Switching Allegiances: Jamaican sprinters move on to represent other countries

Go Lean Commentary

“I’m going to take my talents to South Beach”.

CU Blog - Lebronomy - Economic Impact of the Return of the NBA GreatThese words – The Decision – proved to be among the most dramatic quotations in American Sports for the new 21st Century. These words were spoken by basketball superstar LeBron James in July 2010. He had been frustrated with the team management inefficiency in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio where he played for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers from 2003 to 2010. At the time of this utterance, he had elected to “opt-out” of his contract with the Cavaliers and become a free agent. After being aggressively recruited by a number of teams – including the incumbent club in Cleveland – he decided to join the NBA franchise in South Florida (South Beach), the Miami Heat.

For the fans in Cleveland, this was a betrayal! They asserted that he switched allegiances in taking his talents to South Beach.

This perceived act of betrayal is considered a “stab in the heart” for a community that loves its local athletes. While this foregoing anecdote is an American drama, the Caribbean island of Jamaica can relate and empathize with Cleveland. Or better stated, the community of Cleveland can empathize with Jamaica as the same anecdotes are being related there, again and again with their World-Class Track-and-Field athletes.

Consider these related news articles of events transpiring in the last year:

Title: Switching Allegiances: One More Jamaican Sprinter Moves On To Represent Another Country
By: Blogger – StephanieK
CU Blog - Switching Allegiances - Jamaican Sprinters - Photo 1Winston Barnes – in focus in the photo here – a former sprinter from Jamaica College, will now be representing Turkey in athletic competitions. Barnes, who will be known as Emre Zafer Barnes, joined three other Jamaican sprinters who decided to switch their allegiance to compete for various Arab countries. Former Wolmer’s Boys’ sprinter Jacques Harvey made the switch to Turkey earlier and is now known as Jak Ali Harvey. Following Jamaica’s Olympic Games, Shericka Williams, silver medalist, Andrew Fisher and Kemarley Brown all asked to move on to Bahrain, planning to represent that country at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

According to Commonwealth Games 100-metre champion Kemar Bailey-Cole, Jamaica could lose even more of its top athletes to countries who are willing to provide the financial support lacking from the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), corporate Jamaica, and the government.
Source:  Jamaicans.com – Online Community – Retrieved 04-25-2016 from: http://jamaicans.com/one-more-jamaican-sprinter-moves-on/


Title: Three Jamaican Athletes Plan to Represent Bahrain
July 22, 2015 – Three of Jamaica’s top athletes will be switching their allegiance from the island to the country of Bahrain, announced Dr. Warren Blake, the president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA). Shericka “Wire” Williams, 2008 Olympic 400-meter silver medallist, and sprinters Kemarley Brown and Andrew Fisher, submitted applications to the JAAA with the intention of competing for Bahrain.

The athletes said it has become difficult to represent Jamaica and want the chance to represent Bahrain as they consider moving to that country and becoming citizens. Williams received a silver medal for Jamaica at the Berlin world Championships in 2009, while Fisher is the latest Jamaican to run under the 10-second barrier. Brown also clocked below that mark with a personal best on July 20 of 9.93 seconds.
Source: Retrieved 04-25-2016 from: http://jamaicans.com/top-7-jamaican-caribbean-news-stories-for-the-week-ending-july-24th-2015/#ixzz46n7Z3doE

The decisions of these Jamaican athletes relate to the drama of Cleveland-Miami in 2010. The book Go Lean … Caribbean reported on these 2010 events, as follows (Page 42):

The National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise: Miami Heat is the league champion for the last 2 consecutive seasons; (composed November 2013). This is their 3rd championship, having won, in 2006, 2012, and 2013, to date. It is felt that this team can win many more. In fact, brewing some controversy when the team was assembled by the General Manager in 2010, one of the superstar players, LeBron James, pronounced that this team was built for multiple championships; the actual number: “not one, not, two, not three, not four, not five …”

Those words incited disgust from everyone…other than Miami Heat fans. But the team has lived up to its bragging and boasting, by succeeding to reach the Championship series (NBA Finals) all three years [to date] since the group was assembled.

The recent history of this Miami Heat drama does relate to the Caribbean and this roadmap for economic integration. First, with its base in Miami, Florida, it possesses the largest pocket of Caribbean Diaspora. So in many ways, the Miami Heat is the “home team” of the Caribbean.

This foregoing news articles also align with the Go Lean book in that it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The Go Lean roadmap only has one interest in this subject of sports, fostering the economic opportunities that can be forged by professionalizing a regional sports eco-system. Dysfunction in this regards is exactly the issue in Jamaica today and why these athletes are “taking their talents to …” foreign shores.

