Capital & Credit Reggae Money Express locations islandwide." In addition to cash pick-up service through Capital & Credit Reggae Money Express locations, Xoom.com offers Bank Deposit service to all banks and credit unions in Jamaica, including quicker deposits to NCB and Scotiabank accounts. As part of the roll-out of the service, Xoom.com and Capital & Credit Reggae Money Express have embarked on an integrated media marketing campaign using print, television, radio and online, which will run simultaneously in Jamaica and the Tri-state area, to bring awareness about the advantages of using the service. "We at Capital & Credit are excited to be working closely with Xoom.com to get the word out to our families and friends in the community and we are sure that this collaboration will result in much value-added benefits to our customers," said Michelle Wilson-Reynolds, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Affairs for the Capital & Credit Financial Group Both companies are committed to fulfilling a vital need in the Jamaican Diaspora and this service will provide a premium service that will help Jamaican nationals living here in the United States transfer money back home using quick, secure, convenient and cost effective means. The service is also appealing to internet savvy Jamaicans who find it convenient sending cash while on the go, than the hassles of traffic, parking, limited store hours at agent locations.

04/08/10

Permalink 10:27:56 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Entertainment, Commentary

The Jamaican Bias with music

I've been meaning to write about this for some time but I've been putting it off for a while, because I was hoping to find more articles about a similar topic in one of the newspapers, but then I realized that I would probably never find such an article because most people actually just choose to ignore it, or simply dont believe that such a problem exists. The problem I am speaking about is the local bias that exist in our treatment of music.

Now first I would like to highlight that in no way is this article me trying to justify the lyrics of our dancehall artists, nor is it trying to say that the broadcasting commission that what they are doing is wrong. As a matter of fact I completely agree with what they have done, instead I wish that they had done it sooner before the problem spiralled to the level that it is currently at, that way artists would not have felt victimised by the ban. Instead I am simply going to talk about the varying levels of respect that music genres face in the local airwaves.

Now Jamaica will always be dancehall & reggae country, maybe its a matter of pride or maybe its just that really and truly its the best genre of music there is (after all they are both respected throughout the world). However recently there has been a growing influence coming from the rest of the Caribbean where Soca and Calypso music are beginning to take footholds in becoming mainstream, so much so that 2 of the major radio stations in Jamaica at least once per day have a good hour where they play Soca music. This is quite welcome by the listening public as you are guaranteed to find people who are palancing with the soca beat.

I dont have a problem with this soca influx either but my problem lies with the reception. The average person listening to soca music will say that its a very clean genre and there is no reason to place a ban on the songs because Soca music does not explicitly involve lude lyrics, unlike dancehall where the artists choose to say outloud what they mean. However I am lead to ask what about the dancehall songs that try to creatively hide away the content of their songs. and yes these songs actually do exist but they were taken off the air with that large ban that took place of dancehall songs.

I am led to ask the question... why? It seems to me that there is some sort of vendetta against dancehall music. After all I have been hearing censored versions of hip hop songs on the radio even though the rules of laid down by the same broadcasting commission says that absolutely no censored music should be on the radios. So its not only with Soca that there are exceptions, but also with hip hop as well, as if both genres do not both have the possibility of influencing their listenership (new word?)

Personally I think that there is a strange bias where Jamaican people simply do not want Jamaican music to strive... people may argue otherwise but there are obvious times where it seems like some genres get more leeway than the music which came from our homeland. I do hope I'm wrong though...

