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Athletes

Towards a better Jamaica

Disclaimer: This was inspired by a Time Magazine article I read some years ago.

Social graces have declined significantly and now, more than ever, soft skills are needed. The resources of developing countries, like Jamaica, have been used in national security, health and education, but we should spare some for Social Development.

Here are some ways, we can all give back!

1. SUPPORT LEGISLATION: We should make it compulsory for every Jamaican from 14 years up serve a community group, non-for-profit organization or a sporting organization. This is an expansion of our National Youth Service
2. TAKE A TOUR: We should encourage families to take a tour of Jamaica, so we can see how our brothers and sisters exist/survive.
3. JOIN THE LIBRARY (online or the Physical one): This is an encouragement for all of us to read, this is in addition to the school texts…it is also a hint to Jamaican writers to write more of our own stories.
4. START YOUNG: Imagine if you wanted to be a great football player, you would start dribbling from as early as eight years old, well since so many of our social graces have declined, get in the game early. Eat out once in a while, visit a neighbor, attend church, go our of town to an event etc
5. KNOW HOW PARLIAMENT WORKS: Know who your political representatives are and what their roles are. In other words, re-enter the CIVIC world.
6. VOLUNTEER: Go to a nursing home, a hospital, a prison facility, a school in your community; offer your service Free of Charge
7. EXERCISE: Walk 20 minutes a day for three days a week. Obesity and Heart related diseases are top in the list of killers of “black” people
8. IGNORE YOUR AGE: Not because you are a little older than some, do from “1” to “8” and stick to it. Retirement should be dynamic
9. TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY: Pass on the knowledge you have and the world will be a better place. Share, Share, Share
10. PREPARE FOR THE WORST: At all times, expect the worst, but if you are prepared you will be able to handle the challenges.

Let’s work for a better JAMAICA.

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Athletes

On becoming 52

The last year has been one of interesting twists and turns. And I was more or less ready. So let’s recap. In April 2019, I took some time… to relax my soul and spirit. Since 1998, I have been pretty much on the road in several high intensity jobs where I was constantly outing fires here, there and everywhere. I was like the fixer… well, that is what folks said.

Well, after all that, I needed a fix. So I took the time.

I had to admit to myself that I was burnt out, as for 21 years, I was in posts and organizations that required keen attention and effective management of people. I felt accomplished. In between that I wrote two books and started a third (which will hit the shelf by March 2021). But, boy, was I tired!

You see, burn out is real. It is a feeling, you have never felt before. But I took my time to step back from the hustle… and bustle. While, rest, for example, eight hours sleep was important, it was the brain that needed the most break for me. For the last year and a half, I did not write a speech for any senior official, first point of the break. I also, only took fun trips. I would also make my phone run out of charge from time to time and know that no one was depending on me to return a call.

Self care became way more important – so haircuts, spa days and long walks and drives, were on top of the list. I was refreshing the mind and spirit. I could feel it working. Sleep was now more comfortable and just a little longer. Meetings were set on my schedule. I just took the time.

Even with COVID on, I was managing the time better. Teaching/Lecturing provided a real escape. I really love teaching. I only teach what I know, so it was easy. Three adult groups stretching as far as the Americas. And the feedback was EXCELLENT. Coincidentally, last week (November 21) was the last session for the year which has turned out to be quite timely.

So here we are, on becoming 52, some real lessons for me… Life goes on. Keep a small but meaningful team around you. FAMILY is everything, so are friends! Have a glass of wine every now and again and read subject matters you have not read before.

Here’s to 52!

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Advertising Athletes Branding Cricket Entertainment Jamaica Sport Track and Field

Caribbean Sport Industry has massive potential

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The value of the sport industry globally is estimated at US $488.5 billion. The breakdown per region globally is also estimated to look like

  • Europe, Middle East & Africa      48 per cent
  • North America                           38 per cent
  • Asia and the Pacific                    13 per cent
  • Caribbean and Latin America    6 per cent

This odd number makes it up to 105 per cent (for the Math experts), but this is what I will be using as my guide for this conversation.

We want to look at the Caribbean Sport Industry, one which, over the years, has made a considerable impact on the field of play, but has not in any way scratched the surface of its potential of its economic earnings.

