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London Olympic Gold and The Caribbean Image

THE remarkable feats of Jamaican athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games and, to a lesser extent, those of Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, must make all citizens of our Caribbean Community quite proud to be part of the chain of islands and mainland territories that comprise this microcosm of peoples of diverse ethnicities, cultures, economic and political systems of the world.

It’s a good time to be a citizen of the Caribbean. As a journalist of this region I join in saluting the superhero Usain Bolt, the Jamaican who is the fastest runner on this planet, and his admirable colleagues Yohan Blake and Waren Weir, for their record-breaking stunning clean sweep of the men’s 200-metre sprint on Thursday.

As a people we have grown accustomed to the selfflagellation syndrome, beating up ourselves when overwhelmed by myriad social, economic and political woes, to the extent, too often, of ignoring our achievements that others easily recognise before we join in the applause.

However, starting with the stunning performances and medal achievements by Cuba in earlier Olympic years, our Caricom patch of the greater Caribbean has been increasingly moving away from narrow perspectives to joyfully embracing the achievements of all fellow citizens, predominantly so in the fields of sport and the performing arts.

The brave, heart-warming achievements of our athletes are increasingly doing what our cricketers have for so long been doing — making us happy and proud, when not disappointing us with their failures.

For Jamaica, the achievements of its athletes will forever be recalled by the gold, silver and bronze medals achieved in this year when it marks its Golden Jubilee of political Independence from Britain, the former colonial ruler hosting the 2012 Olympic Games.

As the Barbados Daily Nation editorially noted this past week, “Jamaica, a very open, multi-party democracy, has long been a pacesetter in the areas of politics, culture, education and sports in our region… Its downside as a crime-ridden society with notorious gun-running, narco-trafficking gangsters who have spawned an epidemic in killings and armed robberies continues to be exposed, analysed and lamented by the country’s media. At the same time, the media remain quite forthcoming in reporting and applauding the vibrancy and creativity of national achievements in sports, creative and performing arts, as well as commending the richness of its more famous cuisine…”

–  By Rickey Singh
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