Jamaica has had a fantastic year of sports achievement to date and the year is by no means finished. We have had amongst other successes, excellent performances by the track and field team and our swimmers at the Pan American Games in Toronto, the Paralympians have again done us proud at their Pan American Games events, the badminton team has excelled in the recent Pan American championships with several gold medals, the men’s squash team was dominant in the Caribbean. Our martial arts competitors continue to demonstrate its world class, the Special Olympians came out on top in many of their events, the Reggae Boyz have had two excellent tournament performances which have catapulted them to 52nd in the world ranking, the Netball team maintained their fourth place in the world rankings and Alia Atkinson capped it all by equalling a world record in her pet event. There were others too whose performances simply serve to reinforce the notion that in the world of sport, we are indeed a dominant force to reckon with and frequently “punch above our weight class.” But all of these tremendous performances were before our recent excursion to the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing for the eagerly awaited IAAF World Championships. This Stadium evokes very pleasant memories for all Jamaicans and for me holds a very special place in my own heart, having been the head of the Olympic team when we drew a line of demarcation between our consistently good world class performances at the Olympic Games since 1948 and the sharp elevation to the top of the world with the superlative triumphs of legends Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce amongst others in the 2008 Olympics Games. Greatest coaches We have undoubtedly the greatest track and field coaches in the world in Glen Mills and Stephen Francis. No debate. Any coach who has presided over the achievements of Usain Bolt, (the greatest athlete of all time), over the last eight years as Mills has done, has to be given the accolade of the greatest coach. Argument over. You may not always understand Francis but there is no other coach that gets the best out of the athletes like he does. I for one seriously questioned his judgement, even his motives when he pulled Elaine Thompson from the 100 metres at the trials, but in retrospect all credit must be due to him for this decisive action, seemingly against all good sense and foresight. Such is the genius of the man. Maurice Wilson, perhaps not as well known to the sporting world as these two, is close on the heels of these greats and he and the rest of the coaching staff and management team deserve all our accolades for a job excellently done in maintaining harmony and team spirit throughout and laying the groundwork for our magnificent performances.. These are never easy tasks in this highly charged environment and they deserve the credit for minimising any negatives that existed and to foster the level of peace of mind for the athletes to deliver as well as they did. The way forward Rio de Janeiro is the next big stop, with the 2016 Olympic Games. Whilst track and field athletics represent our flagship sports, I have long maintained that we can achieve much better success in other sports with a greater commitment to growing these sports both by the national federations and by corporate Jamaica. The national cupboard is full of extremely talented athletes that are simply waiting to explode on the international scene. Based on the standouts that we saw at the 2015 Boys and Girls’ Athletics championships, we may very well see some of them in Rio. The future of our sports is secure. Adequate return on investment is guaranteed. I urge corporate Jamaica to “buy” into the sports brand Jamaica now with a mind to reaping significant returns in the near future. Sports is a major, massive positive for Jamaica. Government with its limited resources must be the facilitators of this growth and expansion, with the private sector being the real engines of growth. Sports should be treated as any other investment option. Corporate Jamaica would have watched with excitement and financial interest over the last two weeks and must now be ready to pump funds to gain satisfactory reward on their investment. The case for a National Sports Museum We have become accustomed to excelling at these major Games to the extent that we now tend to take these performances for granted. We now quite often expect that we will repeat the 1,2,3 positions in many of the events we compete in, forgetting even momentarily that these were achieved against the best in the world in those events. This is not a good thing as when we don’t achieve this and don’t live up to the expectations, the disappointment is great amongst both players and supporters. The netballers can attest to this. The recent World Championship performances in Beijing have filled us all with a significant degree of national pride and joy and again fostered a temporary halt to crime and violence in the society. There is a need for more events and performances