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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Usain's Big Welcome and Mixed Feelings

On Monday September 8, 2008 the world's fastest man returned to his homeland and was greeted with a reception fit for a hero! The airport was a buzz wit anxious dignitaries, business representatives and well wishers who were ready to meet and great with the sprinter who brought glory to this nation in the Summer Olympics. This was indeed a great day in Jamaica, despite the heavy downpours of rain that sporadically drenched the city of Kingston, but that was not enough to deter the large throng of people who lined the streets just to see and even to meet and touch the sprint hero. The crowd was so large that is seems to have taken for ever for Usain Bolt to drive from the NMIA to the official reception ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus. This is only under normal circumstances a twenty minute drive. Jamaica is indeed proud and so much in love with Usain and his accomplishments of the Olympics. But something just seemed a bit troubling to me about this massive crowd that was on site to greet Usain. Why?

I totally agree with the fact that people are elated to see this great sprint star that made us proud on the international scene. I too am one of those proud Jamaicans, and very happy that a fellow Jamaican accomplished such a great feat. But I can't help the worried feeling I get when I see such a large crowd of people on the road and at the airport at that time of day, on that day of the week. This is a Monday and it was not yet five pm, which means that most places of employment were still open for business and normal working hours had not yet past. Yes I know this, because i was busy at work that said day. I find it hard to believe so many employers gave their employees time off from their busy schedules just to go welcome the sprint star! Also so many persons could not have had their day off on the same day! This could only mean one thing, there is a great number of Jamaicans who are unemployed and have absolutely nothing to do!

There is little wonder why Jamaica cannot pull itself out of this ever crumbling socioeconomic situation. There is a large part of the population that does not seem to have a stable quality job, and as such this country in not as productive as it should be in order to be economically successful. Too much human resource seems to be wasting away, which is quite evident not only from Usain's reception crowd, but by the parties and dances that are kept every single night of the week. To me this is indeed a dim prospect for our country despite the glimmer of hope that personalities such as Usain bring to the doomed island. If people are not employed to productive jobs that build their self-worth and the Jamaican economy then we will forever be in a downward spiral. I know there are a lot of underlying issues that cause this high rate of unemployment that i haven't addressed in this post, but people need fi work star!

12 commented:

Very insightful commentary. If the majority are really unemployed then things grim fuh real

@Abeni: I would go as extreme and say the majority, but it is a large number.

Not enough jobs, food too expensive, teachers have to spend too much of their time on discipline and not enough of teaching; problems of the world my man.

international probs, koolkat, international probs

I have a number of problems with this whole excitement over Bolt's return. First of all what about the other gold medalists? In fact, what about the other MEDALISTS? Where is the excitement over them? Is not just Bolt alone did go Beijing go win race man. What about the girls dem?

I noticed the unemployment thing a loooong time ago. My workplace is close to a funeral home in Mobay and whenever they have shoot outs or some local gunman is shot the bodies are usually taken to this particular funeral home. Mi dear, within a very short time there is one throng of people descending on the funeral home and overflowing into the road. The soup vendor and sky juice man show up and the throng swells until usually the police have to come in and do serious crowd control. Sometimes this occurs in the morning or late afternoon and I always shudder at the observation that none of the people there look as if they were on their way to work, coming from work or even concerned that they are missing work. Trust me, there are a LOT of unemployed people out there, a hell of a lot. And yes, it is very frightening.

@ Ann: You raised a very good point, I haven't heard much mention of the other athletes. It's as if all of Jamaica is caught up in this whole Bolt hype to the extent that they have forgotten about our other successful athletes. Bolt did an awesome job, but we need to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of our other athletes.

The level of unemployment is frightening indeed.

very sharp analysis, thanks, hadn't thought about that...but could the crowds have been mobilized by the political parties?

in general tho you're absolutely right, no one has a reliable estimate of unemployment numbers. countless people are eking out a living by hustling, prostitution and all manner of marginal self-created 'jobs'...

Excellent post Stunner!Yes indeed, the Jamaican reserve army of labour is massive. ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID

Yes, interesting and troubling observation of something we all know to be true but have no idea just how big the problem really is...although I think there is a huge amount of "semi employed/underemployed/self employed eg. road side vendors" etc. around.

Also the comment about the lack of attention on the other athletes needs to be addressed like now! What kind of message are we sending esp. to the women athletes?

Wow! What a way to look at it. IT would also indicate that the reems of the unemployed would line the streets, but alas, would they be welcomed to partake in the festivities at the Pegasus? I thinketh not. Wave from the road, but the meet and greet would be attended to by the official dignatories, who would probably all now wonder how to profit from Usain's fabulous feats.

well i the girls arent home yet so i guess we cant say yet that we not as excited about them, tho im sure this is just me not wanting to admit you're right.

they get home the same day as the planned parade so it should be just as warm...

Good points, Mr. Stunner.