On Monday, Sixth August, 2012, when our national Hero, Kirani James, won the 2012 Olympic 400M Men’s Final at the Stratford Stadium, in East London in England – the record established by that victory, in my humble – (but for the occasion) – very bold opinion, will very, very likely, never be equalled or broken again.
By that I mean no Independent Country or Island dependency, of the size and population of the Independent State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, will ever again produce a Son of its soil to equal or better that achievement at this or any other level – in the foreseeable future.
I make bold to say this – because the fact that Kirani comes from the very humble background and surroundings on the Lance in Gouyave, in a setting that provides no atmosphere or incentive for upwards movement – that reality is itself a very formidable barrier to overcome, in the normal run of things on a daily basis.
And the fact that he succeeded in doing all that – and so very much more by the tender age of just nineteen – that level of success speaks volumes and opens the windows of opportunities for very much more to come.
True enough he won a scholarship and attended the prestigious (GBSS) Grenada Boys Secondary School in the capital of St. George’s – but so did thousands of boys from all manner of backgrounds and well-off families before him.
But in his very humble and obviously dedicated determination to succeed, and to overcome the shortfalls and the lack of the niceties his poor parents could not provide him with – he took it all in his long strides, and set the East Stratford London Olympic Stadium Tracks ablaze, as he left the other world-class athletes looking at his back, while he stormed his way to the winning-post on Monday. Sixth August, 2012.
Having said the foregoing, however, it must not and cannot be forgotten, that in addition to his local Trainer from Gouyave – who saw him through his growing-up years in Gouyave and at the GBSS in St. George’s – Teacher Albert Joseph; he also had the honour to be trained by the Alabama State University Trainer, where he had been on a Scholarship for the past two years or so, and blazing the U.S.A. tracks on behalf of the said university.
So now that he holds both the world and the Olympic 400 Metres Titles, as the very first person from such a small state and even smaller population than any other Athlete before him, I take the liberty to predict – that no smaller state with a smaller population will ever produce a record-breaker to dethrone Kirani.
And what makes this Lance-boy from Gouyave, in St. John in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, so unique and very different from the usual world champions who make it to the top – is the very humble way he goes about and deports himself in the buzzing scenario and drama around him.
As for example when he won the semi-final heat, and he immediately turn to the Athlete who ran with two artificial “Legs” – and he took off the numbered Tag he was wearing on his jersey, and exchanged it with that disabled Athlete who came in some place behind.
There is no lingering doubt – that this very down-to-earth and grassroots Son of the soil, has firmly placed our insignificant Tri-Island State, at the very top of the world calendar of famous and successful Athletes, where he will be recognised and be a shining example to countless others for many, many Olympics down the years.
Of course, this tiny-tot State in the eastern Caribbean Block is not totally unknown to the world outside. Because in March, 1979, we also set a world record, by becoming the smallest state to carry out a successfully armed political Revolution, and put in power a socialist Government in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The experiment did not last very long – because in October, 1983, it destroyed itself in a Counter-coup. But there can be no doubt that during its existence, the outside powers-that-be took very close notice and paid serious attention to the happenings.
In the coming years because of the world famous performance of our Olympic Champion two weeks ago – we in these small Isles will be in the spotlight once again.
It will be a very different light from that of the “March, 79 to October, 83” version, but how we make the most of it, only time and the unfolding circumstances will tell.
Very unfortunately, in the prevailing circumstances, although the times and the situations are very different from those that existed between “79 and 83” – from a political standpoint – the political happenings, and the ongoing uncertainties resulting therefrom, will definitely have some negative responses in reply.
In these Spice isles, where we have seen and experienced all sorts of ups and downs and sideways over the years – from our struggle with colonialism when our “Uncle Gairy” returned from Aruba in 1950/51, and started the movement to break-away from England and go our own merry way – with sky red all over the Tri-Island Colony – we have seen it all.
Being the first of the Tiny-tot Colonies, after Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana had gained their Independence from Britain – to achieve our independence in February, 1974, we have always been in the forefront of one sort or another.
So just as the first “Revo” in the English speaking Caribbean in March, 1979, was a record breaker of no mean feat – so too the Kirani James Olympic Gold Medal on August Sixth, 2012, was another record-breaking achievement for our Spice Isles.
But again because of the political conditions now existing in our Spice Isles – this world-breaking Olympic record by our Kirani James in London two weeks and more ago, will be clouded by the happenings on the political frontline.
The party whose members won their seats in that landslide victory in 2008, to form the NDC Government for the next Five years – that party has been going through all sorts of chaos and confusion for almost two years now, to the extent that four or five of those M.P’s are on a frolic of their own in Parliament.
And even the party convention to elect the Executive on a yearly basis is still dangling in limbo – because those who formed the majority on that Body are in open opposition to the Prime Minister and his four or five loyalists in Government.
As the situation stands, therefore, we seem to have a minority Government in control of our Nation’s affairs – and two separate groups in opposition to the controllers in Parliament.
There is no doubting – that the people of our Tri-Island State are solidly and proudly in support and admiration of our very First Olympic Gold Medalist.
If only the same could have been said about our Government in power – I am sure the Honour and Glory achieved by KIRANI at the London Olympics, could have made a world of difference to the opportunities and the fortunes of our long-suffering people – in these politically troubled Islands.