like these that can bond us together in this way. But I want to cast a different perspective on the Gold Medal winning performances of our team at the World Championships in Beijing, by putting the achievements in the context of medals won versus population size. When we do this, it will be truly obvious to all that as a country, Jamaica is indeed “punching well above our weight class”. Overall Medal count Beijing 2015 MEDAL TALLY G S B TOTAL KENYA 7 6 3 16 JAMAICA 7 2 3 12 USA 6 6 6 18 BRITAIN 4 1 2 7 ETHIOPIA 3 3 2 8 POLAND 3 1 4 8 CANADA 2 3 3 8 GERMANY 2 3 3 8 RUSSIA 2 1 1 4 CUBA 2 1 0 3 Jamaica’s performance in the IAAF World Championship meant we ended up second to Kenya, on the basis of them winning more medals overall, despite the two countries being equal on the gold medal count. This placed us above the mighty USA who, although winning more medals overall, had one less gold medal than Jamaica. Incidentally, if we needed anything to convince us that we are indeed the sprint champions of the world, we should note that Jamaica won six of its seven gold medals on the track, compared to the two that the USA won on the track. Only three countries earned more than 10 medals in the championships – Kenya, Jamaica and the USA. But whilst these data are convincing enough, a calculation of Jamaica’s performance can only be considered superlative when the achievement is measured in terms of medals won by size of population, more specifically by per 1,000,000 population. RANKING OF COUNTRIES IN 2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BEIJING BY 1,000,000 POPULATION BY NUMBER OF GOLD MEDALS WON COUNTRY POPULATION # OF GOLD MEDALS WON SCORE PER 1,000,000 POPULATION RANKING JAMAICA 2,800,000 7 2.5 1 CUBA 11,270,000 2 .177 2 KENYA 44,400,000 7 .158 3 POLAND 38,500,000 3 .077 4 BRITAIN 60,000,000 4 .066 5 CANADA 35,200,000 2 .056 6 ETHIOPIA 94,000,000 3 .031 7 GERMANY 80,600,000 2 .024 8 USA 318,900,000 6 .018 9 RUSSIA 143,500,000 2 .013 10 Jamaica by virtue of its seven Gold medals and smallest population amongst the top 10 countries, (2,800,000) won 2.5 gold medals for every 1,000,000 of its population to rank above all other countries on this scale. No other country closely approximates even one gold medal per 1,000,000 population with Cuba ranking second, significantly below Jamaica at .177 gold medals per 1,000,000 population. Where is the United States with its 318 million people? The USA won .018 gold medals per 1,000,000 population to rank not third on this scale but ninth overall. Put another way, Jamaica won more gold medals per 1,000,000 population than all the other countries ranked in the top ten combined, as these nine including Cuba, Kenya, Poland, Great Britain, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, United States and Russia were only able to amass .607 gold medals per 1,000,000 population compared to Jamaica’s 2.5 gold medals per 1,000,000 population. When this data is examined against the background of the total number of medals won by each country, irrespective of colour, the data is no less convincing. With our 12 medals won overall, just one less than our all time high of 13, Jamaica won 4.3 medals per 1,000,000 population again significantly better than the second ranked country on this scale, Great Britain with 1.16 medals per 1,000,000 population based on its 60,000,000 persons. In stark terms, the question must be asked what is it that makes a country with 2.8 million persons so much better at track and field than other countries whose population sizes are so vastly greater than Jamaica. RANKING OF COUNTRIES IN 2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BEIJING BY 1,000,000 POPULATION BY NUMBER OF TOTAL MEDALS WON COUNTRY POPULATION # OF TOTAL MEDALS WON SCORE PER 1,000,000 POPULATION RANKING JAMAICA 2,800,000 12 4.30 1 GREAT BRITAIN 60,000,000 7 1.16 2 KENYA 44,400,000 16 .360 3 CUBA 11,270,000 3 .266 4 CANADA 35,200,000 3 .227 5 POLAND 38,500,000 8 .207 6 GERMANY 80,600,000 8 .099 7 ETHIOPIA 94,000,000 8 .085 8 UNITED STATES 318,890,000 18 .056 9 RUSSIA 143,500,000 4 .027 10 At 4.3 medals won per 1,000,000 population, Jamaica not only again ranks comfortably first overall, but that number outstrips the 2.49 medals won per 1,000,000 population in total across all the other nine countries in the top ten. The United States and Russia with a combined population of close to 500,000,000 earned a total of .083 medals won per 1,000,000, far less than one-tenth of a medal per 1,000,000 if one can use this measure. So let us examine some of those performances that contributed to these record breaking an truly amazing statistics. Usain Bolt (2), Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce (1) and Danielle Williams (1) all won individual gold medals. Bolt, in particular, is undoubtedly already a legend and in my books Shelley-Ann is fast approaching this status. Bolt is a phenomenon, a one of a kind athlete that comes along once every 50 years. But the entire team, including those who did not earn a medal, performed magnificently and based