The key success factors for sport as an economic driver, looks at

  • Events
    • Tickets
    • Media Rights
    • Sponsorship
  • Apparel and Equipment
  • Fitness and Training
  • Venues, Food & Beverage, Betting

In the region, cricket has been the most consistent to fulfill any of the above economic activities listed above. With 10 international cricket venues across the region, Cricket West Indies (formerly West Indies Cricket Board) has hosted other cricketing nations across the region.

TV Rights are considerable for incoming tours from India, Australia and England for the most part. While the revised Super50 and 4-day Championship have been able to attract a sizeable amount. With the standard expenses of CWI estimated to be about $45million annually, the rights deals use that as a base to negotiate from. The figures have really never been made public, but we guess the incoming India tours attract the highest amount. Ticketing and Sponsorship are next in line and then a gear deal.

The region has an impressive list of elite athletes in several sporting disciplines. These range from cricket, track & field, netball, basketball, swimming, volleyball, football among others. The brands in the region should be prepared to invest.

The world recognizes our athletes and we should too. There are a host of products and services that can be aligned with the overall performances (on and off the field). Agents and Managers should collaborate to seek the support as they package our athletes who represent the region consistently.

Two important calls

  1. Sport Ministers should meet before the end of the first quarter 2021 and devise a policy plan to upgrade its policy guidelines, while seeking to look at overall preparation for International competitions in Football, Netball, Tack and Field, Cricket and the other major sporting events for the next four years
  2. I am challenging the agents and managers based in the Caribbean to assemble and discuss the packaging methodologies for the current elite athletes and teams, while looking at the athletes they are preparing for the future

Well maybe three, I am calling out to the major Caribbean Brands to have their marketing teams re-consider investment opportunities for elite teams and athletes.

On another matter

A 2018 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report says the Latin America and the Caribbean lags in sport spending. The report stated that “the region could get a development boost from sport activities that improve the region’s social and health benefits.” The report also warned that the programs must be “properly designed and monitored.’

The report also showed that the region needs to spend more on sport, “not just to produce better athletes, but also to foster happier, less violent and healthier societies. To gain the social benefits, there is need for better sport programs and evaluate those that already exist.”

The full report is available here https://www.iadb.org/en/news/idb-report-underscores-social-benefits-sports-development-warns-against-program-design-flaws

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Education Entertainment Jamaica

MARCUS GARVEY BRINGS TOGETHER 50 GLOBAL SCHOLARS

KINGSTON, Jamaica – One man, two conversations, almost 50 global scholars, educators, activists, advocates and commentators gathered to discuss the work and life of Marcus Garvey.

Dr Julius Garvey supported by the Whirlwind Group and The Mico University College engaged the world in the Education of the African Child and the Power of Education using Marcus Garvey’s body of work as the basis for the discussion.

What is evident is Garvey’s work continues to influence a significant part of what happens in the black community in and out of the classroom, in the streets, in the communities and in spaces of those who seek to identify “who they are and what they would like to become.”

The topics explored, were not limited to just dialog, but to focus on finding solutions around the accomplishments of the African Community surrounding, but not limited to:

  • Pedagogy and the way we teach
  • Teaching and Learning of Garveyism
  • Combating Anti-social behavior
  • Garvey’s inspiration for Music and Musicians
  • How Garveyism can be used to empower a Nation

“The powerful discussions were a delight for us here at the Institute and we were delighted to be able to organize this with the Mico team,” says Dr Garvey. “The strength, we believe is in the Unity, deemed significant, in keeping with my father’s way of working.”

Professor Rupert Lewis, whose work as a Garveyite stands out, was part of the Mico Team and praised the effort of the conference. He noted that the presentations were “grounded in Garvey’s philosophy and applied Garveyism in business, technology and education.” Professor Lewis is already ready for next year’s renewal.

The organizing team will have highlights of the conference available soon on Garvey TV.

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Education Jamaica

A Conversation – Education of the African Child inspired by Marcus Garvey

KINGSTON, Jamaica – This year, the Marcus Garvey Institute for Human Development partnered with the Whirlwind group to offer its first ever, Strictly Roots Spring Water Scholarship to Zahara Virgo, the young lady whose case regarding her being blocked from school due to her afro locks went all the way to the Jamaican Supreme Court ironically on July 31, the day before Emancipation is celebrated. The Scholarship has allowed her to find alternate private schooling proudly letting her locks flow.

