Seen from afar, my jaw drops an inch or more when I read news from home. Assuming that the reports are right, I will let my flabber be gasted by these gems.
Information Minister warns critics about scaring off investors with their criticism: One report said the minister mentioned the country needed all the investment it could get. As they say in England, “Cobblers!”
If investment is not really productive, a country needs it like it needs a tsunami hitting its shores. It’s ironic that one ‘investment’ that the country didn’t need is playing out today as Carlos Hill is being tried for his ‘fleece-me-quick’ scheme. Jamaica has become Scamville–investment we don’t need. Jamaica has become drug entrepot–investment we don’t need. Jamaica has become illegal gun mall–investment we don’t need.
Serious and reputable investors usually have no problems giving you information about their financial health or their project history. Problems satisfying due diligence needs are red flags: if they are fluttering, you better know for sure in whose hands they’re held.
What often puts off investors is uncertainty. Like Cabinet rejecting an investment group but giving a minister freedom to continue discussion with the group. When the information minister then says she does not know where such discussions are, most investors are looking to put their money elsewhere.
Clueless about developing young talent but ready to ride their success. Jamaicans love being associated with winners: the country is bandwagon central. So, when Dustin Brown took Rafael Nadal to the woodshed yesterday at Wimbledon, he was showered with all the love that comes once the adjective ‘Jamaican’ was attached to anything ‘Dreddy’ touched. The Observer blared ‘Jamaican -born…’ above its story of the win. Oops! Wrong!
Some know the back story about how the young tennis player, born in Germany but moving to Jamaica when 12, and getting into tennis, later sought support from the Jamaican Tennis Association, who honestly said they were doing all they could, which was almost nothing. Sadly, tennis players can’t survive long on dumpling and butter. The player approached the British and then German associations, to which he could claim links. German got the nod and the young man was able to secure financial and coaching support. He’s not set the world alight by soaring up the rankings, but became at least a solid player on the Challenger circuit. He had to qualify a lot for topline ATP tournaments and caused a few upsets on his favourite surface, grass. He beat Rafael Nadal last year at Halle. Then, at Wimbledon, he played the game of his life to beat the two-time Wimbledon champion in 4 sets, on Centre Court.
Brown and his flowing dreadlocks have become iconic in hours.
He looks like the stereotypical Jamaican, yet he’s German, with a Jamaican father. Born there and lived most of his life in Germany. Given his lifeline by Germany. Sporting German colours during his post match interview. Speaking English with a distinct German lilt. Ready to head back there to play club tennis, if he’d lost.
He’s the epitome of what happens a lot in poorer countries. Talent doesn’t get to flourish in all fields. It’s part of the cycle that keeps the countries where they are.
Jamaica has done well to find a sporting niche and ploughs resources and attention into it. That’s track and field. It needs other countries to help make others sports players better–swimmers, footballers, and others know that.
Few have the luck of being ready to play for Jamaica but firmly embedded in another national structure. Dustin does. Power to him. Good luck in the next match. Get into the top 100 again and make more main draws. Make tennis refreshing.