on our performances since Beijing, the consistency with which we are now producing these results has cemented us as the top sprint country in the world, bar none. There is no disputing this. But what do we attribute this to? The jury is still out. Which leads me to my final point. Despite our tremendous consistent performances at the track and field level since 1948, the undeniable dominance over the last 10 years or so, as well as world class achievements in a number of other sports where we have had world champions and other outstanding world class athletes, Jamaica does not yet have a National Sports Museum to showcase these achievements. This is unimaginable. A National Sports Museum would be an amazing attraction for locals and tourists alike. Just think of the sporting treasures collected through over 80 years of international sports excellence that could be displayed and interactively mounted. Government has now made concrete moves to establish this Sports Museum with a location now identified within the Stadium complex, next door to the Bob Marley statue, that in itself a major tourist attraction. Cabinet approval has been obtained and initial funds allocated for this purpose. Official announcements have been made to this effect. But there are sceptics who will not believe this will happen until they see more concrete steps. Well, the government is moving swiftly to tie up more initial sponsors for the realisation of this National Sports Museum. This is a golden opportunity for corporate Jamaica to show it fully understands the tremendous Investment that is sports and for them to help build this significant monument to our legends and heroes in sports. We hope that the private sector/corporate Jamaica will speedily embrace the concept and move without reservation to strongly support its completion. Look at it from the perspective of an investment that can only pay rich dividends over the medium and longer term. The extent to which sports has placed Jamaica on the map deserves no less. – Don Anderson, CD has been a team official for Jamaica at seven Olympics Games, head of delegation to the last five of these Games and a former vice president of the Jamaica Olympic Association for 32 years.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has met with the new Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.The Liberian President received Mr. Ahmed and his delegation at her Foreign Ministry office during a courtesy call on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, where brief acquaintance pleasantries were exchanged. Mr. Ahmed, a Mauritanian, replaces Mr. Anthony Banbury. Special Representative Banbury was the first envoy appointed by UN0 Secretary Ban Ki-Moon during the heat of the Ebola crisis in the sub-region. He initially noted that his mandate was to eradicate the virus from the sub-region. Mr. Banbury’s tour of duty ended over the weekend, thereby ushering in the new envoy.President Sirleaf welcomed the new Head of UMEER to Liberia and described the work of his predecessor as excellent and very supportive of the country’s fight to contain the deadly ebola virus disease.“Your predecessor effectively spearheaded the operations of UMEER with huge progress. Even though the country still has a lot to be done with regards to Ebola, much was achieved with the assistance and cooperation of UNMEER,” President Sirleaf indicated.She pledged her government’s support to the transitional process in UNMEER and emphasized the need for improved and strengthened regional collaboration and cooperation in the continued fight against the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.She named exchange of information, experiences and best practices as important elements required to enhance regional cooperation and collaboration in the Ebola fight, thereby acknowledging that some level of regional collaboration is taking place, but still below the level it ought to be and stressed that the regional dimension of the virus makes it difficult for progress to be made in one country without the corresponding progress in the others.The new UNMEER Head, Cheikh Ahmed, expressed appreciation for the leadership and commitment of the Liberian government, which he considers the main factor responsible for the level of progress made in Liberia’s fight against the further spread of the Ebola virus disease.He pointed out that the mechanism for coordination may not be perfect but has impacted the Ebola fight in Liberia and the region very efficiently.Mr. Ahmed indicated that UNMEER will also focus on helping government reactivate the educational system and declared the mission’s support to the back to school effort. He, however, advised that appropriate measures and processes be put into place to protect both the students and staff as Ebola is still active in Liberia.Mr. Ahmed was accompanied by the Secretary General’s Special Representative of the UN Mission in Liberia, Karin Landgren; UN Ebola Envoy, David Nabarro; and Mr. Peter Graff; while Health Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale; Minister of State Without Portfolio, Mr. Sylvester Grigsby; and Dr. Emmanuel Dolo, were also in attendance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Story Highlights As such, he said that strategic partnerships have been forged with the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to aid in the setting up of a Sector Skills Council. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is working to ensure that the local labour force is equipped with the skills that are demanded by investors.As such, he said that strategic partnerships have been forged with the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to aid in the setting up of a Sector Skills Council.Mr. Vaz said that establishment of the body is part of recommendations arising from the Labour Market Forum held in April through contribution from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).He informed that apprenticeship programmes will be created with support from the private sector “to address skill gaps experienced by employers (which) will lead to greater employment”.Mr. Vaz was speaking at the official opening of Honey Bun Limited’s new US$1-million warehouse facility, at its Retirement Crescent headquarters in Kingston on May 3.He said that the Government is continuing its pursuit of policies that will boost job creation and economic growth.“These policies are (already) bearing fruit as unemployment continues to trend downwards. In January this year, the unemployment rate was 9.6 per cent, the lowest it has been for at least a decade. This figure represents a decrease of 3.1 per cent when compared to 12.7 per cent in 2017,” he indicated.Minister Vaz commended Honey Bun on the new facility, which, he said, “signals the confidence of the private sector in the economy”.The 11,500 square-foot space, built on the site of the former studio of veteran Reggae Producer, Joe Gibbs, will enable Honey Bun to increase production and exports as well as boost employment by 100 persons.Honey Bun Executive Chairman, Herbert Chong, said that the new warehouse will enable the company to operate at maximum capacity “utilising every inch of space in the most effective way”.It has been named in honour of the company’s late non-executive Board member and mentor to the Board, Sushil Jain.Founded in 1982, Honey Bun is the fastest-growing wholesale bakery in Jamaica, specialising in producing packaged pastries and baked snacks.It is the first Jamaican bakery to be Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)-certified, and became publicly listed on the Jamaica Junior Stock Market in 2011.Mr. Chong said that through the junior market the company has been able to realise “many of its accomplishments”. Mr. Vaz said that establishment of the body is part of recommendations arising from the Labour Market Forum held in April through contribution from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is working to ensure that the local labour force is equipped with the skills that are demanded by investors.
OTTAWA — A Chinese government spokesman says it is not “convenient” to discuss the charges against two Canadians detained in China despite an assertion by the country’s top prosecutor that they broke the law.Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang offered that explanation during a press conference in Beijing today, one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.The two were detained last month in what is widely viewed as Chinese retaliation for Canada’s arrest of high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, by the RCMP in Vancouver at the request of the United States.The U.S. wants Meng to face fraud charges in the U.S. and she has been released on bail and is living in an upscale Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.Little is known about Kovrig’s or Spavor’s circumstances, because they’ve each had only a single consular visit by Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, last month.China’s chief prosecutor, Zhang Jun, told a Beijing briefing today “without a doubt” Kovrig and Spavor broke the country’s laws and are being investigated.At a regular foreign-ministry briefing, Lu refused to elaborate on the nature of the charges.“We have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China’s national security,” said Lu. “It is not convenient to disclose more information now.”Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat who was on a leave from Global Affairs Canada and was working in Beijing for the International Crisis Group, an organization that has written critically about China in the past.Spavor is an entrepreneur who organized tours to North Korea.A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada’s call for the release of the two men.“We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians last month and call for their immediate release,” said Adam Austen.The government has sought the support of key allies in pressuring China to release Kovrig and Spavor.The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press