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Sunday Brew — April 25, 2021


All it takes for something to go wrong is for misinformed ‘dark’ and dunce individuals to start spreading a rumour and hell breaks loose.

The nurse who gave now deceased media practitioner Michael Sharpe his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine seems to be a wanted woman, all because some idiots believe that it was the shot that led to Sharpe’s demise.

In a country in which you can’t take a chance with threats of whatever kind, the nurse involved, and nurses on a whole should never drop their guard. But I quite suspect that such behaviour is being carried out by people who have nothing to do except to waste time.

Sharpe’s long-time closest friend and a close colleague of mine when we worked at the CVM Communications Group – Kevin Savage – summed it up well in his appeal for the disgusting behaviour to stop, when he said that Sharpe would not have appreciated or liked anything like that.

Savage is a genuine Calabar man who usually speaks straight, one of the many men from the institution on Red Hills Road in St Andrew whom I admire to the ‘max’. He just wants people to stop spreading the rumours, which started several days before when it was making the rounds on social media that Sharpe had died.

Reckless and small talk should have no place on Jamaica’s agenda, if it is to prosper.

George Wright should just resign

This one will not go away. Although he has not confirmed that he is the man in the social media video battering a woman, duly elected Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Central, George Wright has some more questions to answer and decisions to make.

Boy, the Georges are having a tough time these days. Poor George Floyd has gone on to meet his maker, after a racist policeman in Minnesota cut his life short. Alas, he is not around to see what a humungous effect his legal case has had on the globe.

Now, in the spotlight is another George, though not of so much global significance, and while George Floyd did not put up a fight in his quest to duly stay alive, George Wright might have entered a ring in which he must face certain consequences.

Both will have contrasting reactions to a device that is running the world these days – the camera. Had there been no camera, murderer Derek Chauvin would have walked free, as there would likely be little or no evidence as compelling as the video that was tendered in court as evidence, even with strong testimonies from witnesses, including a pulmonologist, police officers, and other specialists.

The lesser thinker of the two Georges – that’s the Wright one – was said to have been caught in a scene that angered Jamaica and forced those who wore his party’s colours to say, “No man, this cannot work.”

In the video, a woman was slapped severely, and appeared handicapped to fight back. George Wright’s own political organisation – the Jamaica Labour Party – felt that he had something to do with it, and by forcing him to take a leave of absence, suggests that he did something wrong. Why take a leave of absence if something was not amiss?

On the basis of all that has happened, and how the JLP has treated the issue, Wright has only one option – he must resign from the House of Representatives and not do as his superiors have suggested, that of taking a leave of absence.

Reality is, even if he is not convicted in a court of law, a certain stigma will stick to him for a long time to come, thanks in large measure to his own political party. Anywhere he goes he will always be accused of doing something that is frowned upon, and being an elected member of the House of Representatives, there is no dodging the spotlight.

His lawyer’s feeble attempt at trying to project him as a man who did nothing out of the ordinary, should be shoved right back in the lap of the JLP… and the question asked of the party, why stay away from him then?

Wright should not do anymore wrong – he should simply walk away.

A victory for Al Sharpton

As I sat and digested the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, and watched some of the prominent black activists speak after the fact, my mind went back to 1987, when I was a very young and green (well, purple) reporter at The Gleaner newspaper.

It was smiles all around in a group that included Rev Jesse Jackson, a long-time American Democrat who years before put himself forward for president of the United States, Ben Crump, family lawyer for George Floyd’s people, attorneys Chris Stewart and Tony Romanucci, and, of course, Rev Al Sharpton.

For Rev Jackson and Rev Sharpton in particular, it must have marked a moment in history in which they could surely say: Justice has been served after a long struggle… and their struggle has been long.

Both, naturally linked in a huge way to the Church, have had challenging times with their personal lives, and questions have been asked about their own sincerity and sense of purpose. However, no one can question the commitment of these men of the cloth in the fight for equal rights and justice over several decades.