Permalink 09:57:11 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture

PEETAH MORGAN and GRAMPS pleases Trinidad

The Queen's Park Savannah in Soca country Trinidad was transformed into the land of reggae music for at least one night when crooner Gramps and his brother Peetah Morgan delivered a memorable performance last Saturday night that music fans in the twin island republic will be talking about for a long time. The Morgan brothers, who last performed in Trinidad 3 years ago as part of the Morgan Heritage ensemble came back this time as solo acts and what a soirée it was. The pair hit the stage at 11pm, moments after Gyptian had roused the crowd. Gramps had an immediate impact with "Come Back To Bed," which proved the perfect offering for the many beautiful ladies who howled for more. And more they got as the EME Awards winner for 'Album of the Year' segued into his current hit "For One Night" and "Wash The Tears" that struck a responsive chord and proved the perfect offering for the 15,000 fun loving music fans who were at his beck and call. Peetah who is touring as a solo acts also had his way with fans. His popularity and magnetism was clearly evident as he grooved on hit single "I'm In Love with You." As the set of the Morgan brothers would not be complete without a few vintage songs for the Morgan Heritage catalog, the two obliged fans with "Nothing To Smile About," "Tell Me How Come" and their mega hit "She’s Still Loving Me" which brought a Sumfest type vibe and energy to the stage. “It was truly an amazing performance especially when we touched songs from the Morgan Heritage catalog”, Gramps said moments after he made his way off stage. "This is my first solo performance in Trinidad and it is one that I will treasure for many years to come" he said. The following night it was on to Tobago, where Gramps and Peetah again reeled off many of their hit songs. Gramps' performance was entertaining and inspirational and peaked with a moving rendition of "Psalm 23" which was dedicated to incarcerated DJ Buju Banton. After his performance Gramps - who began his musical journey as a solo artist in 2009 - admitted in an interview that he has matured as a solo singer from successful tours with R&B heavy hitters John Legend, India Arie and Buju Banton. He has already had a number of chart toppers in 2010 and he is currently in studios recording tracks for his sophomore Country and R&B disc that will be released later this year. He will head across the Atlantic next week for a 2 week promotional tour that will include stops in France, England and Germany. He then heads to the USA on May 2 for his highly anticipated performance at the 29th annual International Reggae & World Music Awards at York College in Queens, NY where he is nominated for 5 awards. “New York is my home away from home so I am very excited to be up for 5 awards” he said.
Permalink 09:45:16 pm, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture, Commentary

In Artiste's Visa News: The Fallout

It has almost been a week since the US Fraud Prevention Unit decided that Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado, Ricky Trooper and Aidonia should not have the 'honour' of having a visa to travel to the United States of America. Naturally and unsurpisely, most Jamaicans see it as chickens coming home to roost as these dancehall artistes promote and sing about, lets just say, the more negative side of Jamaican life or life in general. So big was this news that I was called by a Bajan morning radio show to express my views on the issue. It even made the front page of last week's Sunday Gleaner with the headline "Dancehall hit! United States visa woes will cost Jamaican entertainers big". With observers such as Clyde McKenzie detailing within the article, the various costs this will have on these dancehall acts and their careers. "All of them are dancehall acts and the biggest market for dancehall music is the US, I would say, when it comes to shows and that sort of thing. The earning potential is severely impaired for these acts." Mckenzie also added "touring is the biggest income stream in the music business. It has always been for reggae and dancehall". With figures between US$6,000 and US$15,000 being qouted you can see why it would severely hit our artistes pockets. I personally interviewed noted songwriter and producer Mikey Bennett recently and he impressed upon me the true cost of such restrictions. "What you have to understand is that most dancehall promoters use Beenie Man, Bounty Killa and Mavado to headline their shows. With those artistes absent, well those promoters will have more problems selling the shows to the audience and thus putting those shows in jeoprady." My personal views on the issue is that because the now contentious nature of the relationship between the US goverment and the Jamaican government we all have to suffer. Our national export (dancehall) is now being affected and we all need to be cognizant of that fact. All that moralistic garbage spewed out by some of the general public about the state of our music can easily be countered by the fact that America entertainment is riddled with far more reprehensible lyrics and images than our dancehall artists could ever HOPE to be responsible for and they have made billions from it. So end by saying that this issue will pass soon and hopefully with time we all can weather the storm.

