Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Bolt holiday a ridiculous idea

Published:Friday | August 26, 2016 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I have the greatest respect for the Rev Devon Dick and have always found his column in your esteemed newspaper informative and interesting, but I must part company with his latest suggestion that August 21, Usain Bolt's birthday, should be declared a national holiday.

Frankly, this sounds like a 'wagonist' position. To begin with, the country already has two national holidays in August (the 1st and 6th - Emancipation and Independence Days, respectively). Is he seriously proposing that a country that is seriously economically challenged should further put a dent into its productivity by giving Jamaicans another day at the beach and to play dominoes, as well as party like it is 1999? Yuck!

At this rate, we might as well have a holiday for all our national heroes' and heroine's birthdays. I am sure that there are many who would argue that our first national hero, Marcus Garvey's birthday, should be declared a national holiday, which, incidentally, is August 17!

As a nation, we have a tendency to celebrate everything but produce very little in its aftermath. To immortalise Bolt is not to have a national holiday or any more cosmetic accolades (I am sure he must be getting very bored with that).

Use the Bolt brand to enhance our tourism product, and, ultimately, to concretise his success in building institutions, empowering the creative industries, while seeking to infuse in the Jamaican psyche what hard work and discipline can achieve.

Bolt is already a legend, and no doubt may well be the richest black man Jamaica has ever produced! The Rev Dick's suggestion is similar to the 'no-brainer' that came out of Prime Minister Andrew Holness' mouth during a media interview that Bolt could be placed in his Cabinet in the near future.

It is well known that politics is the most divisive force in this country, while sports has remained the most unifying and inspiring. Bolt must be kept above the fray of narrow partisan politicking, because, in the very final analysis, he belongs to all Jamaicans, regardless of their political persuasion.

Let us continue to honour Bolt by seeking to build a better Jamaica in terms of social and economic development and by emphasising (especially among our youth), that success comes through hard, sweat and tears.

LLOYD B. SMITH

lbsmith4@gmail.com

Montego Bay