This Go Lean roadmap assesses that not just Jamaica, but all of the Caribbean is in crisis. This is why athletes with any ability must seek refuge and opportunities in foreign lands. So this roadmap provides solutions to optimize the region’s economic, security and governing engines. The roadmap provides the facilitation to grow a professional, collegiate and amateur sports eco-system. Many times, the missing ingredients for organized sports are the facilities: stadia, arenas and playing fields. A previous blog-commentary reported that the sports eco-system void maybe considered as bigger than just sports, it is “life and death”. But the roadmap posits that sports, even though it is just “extra-curricular”, does bring benefits. In fact, Go Lean book (Page 229) quotes the Bible scripture at 1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise is profitable for a little …”.

Caribbean people are identified with excellence in sports; maybe even defined as geniuses. See the VIDEO here of a talented 10-year-old Jamaican football (soccer) sensation; his aspiration is to play professionally … in Europe in the future.

VIDEO – 10 year-old Jamaican Prodigy Brian Burketthttps://youtu.be/YJChu-Rwez0

Published on December 30, 2014 – Brian Burkett is a self motivated boy who has a dream to play football at the highest level in the world. His talent is immaculate for his age along with his love for the game. Brian started playing at age 3 and have grown in passion and discipline to learn more about the game.

While Caribbean athletic talent is recognized around the world, there is not enough economic rewards at home for these ones with genius abilities. These ones must leave their beloved homelands to maximize their talents and earn a living from them. (This also applies to matriculating college student-athletes).

Previous blogs established that sports genius alone will never yield the sought-after result of World-Class excellence, there is the need for skilled training, coaching with best-practices and an internal drive. In so many ways, this parallels the current effort to reboot the Caribbean economic engines: nature (birth-right) is critical, but training, experience, coaching and the technocratic application of best-practices are also needed to forge change. The most important though is the internal drive; first and foremost, this is identified in the roadmap as “community ethos”.

The Go Lean roadmap recognizes many different kinds of athletics, team sports and individual event. The unique “genius” qualifier is highlighted at the outset of the Go Lean book, in the Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 & 14), as follows:

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxxi. Whereas sports have been a source of great pride for the Caribbean region, the economic returns from these ventures have not been evenly distributed as in other societies. The Federation must therefore facilitate the eco-systems and vertical industries of sports as a business, recreation, national pastime and even sports tourism – modeling the Olympics.

The book Go Lean … Caribbean highlights the community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies to optimize the sports eco-system in the region; it posits that success is to be found at the intersection between opportunity and preparation. The following list shows samples from the book that detailed these points:

Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategic – Staffing – Sporting Events at Fairgrounds Page 55
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Sports & Culture Administration Page 81
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Fairgrounds Administration Page 83
Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities (SGE) Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Local Government – Parks & Recreation Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Public Works Page 175
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Events Page 191
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Fairgrounds as Sporting Venues Page 192
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Sports Page 229
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living – Sports Leagues Page 234

The Go Lean book and accompanying blogs declare that the Caribbean needs to learn lessons from these Track-and-Field athletes taking their talents to other markets … elsewhere. This commentary is about the business of sports; and this subject is a familiar topic for the Go Lean movement, as was detailed in these previous blogs:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6464 WWE Network – Model for Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6202 ‘Concussions’ – The Movie; The Cause
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5921 Socio-Economic Change: Impact Analysis of SGE’s
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4879 Martinique – The New Caribbean Surfing Capital
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4019 Melding of Sports & Technology; the Business of the Super Bowl
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3414 Levi’s® Stadium: A Team Effort
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3244 Sports Role Model – espnW
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2222 Sports Role Model – Playing For Pride … And More
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2171 Sports Role Model – Turn On the SEC Network
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2152 Sports Role Model – US versus the World
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1715 Lebronomy – Economic Impact of the Return of the NBA Great
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1446 Caribbean Players in the 2014 World Cup
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1341 College World Series Time – Lessons from Omaha
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1214 Landlord of Temporary Stadiums
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1148 Sports Bubble – Franchise values in basketball
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1020 Sports Revolutionary: Advocate Jeffrey Webb
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=498 Book Review: ‘The Sports Gene’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=318 Collegiate Sports in the Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=60 Could the Caribbean Host the Olympic Games?

The end result for the Go Lean roadmap’s venture into regional sport professionalization is economic growth and “jobs” here at home. The Go Lean roadmap anticipates 21,000 direct jobs at sports enterprises throughout the region, not including the athletes.

CU Blog - Switching Allegiances - Jamaican Sprinters - Photo 2The benefits of the Go Lean roadmap are too alluring to ignore: emergence of an $800 Billion economy, 2.2. million new regional jobs, new industries, services and finally opportunities for the sports-playing youth of the Caribbean . The roadmap even extends an invitation to the Diaspora (and their legacies) to repatriate from North American, European and Middle-Eastern/Arab countries. This will help to preserve Caribbean culture here … in the Caribbean.

As for the latest developments of the opening anecdote of LeBron James and the Cleveland-Miami drama: after 4 years in Miami and 2 championships, he repatriated to Cleveland; (see photo above) … with a new resolve to bring a championship to Cleveland. In this vein, his quest – now fulfilled – serves as a role model for Caribbean athletes: excelling at home is “so much sweeter” than on the road. This is the precept to prosper where planted. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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