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More targeted approach to PE – Wilson

Spanish Town – GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, Maurice Wilson wants a more targeted focus on Physical Education. 

In noting the many positive benefits. Wilson summarized by saying, ”these involve the development of speed coordination, agility, balance, and other biomotor abilities; while the development of lifelong relationships through group and individual sports, learning fair play, how to win and lose are some of the others.” 

Wilson, who is also Technical Director for Jamaica’s Track and Field program to the Olympics, thinks the introduction of the sixth form curriculum for Physical Education has helped the society, in general, to have a better appreciation of the subject. 

It was in 2014, that PE was among five subjects added to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE). The other four subjects were agriculture science, performing arts, entrepreneurship and tourism.

According to Wilson, some of the new practices in the field include the introduction of adapted PE for disabled students, the use of more fancy and attractive gear, a wider variety of footwear apparel and students being able to participate in covered stadiums for competition and training. 

Wilson went to suggest that there needs to be an adjustment to how schools approach assignment of the teachers. “ At the primary schools at least four PE teachers are needed, two for lower grades and two upper. For upper schools at least 6 are needed,” he noted. 

He wants the Ministry of Education (under which the subject falls) to treat the subject like any other Arts, Math and/or Science subjects with the appropriate support, not just in the schools, but also at the regional level. The Ministry, based on its website, has one Education Officer listed for the subject. 

About Maurice Wilson 

In addition to being Principal of the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, he has represented Jamaica’s national track and field team at the Olympics and World Championships as a coach, head coach and technical director.

The coach of five individual medalists at the World Junior Championships, head coach of Holmwood Technical High School, winner of nine consecutive Girls National Champions. Coach of 13 Penn Relay Championship of America winning teams. Level 5-Certified IAAF coach in Sprint and Hurdles. Author of Sprinting the Jamaican Way.

In 2017, Maurice Wilson was honored by the government of Jamaica with the Order of Distinction for Wilson’s contribution to sports in Jamaica, in particular track and field. Mr. Wilson also supports and participates in many local charity events and causes. Maurice also does Sports Analysis work on nationally televised Track & Field events.

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Rethinking Sport in Jamaica

Remove the S from CHASE… Boost the SDF

KINGSTON – For more than a century there has been a Jamaican athlete that has impressed someone, somewhere across the world.  The early days of cricket tours in and out of the West Indies, international boxing cards, football, netball and host of other sports, served a bit of a signal to the world that Jamaica was and continues to be a big part of any sport conversation. 

Ask any track and field fan, cricket (yes, believe it or not); netball, football, basketball fan and a Jamaican athlete’s name can come up. 

Over time, sport has been funded by private and public means. What has been consistent though, is the first-class performance that has been maintained, sustained and enhanced by the athletes. 

In 1995 the game changed somewhat, the Government of the day approved a plan to start the Sports Development Foundation. The SDF was established as an independent body to contribute to the development of the nation through sports.

With sport emerging (at the time) as a major contributor to the island’s economic activities, there was a thought that sport needed more. The agency in its early days focused on infrastructure and capacity building. The Mona Hockey Field (astro turf); several football fields, National Indoor Sport Centre were among some of the venues that were renovated, upgraded and built from scratch. The capacity building focused on administrative development of officials from at least 40 sporting disciplines. 

As you read along, and you are in the business of sport, you can clearly identify the gaps for a country that has produced so many world-class athletes. So whilethe track and field performances have been outstanding to date, to gain and maintain the competitive edge and move ahead, there needs to be a re-thinking of how sport is: 

  • Funded 
  • Managed 
  • Researched 
  • Marketed 
  • Re-Developed

It is with those five key areas, that my recommendations for Sport for Jamaica going forward include: 

  • Boost the work of the SDF
    • Remove the S from CHASE (they can determine what to do with C-H-A-E
    • Increase the staff numbers to include a:
      • Planner 
      • Researcher 
      • Marketer
      • Developer 

It is clear that Jamaica’s technical talent is at a great level – coaches and athletes continue to break the ceiling of performance. Most of the major sporting events have consistent work being done with their technical staff. 

The next level is needed and in another decade, if we are not careful, we will be chasing dreams in the key areas that will ensure that the next generation has access to the same enabling environment. 

GC Foster, UTECH, UWI and Mico continue to train Sport Officials in education, management and preventative care; but an elite athlete cannot in 2023 & beyond, compete without the support of branding and marketing to take them to the top of their games. 

In redefining how Jamaica as a nation treats this industry, there are also some policy decisions which should be happening simultaneously. SPORT should have its own Ministry.

This is what I envisage the team should look like from the policy and operational side 

  • Ministry of Sport
    • Minister 
    • Minister of State 
    • Permanent Secretary 
    • Director of Sport + 5
  • Sport Development Foundation (agency)
    • Managing Director
      • Directors of Marketing, Research, Finance 
      • Corporate Planner (to deal with bilaterals, administration, academic development, infrastructure
      • Event Manager (incoming and outgoing delegations, permits, venue updates) 

Change is inevitable if we want to be successful. 

The research element of the business cannot be overstated, as it is the data we collect and how we use it to inform our next set of moves on and off the field that will determine our capacity to handle, manage and deliver a world class sporting industry run by those who are capable. 

In the next column, I will pick the team who can and should be asked to deliver on this plan. Until then…


Always a Step Ahead

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Separating the Art from the Artiste

Reggae music continues to evolve. And with that evolution comes the attraction to a more diverse listenership. Research has shown that many of Jamaica’s more established artistes have an audience whose average age is 30 years and above. 

