Devon Dick: Dr Bolt and Mrs Williams Mills - Personalities of the Year
The Personality of the Year is someone who has displayed courage, achieved against the odds and scaled new heights. The person ought to be an example and motivator for others. In addition, the Personality of the Year has to do with the impact for good on Jamaica and the Jamaican psyche. The persons should have popular appeal. Some persons made impact on the world stage.
Contenders for Personality of the Year would include: Dr Peter Phillips, minister of finance, for successfully passing 10 consecutive International Monetary Fund (IMF) test under his watch and getting world recognition for the best-performing stock market in the world. Portia Simpson Miller, though stereotyped as populist, presides over an administration that is seeking to balance books and lives. Juliet Holness entering representational politics, being the wife of JLP leader Andrew Holness, even while her husband is under pressure over their house. This is a courageous decision for a family and one that caused excitement in the country. Christopher Tufton, against all odds, is back. Tufton benefited from a court ruling and was returned to the Senate, and having initially lost a selection process now has a safe seat for his return to the House of Representatives. Arthur Williams had a landmark ruling in his favour for retention of a Senate seat and thereby clarifying the independent role of the Senate. Accountant John Lee and his team at Student Living, designing a billion-dollar project to tackle student housing at tertiary level - that is novel in Jamaica.
However, the personalities of the year come from athletes who performed at their optimum during the Beijing IAAF World Championships, where Jamaica tied with Kenya with the highest number of gold medals - seven. The contenders are Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who in author-itative fashion won another 100m, and off the track, her charitable work and desire for equal recognition of women on the track are noteworthy. Danielle Williams with her surprise gold in 100m hurdles which was done without much fuss. Elaine Thompson's silver in 200m in her first World Championship captured the hearts of Jamaicans.
However, the Male Personality of the Year is Usain Bolt, who did his season best and got gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. Bolt is in a class by himself. Bolt overcame psychological and physical issues. He charmed the world again and brought joy to fans worldwide. He is already the greatest sprinter, but he took greatness to another level. Justin Gatlin was the favourite going into the 100m final. Earlier in the day, Bolt slipped in the starting block and had to expend much energy to qualify for the final. Nevertheless, he won by a slim margin and in the end Gatlin looked flustered in coming second. For that performance, when the weight of the world was on his shoulders, he is the male Personality of the Year.
Novelene Williams-Mills, a cancer survivor, is the female Personality of the Year. She ran the fastest leg for Jamaica in the 4x400m relay to win the gold medal. She underperformed in the 400m flat race but returned, and with her experience, overtook the American (so the American lost her form badly in the final 60m) and then led Jamaica to victory. This is the same USA team that defeated us in the World Relays the year before in The Bahamas.
Dr Bolt and Mrs Novelene Williams-Mills brought joy to our hearts on the world stage and reaffirmed Brand Jamaica, and are the 2016 personalities of the year.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.