Thu | May 28, 2015

Holness believes Bolt proves Mugabe wrong

Published:Wednesday | September 12, 2012
Olympian Usain Bolt (left) assists Mike Fennell, president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, with the microphones during a press conference hosted by Bolt at Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records in St Andrew yesterday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness has pointed to six-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt as a prime example of the capabilities of Jamaican men who do not abuse alcohol or use drugs.

Holness, who was speaking during a press conference held by Bolt at Usain Bolt's Tracks and Records in St Andrew yesterday, used the opportunity to declare recent comments criticising Jamaican men and attributed to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe should be 'repudiated'.

Bolt, the world's fastest man, returned to the island on Saturday night following recent dominant performances in Europe, including becoming the first man to defend his 100m, 200m and 4X100m titles at the Olympics.

The comments attributed to Mugabe were reportedly made during a three-day expo in Harare, Zimbabwe last Wednesday, where the African nation's president is said to have branded Jamaica "a country of marijuana smokers, where women are now taking charge since men are always sloshed (very drunk)".

No public clarification

The Jamaican Government has since stated that it is seeking to have the reports out of Zimbabwe verified, but there has yet to be a public clarification by Mugabe or his administration.

"I think the characterisation of Jamaican males by a leader of a country is quite unfortunate," Holness told The Gleaner following the press conference. "Certainly, the examples that we hold up, such as Usain Bolt ... . He is not just a treasure for Jamaica, his exploits are a treasure for humankind."

He added: "What he (Bolt) has done certainly without drugs or without being involved in anything that could be considered untoward, just natural physical prowess, is something to be proud of and totally disproves the view that was expounded by the leader of that country."

Yesterday Holness noted that every country had its problems, "but I think the heart of Jamaica is good and I think that those statements if proven to be true, should be repudiated".

He added: "We have Usain Bolt carrying the flag for Jamaica with athletics, so it leads me to wonder why anyone would make certain comments about Jamaica. Obviously they have not seen Usain Bolt. Usain has done what he has managed to do without the aid of any form of drugs or alcohol; all natural.

"And it shows what humankind can do if they work and hone their skills and I think Usain Bolt is not only a fine example of a human, but a fine example of a Jamaican man."

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com