Does lyrical content influence their audience? Do the performers’ real-life circumstances have any bearing on the quality or value of their music? 

Consider your most favoured songs from your favourite artistes and ask yourself: would you want to meet the person behind your favourite music? If that answer is yes, does it matter what the artiste has done in their past, or is doing at the moment?

As music is a part of our everyday life, it is impossible to escape the artistry of popular singers, especially when they find themselves in personal-life turmoil (fans typically Google their favourite singer when news breaks about their misdeeds.  These searches typically take fans  to an artist’s catalogue on streaming services thus boosting their streams).  

The music we rely on from our favourite artistes to help to soothe moments of grief, commemorate moments of joy, paradoxically comes from the vocal trademark of people who themselves find themselves in circumstances of trouble.

Here are some real stories of persons whose music you love; they have developed habits that are not healthy, they have taken substances that are illegal, they have done things that are otherwise frowned upon by society, or they could be in prison.  Does that change how you feel about your favourite songs or artiste?

With song titles like, Freedom Blues, To Your Arms of Love, Love is and Unconditional Love there are indications that the song-writer/artiste has ideas of shaping the minds of those who consume, but to also reposition thoughts to the discerning fan, that circumstances can cause life adjustments, and what is in the heart, comes out in song. 

When you see a list that asks to Call on me as Only You, I am Longing For, those thoughts call for Reflections. 

Comments about artistes differ from male and female fans and in age groups.  A short survey among women over 40 shows they have more of a tendency to forgive., “Does the Crime serve the time,” is a common thought among that demographic. 

During a series of discussions held in Jamaica in 2019, scholars of music discussed the topic: Dancehall Stardom, Version 1 – Crime and Punishment. Positions such as a proposal for “a meaningful music curriculum [to] be implemented as a matter of urgency,” says Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah.

Stanley Niaah has in the last decade spoken and published about music, but in discussing this topic, is developing material for a program dubbed “From Prison to College” – she believes in rehabilitation with and through the music.

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – The road to a successful career in track and field is not always smooth. Jamaica’s success at the regional and international levels has not made it any easier and so the current and next generation of athletes are in a great position to continue and enhance the rich tradition.

That said, the pressure to maintain is always a factor worth considering and the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, under the leadership of Principal, Maurice Wilson, is always focused on presenting opportunities for all round growth and development.

On Saturday, June 12, the institution, will host another discussion to offer solutions to a track and field’s athlete pathway to elite performance.

The panelists will come from:

  • Former, Jamaica Olympic Association President, Mike Fennell
  • Olympic Coach, Glen Mills
  • Agents – Adrian Laidlaw and Cubie Seegobin
  • Sport Medicine Expert, Dr Kevin Gwyn Jones
  • Lecturer, Marlon Gayle
  • Principal and Olympic Coach, Maurice Wilson
  • Sport Administrator, Olive McNaughton

Wilson thinks this discussion is important at this moment. “Athletes need to be armed with information to make better decisions. We also urge the team around them to be in a much better position to assist where applicable. A valuable part of each athlete’s team is a parent, who most times see themselves as onlookers. We want as many people as possible to know what entails on this journey,” said Wilson.

The panel will steer participants on what are some of the scenarios that could be encountered along the way from junior status to elite.

“GC Foster has hosted several discussions on sport in general over the last year and this one targeting track and field is of significance at this juncture,” noted Wilson.

Carole Beckford, Sport Marketing expert will moderate the session due to start at 6pm (Jamaica)/7pm EST. The session will be done via Zoom.

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BOOK ALERT: ABCs of Caribbean Sport, Marketing and Psychology

KINGSTON, Jamaica – “Sport deserves every bit of attention it can get on and off the field. Athletes need to be prepared for the mind games too,” that is the advice shared by Carole Beckford and Dr Olivia Rose Esperance in their latest collaboration.

The collaboration is shared in a book, ABCs of Caribbean Sport, Marketing and Psychology which is due out on shelves end of March.ABCs of Caribbean Sport

The 140-page publication dives deep into an industry in the Caribbean which has worked and can continue to work if the talent converts to economic activity (marketing); and how athletes and their teams can maximize earnings while being engaged in a process that takes you from any adversity to a winning attitude, via a positive mindset (psychology).

The project began when the two worked together for the 2018 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup which was held in Guyana, St Lucia and the final in Antigua. Rose was the sport psychologist assigned to the Windies Women, while Beckford was head of marketing and communications for Cricket West Indies. Both are on their third publication.

OliviaRose Esperance describes her contribution as “the timing is impeccable, as during the pandemic, sport is a means of escape and sport people can and should use this opportunity to be managed while building on their competitive portfolio. The two areas of sport are of great significance and written by Caribbean authors. I am proud of this project.”20191022_160558

Beckford believes “it is important to continue to share information about an industry that has contributed so much to the exposure of the region’s best in the global sporting world. The pool of sporting officials has not only grown in numbers, but in quality. There is so much more to earn from the business of sport.”

Both are supporters of student-athletes and their continued pursuit of excellence. “While the athletes continue to excel, management can do some more to create better synergies for business,” noted Rose Esperance.

The book will sell for J$3,000 and US$20. Locations will be known soon!

Patrons may support by ordering on Facebook at (1) ABCs of Caribbean Sport – Marketing and Psychology | Facebook

A virtual launch is scheduled for Wednesday, March 31.

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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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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