The two entities who share the same CEO, Garveyite and businessman Michael Dawson, have teamed for another great collaboration which will culminate in a three-day conference titled, “Education of the African Child”, to be hosted virtually, October 16-18, 2020.

Dawson commented, “it is very humbling to partner with Dr. Julius Garvey as he works tirelessly to continue his father’s work towards African unity.” The partnership will bring an unparalleled diversified line up of international Pan Africanists, virtually, to the shores of Jamaica; including the creator of Kwanzaa;  a Cannabis and organic farmer in Namibia and the Congo,  and the Ugandan owner of a black TV station in Canada.

Dr Maulana Karenga
Dr Joyce King

The three-day conference will explore topics that show how Garvey’s life and work continue to influence key areas in education, leadership, self-determination and black liberation across the world.

There will indeed be opportunities for the education of  the African Child, as the assembly of 25 international speakers will include the following scholars, US-based University Professors, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, Dr Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa, and Dr. Joyce King along with Akil Parker, Dr. Kamau Rashid, Zach Brooks and Master Educator, Queen Taese to name a few.

Queen Taese
Nadine Molloy

Fittingly, Principal Anniona Jones Principal of Marcus Garvey Technical High School will join Nadine Molloy of Ardenne High, and Joy Douglas Chairman of the National Library and Spanish Town High School will also be presenting alongside cultural expert Dahlia Harris.

Dahlia Harris

Local policy leaders from education and culture will join the conversation via fireside chats.  Those will include Government and Opposition officials.

Dr. Julius Garvey, who has recruited the international speakers to share the stage with those based in Jamaica, says, “a conference of this nature seeks to continue my father’s legacy and by combining this mixture of speakers from academia, the corporate sector and community ensures that the content is disseminated to the wider public and future generations.

Each session will have up to four presenters, each guided by a moderator and the fireside chats will be more specific with the officials outlining the impact Garvey has had on their own work.

The virtual event will broadcast live from the Marcus Garvey Suite at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, beginning at 9am each day, Friday to Sunday.  The partnership is headlined by Strictly Roots Water and is supported by Garvey TV and the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

About Marcus Garvey

He was the Founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League and is Jamaica’s First National Hero.  He was a political activist, journalist, entrepreneur and the major Pan-Africanist of the first half of the 20th century.

About Whirlwind International Group

Whirlwind International Group is known as a Pan African company that has placed the Jamaican culture and Afrocentric causes at the center of all its product offerings ranging from theatre to entertainment, publishing, beverages, broadcasting and e-commerce

                                                         -END-

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Athletes

Marcus Garvey – Two Conversations

KINGSTON, JamaicaGarvey’s Experience – the power of Education and Education of the African Child are two conversations that will be had October 15 – 18 this year in a virtual format.

The Mico College University and the Garvey Institute have combined their resources to present a powerful series to be held over four days to look at the life and work of Jamaica’s first national hero, the late Rt Hon Marcus Garvey.

The Mico, which issued a call for papers, will host sessions on the theme, Garvey’s Experience – the power of Education targeting its student-teacher population across Jamaica and the Caribbean; while the Garvey Institute is aiming at a more global market with the theme Education of the African Child.

The Mico initiative is lead by a team with Prof Clinton Hutton of the Institute of Technological and Education Research (ITER); while Dr Julius Garvey (son) has partnered with the Whirlwind Group.

According to Dr Garvey, “both conversations are necessary to continue the dialog of my father’s legacy and by combining this mixture of academic, corporate and community, we believe this effort will go a far way in ensuring that the work filters to the wider public  and the next generation.”

Prof Hutton revealed that Garveyism is on the course outline at The Mico. And with a Garvey Club in place, the teacher training institution is well on its way to impart in its own indomitable style, the work and times of the great man.

“We intend for all student-teachers and academics to join in our conversation as we aim to fulfill our mandate of our institution.”

Both conversations will have international, regional and national presenters and will have input of creators in the Arts.

So far, the virtual conference has attracted support from the Whirlwind Group, Jamaica Pegasus, Garvey TV and Strictly Roots Water.

A full schedule of all the presenters will be available shortly.

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Athletes

Jamaica’s Sporting Federations need to be back on track/field

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Sport in Jamaica is being forced to be innovative, creative, while still making sure the athletes compete at the highest levels locally.