Back in early 1987, Rev Sharpton arrived in Jamaica with the legendary boxing promoter Don King. They came here to honour a black American-Jamaican man, Ken Sherwood, now deceased, who was behind the Burger King Restaurant franchise that had started to operate in Jamaica around three years before, with the Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award. Eddie Seaga, the Jamaican Prime Minister for most of the 1980s, was the first winner of the award in 1984.

I had the opportunity to interview King and Rev Sharpton, even driving with them in a huge luxury motor car, the name of which I do not remember. While King was puffing away at his perfumed cigars and choking the hell out of a non-smoker, Rev Sharpton was doing most of the talking, which was quite strange, as few could outdo King’s gift of the gab.

It started so fast, and the civil rights lesson ended with the addition of another black- consciousness convert. I did not know Sharpton’s name before then, and even in the end I kept asking him to tell me his name. Somehow, I kept hearing him say Al Chaplin, and after the fifth attempt, he slowed down and spelt it, “S-h-a-r-p-t-o-n, with a little Al before it,” in his humour-filled style.

Since then, I have followed his fortunes and remained in the corner of black consciousness, which was kick-started long before by men like Marcus Garvey, Michael Manley, Dudley Thompson, Malcolm X, and Walter Rodney, whose utterances to raw high school students in the 1970s resonated far and wide.

If it is one man who will have a sense of accomplishment after the George Floyd matter, it is the Rev Al Chaplin…oops Sharpton.

‘Champs’ ought to be managed properly

The greatest schoolboy event in the Western Hemisphere got a lifeline last week after it was announced that the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association had received approval to hold the annual boys’ and girls’ athletic championship next month, which was cancelled last year because of the effects of COVID-19.

There will be no spectators, we are told, only the athletes and officials from the various services. Unlike any other such event in history, the 2021 renewal of “Champs” will have to be managed effectively. The Ministry of Health and Wellness, which granted the approval, will have to be deeply involved in the process to ensure that there are few, or no breaches.

In reality, if we are to examine the work of the same ministry over the past year, it would have to be given a failing grade. The policymakers at the ministry are like lost sheep in the jungle of life, and even with curfews here, there and everywhere, there has not been a marked improvement in Jamaica’s situation. I’m not even sure what to call it, but to have reduced daily testing from roughly 2,000 down to 400 a day, for a while, is really not what the people of a country should be getting.

So, enter Champs, and pertinent questions must therefore be asked of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which must play an important role in the staging of the event. Hundreds of young men and women will be competing – many of them seeking to record performances that will force recruits from overseas-based institutions of higher learning to take note.

In much the same way that English, and by extension, European football is being run; how the Indian Premier League is going on despite the unfortunate rise in numbers in that country; and even closer to home how the West Indies hosted Sri Lanka in a recent cricket series, the thinkers linked to Champs must function like engineers – with precision and accuracy.

Failures cannot be tolerated, for too many lives are at stake, and you can search with the finest comb, how many athletes would have even started the process of vaccination as yet. This is a delicate issue that requires independent and level-headed thinking. COVID-19 does not play…something far too many Jamaicans have failed to grasp.

Nurses… be firm against threats

All it takes for something to go wrong is for misinformed ‘dark’ and dunce individuals to start spreading a rumour and hell breaks loose.

The nurse who gave now deceased media practitioner Michael Sharpe his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine seems to be a wanted woman, all because some idiots believe that it was the shot that led to Sharpe’s demise.

In a country in which you can’t take a chance with threats of whatever kind, the nurse involved, and nurses on a whole should never drop their guard. But I quite suspect that such behaviour is being carried out by people who have nothing to do except to waste time.

Sharpe’s long-time closest friend and a close colleague of mine when we worked at the CVM Communications Group – Kevin Savage – summed it up well in his appeal for the disgusting behaviour to stop, when he said that Sharpe would not have appreciated or liked anything like that.

Savage is a genuine Calabar man who usually speaks straight, one of the many men from the institution on Red Hills Road in St Andrew whom I admire to the ‘max’. He just wants people to stop spreading the rumours, which started several days before when it was making the rounds on social media that Sharpe had died.

Reckless and small talk should have no place on Jamaica’s agenda, if it is to prosper.

 

 

 

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