04/07/10

Permalink 10:42:25 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports, Culture, Commentary

Call for testing at champs

I'm going to ignore all the bad stuff thats been happening in Jamaica thats I've already written about on numerous occassions, after all no matter how much more new news comes up you cant constantly beat the same old dead horse. Instead I am going to focus on something different, something to get us to think a little bit. Now we all know that champs just came and went and the subsequent Carifta games have also come and gone and a man by the name of Dr. Paul Wright has made an interesting call for athletes who participate in these championships to be tested for drug use.

Now of course many people who hear about this suggestion will simply scoff at it and say that it is silly, afterall what kind of athlete would require the use of performancing enhancing substances at the high school level, after all its not as if high school level athletics is the high point of an athletes career is it? And then there is the cost factor, I mean what school can afford to put an athlete under a drug programme, especially sincethere is no amount of money to be made from Amateur Athletics.

But when one talks about all of that, one forgets one thing and that is school pride. Almost every Jamaican who has finished high school (especially those who went to traditional high schools) has a level of a high school pride that in some instances outshines even our national pride. I bet you if you ask any Jamaican about their education, even if they have attained a Masters degree or even a Phd they will ensure that they tell you that they went to ____High School/College and will also volunteer information about how good their school does in sports. Its a part of what growing up in Jamaica is all about, that is the reason why high schools such as Wolmers, KC, Calabar have alumni associations all over America, Europe and even Asia. I bet you that Wolmers has more alumni associations setup all around the world than even the UWI (the premier tertiary institution in the Caribbean).

Keen Skeen**Taken from Jamaica Observer

It is these Old Boys and Old Girls associations who can possibly fund these athletes success for the simple pride of saying that "Their school won ____ this year". It may sound really simple but lets expand our view a bit. In the recent Carifta trials Jamaica netted 72 medals, 32 of which were Gold medals. Our closest competitor had 32 medals less than us... So yes our gold medals alone puts us at the top of the competition. One can also add to this the fact that our athletes even at this level have also been record breakers. This is not to say however that Jamaica isn't just a country full of brilliant and talented athletes, after all there have rarely been situations where Jamaican athletes were caught doping. But they exist, and in a situation where more and more we find ourselves under the eye of the international media and under increased scrutiny from bodies such as the World Anti Doping Agency, it is important that we can prove that at all times our athletes are clean, after all we dont want anymore bad news.

Record medal hall at carifta**Taken from Jamaica Gleaner

There is one more reason why I also think it is important to probably take heed to the words of Dr. Wright and that is the experience of it all. If you look back at the Beijing games, there was a situation that occured where Jamaican athletes complained of being subject to exessive drug testing. Some complained of being tested over 4 or 5 times, and alot of them simply were not used to this treatment, however it is important to make these athletes know what is expected of them and what kind of restrictions they will have to be placed under before they can attempt to compete at the international level.

I therefore believe it is important to take a listen to what was stated by Dr. Wright, this way we can say that our athletes in fact fall under proper testing regimes, so we can lift up that final veil of international scrutiny that we fall under that says that we dont test our athletes properly at all levels. It would be a good move to improve the view of the Jamaica Anti Doping Commission and our athletes at all levels.

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Three Ministers

Three ministers - a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Southern Baptist and their wives were all on a cruise together. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship, and they all drowned. The next thing you know, they're standing before St.Peter.

As fate would have it, the first in line was the Presbyterian and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly and said, "I can't let you in. You were moral and upright, but you loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny."

St.Peter waved sadly, and poof! Down the chute to the 'Other Place' they went. Then came the Methodist. "Sorry, can't let you in either," said Saint Peter "You abstained from liquor and dancing and cards, but you loved food too much.

You loved food so much, you even married a woman named Candy!" Sadly, St. Peter waved again, and whang! Down the chute went the Methodists.

The Southern Baptist turned to his wife and whispered nervously, "It ain't looking good, Fanny."

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