When the first series of announcements came regarding postponements, and in some cases cancellations of events, fans were distraught. Later, some of us would come to our collective senses and realize we would all be at risk.

Since March 10 when Jamaica’s first case of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) was announced the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the Jamaica Football Federation, Netball Jamaica were some of the organizations that had to adjust their schedules.

Since then, with the creation of the concept of a bubble where athletes, officials, media and support staff can exist for up to six weeks with all protocols being observed, is possible; sport could return soon. Well, I am hoping that it does.

Track and Field competitions were held with just athletes and officials and streamed online, as lead by the MPV Club and so track and field athletes have had some exciting performances and some of those athletes are now away competing. We wish them well.

The point of this column though is to encourage sporting organizations like

  • Netball Jamaica
  • Jamaica Basketball Association
  • Jamaica Football Federation
  • Jamaica Cricket Association

… to put together a plan to host compact events that can allow efficiently scheduled competition for athletes, while securing their health and safety.

The opportunity I see here, is for a streaming package to be part of the game. Sport TV in Jamaica is lacking content and there is an investment opportunity for fans to see the next generation of athletes perform.

Several sporting bodies also have international schedules coming up and need to be competing. For instance, the World Cup Qualifiers for football will start soon. The Reggae Boyz, looking to make another entry in this prestigious event, is way behind in its preparation. The opportunity for the Premier League to be held, must be a priority.

Truth is, the virus won’t be going away anytime soon and since we have to exist, let’s plan to have sport in a (more) secure way.

Let’s Get (back) in the Game!

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Advertising Caribbean Entertainment Jamaica

Straight Forward – Show #7 is next

Straight Forward, a lifestyle talk show will be having its 7th program this Thursday, June 18 at 8pm CT on Instagram and Facebook LIVE. The program started May 7 this year.

This week’s guest is CEO, Solid Agency, Sharon Burke, a woman who is a pioneer in the business of music in and out of Jamaica. She has done this for just about three decades.

The program, hosted by Carole Beckford, looks at interesting personalities who are leaders and influencers in their respective fields. The one-hour show, broadcast on Instagram and Facebook live has a twist of Straight talk and takes the conversation Forward in an entertaining, yet frank and honest way. 

So far, the program has featured 

  • Jamaican, international chef, Noel Cunningham 
  • Former West Indies fast bowler, Tino Best 
  • Jamaican International Reggae performer and producer, Tony Rebel 
  • Actor, Director and Full Time Nurse, Shauna Chin (based in Los Angeles) 
  • Actor, Film Entrepreneur, Educator, Sherando Ferril Cupid 

Businessman and Head of the KLE Team (owners/operators of Usain Bolt Tracks and Records), Gary Matalon was the show’s sixth guest. The program has an eclectic line up for the rest of June and July. 

It is on at 8pm CT/ 9pm EST and 6pm PT. 

The IG profile is here at this link https://www.instagram.com/carolebeckford/ – while the program is developing its own space on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StraightForwardwithCarole/ – in the meantime though, with a weekly reach of up to 300,000 on the combined platforms of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Carole is building a robust audience for the show. 

The show is primarily from the locations of the guests and host, but it has been outside twice, on location, courtesy of the Jamaica Pegasus. The show is currently supported by Strictly Roots Water. 

The show has its own music – Sunny Day – an instrumental piece played by iSax and produced by Ryan Bailey, who doubles as the show’s executive producer. The rest of the technical team has Jelani Walters, Ricardo ‘Champs’ Williams, Belinda Brady, Celia Thompson and Andre Helps.

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Athletes Branding Jamaica Sport sport fan Sports Track and Field

Sport Fans – What are we missing?

KINGSTON – Sport fans globally have been lamenting the absence of live sport that they can watch on screens or even attend considering we are all being affected by this covid19 pandemic.

What is true though, this is one of the toughest periods sport fans have gone through in the last twenty years.

  • We were 65 matches in the NBA season.
  • The English Premier League (EPL) did not go beyond the March 14 date.
    • (Liverpool – two matches away from being declared winner)
  • UEFA has suspended and pushed back dates of all its leagues
    • February 19 a match was held in Milan – Atalanta vs Valencia
  • MLB was in the pre-season. March 26 was supposed to be opening day.
    • The Nationals are the defending champions  
  • NFL was doing combines and getting ready for draft (April 23 – 25) this will be virtual
  • ESPN will show The Last Dance – the Michael Jordan series
    • Originally set for June and will be brought forward to Sunday, April 19
  • WNBA draft is coming up in May and could be virtual

The Summer Olympics was scheduled for July 24 to August 9 and sport fans were all lining up.

