Sir Howard Cooke and I have never met before this morning, when I read a report of his recent comments, in The Jamaica Observer–‘We are a great people‘. Do I hear an “Amen!”? SIr Howard said “You must spend more time telling people about the great work you are doing. We need good stories about Jamaica and Jamaicans to be told.” I have been trying to dig that furrow for more than Jamaica in recent times, but I am happy to put all my digging into that channel.
A video of a recent interview between Usain Bolt and Jonathan Ross in London is going the rounds, and people will see our living legend and think we are all great. People will have read and heard recent stories of the doping infractions of some of Bolt’s fellow athletic starts and think that Jamaicans are just like the rest or worse. The news of violent killings within the country continue to flow on a daily basis and hands will be raised and wailing voices will yell and knees will bend in a ‘why are we so wicked to each other?’ manner. Today’s Gleaner leader column focuses on the need for public sector reforms. While there is much merit in getting the public sector to work better for us all, we should not fall into the trap of thinking or arguing that the private sector does all things better, and we need to bring them also up to mark. None of us have laurels on which to rest.
Another Independence Day is approaching, and it would have been a wonderful thing to have seen or heard ‘great Jamaica’ stories, say every week, coming out of government in some form. That would help raise people’s consciousness to what they can aspire. I have my favourites, and so should everyone. My mind always turns to Bob Marley. But, Miss Louise Bennett is always close behind in my heart. But, it could be Marcus Garvey, too. The ‘greatness’ does not have to be limited to big names and those who have had the limelight of public acclaim. I think of the lady who was working the Immigration Desk at the airport several months ago, and was ready to engage in a personal conversation that made me very happy to be entering Jamaica, and gave a smile instead of a sour look. I think of the young man and woman selling me corn soup and boiled corn on the street in Mandeville, to whom I feigned outrage–“Nuh dumplin’?” They each and all make Jamaica a better place.
I’m going add some ‘people’ whom I just ‘met’ on Facebook. I want to take my in-laws to Rockfort Mineral Baths (RMB); they have the aches and pains that get to us all as we age. I sent RMB a message about opening hours at 8am this morning, and by 8.03 I had a reply. We can be the best, and when we say “No wan nuh betta dan wi!” let’s mean it.
I’m heading to Mandeville this morning to see a great Jamaican–my father–who was married to another great Jamaican–my mother.