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A race like no other ...Olympic Star Cuthbert - Flynn striding for political impact

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Opposition Leader Andrew Holness is greeted by Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) caretaker for West Rural St Andrew Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn (right), during recent Area Council One meeting at the Denham Town Community Centre in Kingston. ____________________________________________During his presentation, Holness declared that the People's National Party has eroded the gains attributable to the JLP in education, health, crime fighting, economic stability and growth. See more at www.jamaica-gleaner.com
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The Barcelona babe, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, fÍted for style and substance in previous features from this columnist, is to have those attributes tested in the cauldron and chasms of cruel country politics.

The news, unbelievable at first, hit like a thunderbolt.

Yes, it might have been common knowledge that the outstanding, long-service athlete (quintuple Olympian) turned fitness centre proprietor was not too impressed with government policies. But her latest move to make a difference still startles. She could not have been pleased with the treatment meted out to her sporting contemporaries, a view shared by those who have been in that position.

Athletes by their commitment, hard work to prepare for competition, and their brilliance at the top of the world deserve much more than they receive.

That said, the choice of party as to where the 1992 Olympic double silver medallist decided to "hang her hat" was no surprise. It is well appreciated that the local governing body of track and field, on which she served under different regimes, reflects a leaning to the political party now in power. It is also a trend that those who think "activist", even in non-political matters, tend to cling to the opposition party. After all, if a difference in direction is sought, that is the natural routing.

She has skilfully evaded comment to this columnist but, be that as it may, the respect for her opinions still reigns. Given the opportunity, some questions this columnist would have liked to pose are: "Why national politics Juliet? Haven't you stepped away from that in the JAAA?" "Herb McKenley, arguably better known to ordinary Jamaicans than you are, he contested two elections, soundly thrashed on both occasions, is not that a warning that Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn should take? Surely, you are not about to go that route? and lastly, given what you undoubtedly have to offer, do you not think that you should have been offered a "safe seat"?

It is not a habit for sports persons, who are blessed with the profile of a Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, to choose this much-marketed route to serving their people and this is what one hopes has driven this move. However, while the former St Thomas born and bred seeks her salvation in the hills of rural St Andrew, she must be aware of history. Track and field icon, the late McKenley took the political plunge and was sunken. Others, high-profile sporting giants like cricketers Lawrence Rowe, Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh, as well as football maestro Allan Cole, shunned the suggestions and they were all immensely popular and people-oriented. They sought their future elsewhere.

So why does the straight-talking, brave-faced Juliet see herself as having the testosterone and abdominal fortitude to buck that male trend? However, let the fierce-fighting champion of right, as opposed to wrong, be warned.

She has looked into the eyes of vicious-sounding young boys looking for food, herself resplendent in the trappings of personal and, by extension, financial success being a ready target. Her poise, charm and her own name calling avoided what no one would wish for this benefactor of many from the same lot who had her at the end of a lethal weapon. More of these experiences are rife in the political hustings, Miss Juls.

pure heart

She is up against an experienced campaigner - another product of the sporting arena and a quite suave and slick performer when faced with feminine targets (keep it clean people) - but who will not relinquish power to beauty, and why should he? Expect some rough days and nights, Miss Juls.

This woman is blessed with a pure heart and a clean mind uncluttered with prejudices and personal grudges, even against those who have offended her. Above all and characteristically not the habit of political animals, she remembers kindness. Let not politics spoil that, Miss Juls.

Politics is not for the faint of heart or weak of knee. Resilience, resources and the ability to recognise and respond to those who do not share your view are required. Be alert and attentive to all around you, choosing with due care the paths you deem fit to follow, Miss Juls.

Wish you the best, but expect the worst.