On the track and field calendar, the World Indoor Track and Field, Nanjing was the first event to be postponed from the IAAF calendar and all the other Diamond League events, World Continental Tour (which includes the Racers Grand Prix event in Jamaica) are all being affected.

We are looking at hundreds of hours of TV/Sport content, live and delayed that, we, as sport fans are all missing.

What about the athletes?

With five sporting disciplines (Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sport climbing and Surfing) to be added to the existing 28, apart from the athletes who were gearing up for the 33 sporting disciplines in this year’s planned Summer Olympics, all the other leagues and competitions listed above would see a significant percentage of the world’s best athletes on show.

The major brands, Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Under Armour would be in the world’s eyes. Some of us would be ordering stuff online and even when we attend some of the meets, we would acquire the latest merchandise that is available.

The athletes would wear the latest set of gear that has been made and we consumers would grab this up at every chance we get.

Opportunity for athletes during COVID

  • Stay safe and follow the protocols
  • Show us snippets of you working out in your branded gear
  • Give tips that can be used to inspire the world as you would always do
  • Keep all your fans informed; you may even get new fans

No one will or should be able to say when any major sporting event will return to the court, field or track, but one thing is sure, live sport is a thing.

Until then, cherish the memories… of sport!

Stay in the Game!

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Advertising Athletes Branding Sport Sports Track and Field

Jamaica’s Sport Industry

Jamaica’s sport industry will be hit hard with the advent of the corona virus pandemic.

The first blow came when the Inter Secondary Schools Sport Association (ISSA) was forced to cancel the 2020 edition of the Boys and Girls Championship. The event which was scheduled for March 24 – 28 was called off on Wednesday, March 11 by a team comprising the Ministry of Health and Wellness, ISSA and the lead sponsor partner, Grace Kennedy.

ISSA was quick out the blocks in estimating that at least J$150 million would have been lost. That amount would have included not just sponsor contribution, but income from broadcast rights, tickets and concessions.

The annual CHAMPS event is but one of the major calendar events which has been affected. The other sporting disciplines include an incomplete Red Stripe Premier League; Netball Jamaica was just about getting ready to start their national league in all divisions; an international volleyball club championship, scheduled for the weekend before CHAMPS, was also canceled along with several other competitions.

Subsequently, all public sporting and entertainment events have been postponed or cancelled. The only sporting event which managed to keep its foot in the door was horseracing which saw its last event being held on Saturday, March 21.

The effects on the system cannot be quantified just yet, but there are several layers that will be impacted. First off, all the athletes in all sports elite and amateur have been affected. While they are unable to compete, they are now unable to train.

Additionally, service providers, those employed directly and indirectly will all be affected; because with no events being held, there is no revenue being generated and therefore a lot of those in that industry will receive reduced pay packages for a limited time. Those who offer freelance services are on a wait and see game.

Elite Athletes

While the elite (professional athlete) may have a lifeline through the partnership with their sponsor partners, for example gear and beverage companies and other short-term partners. We await feedback from that group.

With every aspect of the industry almost coming to a halt, the fall out will be devastating. There is no timeline for the restart of any leagues now on hold. Some have been postponed indefinitely and some are considering cancellation.

National Sport budget

As a background, the Jamaican system has never been able to record a correct estimate of the contribution of the sport industry to its gross domestic product (GDP); but the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its annual public, the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) suggests that sports (an entertainment) contribute a combined figure of up to 3.5 per cent.

The GDP as reported for the 2019 period is $14.516 billion. The sport figure would therefore be close to $500 million.

When the Government presented its 2019/2020 budget for $803 billion the allocation for sport was $4.119 billion; a figure that has shown steady increase over the years. Certainly, in the last decade the country has participated in two Summer Olympic Games – 2012, 2016 and was about to go to its third in 2020, now postponed to 2021.

The global impact is severe and already we are seeing fallouts from all the major leagues in every sport. All have had an impact on its salaries for its professional players, full and part time staff.

We now have to live through the memories of sport, games we all love so much.

#StayInTheGame