Toni-Ann Singh’s master stroke
I was not even aware that a Miss World contest was going on in England last Saturday, until my bona fide colleague in media and friend for life, Curtis Myrie shouted out at the other end of the phone ‘she win! Who win?, was the natural question. The Jamaican girl, Toni-Ann Singh just win the Miss World title.
Wow! Massive news. The front page of the Sunday Observer, which was decided from the night before, would have to be torn up and re-done. It was worth it. The fact that I am not one for beauty contests stood for nothing. Jamaica had again conquered the world and it was fitting that such information ought to be packaged, projected and presented to the masses.
But then a thought struck. Did she put on anything from the Annie Palmer collection?, because I could have sworn that only days before, media outlets were inundated with arguments for and against something that another Jamaican had worn in another contest. Hold on … there was a Miss Universe event too. Oh yes. You see how uninterested this Jamaican is in beauty contests laced with other bits and pieces here and there?
The feeling was marvellous though, and a humongous massage for Jamaica’s global ego which continues to be jerked by highly publicised gun crimes.
My hell! What would this country be like if we only experienced 10 per cent of the crimes committed each year? It would be the greatest place to be. That’s for sure.
But Toni-Ann has given us all another fillip. Here is one occasion when you would like most Jamaican women to look like her, or be made with slight variations. She is immensely talented and fully represents the Jamaican heart, soul and spirit.
I don’t care if Bath in St Thomas, or Arcadia in the same parish wants to claim her. She has played a master stroke, and, who knows, she might well have converted a virtual ‘nuh business wid dem things dey’ man into one who might follow such events with keen interest henceforth.
Why nail Dr Chang to the cross?
I’m not sure what the fuss is about in respect of a statement made by Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, who, in effect, said that some criminals commit offences in order to get money so that they can pay lawyers to represent them in court.
Pardon me my hundreds of friends in the legal fraternity, but isn’t this something that has been going on for quite sometime?
And, is this the only thing that criminals commit crimes to do? Don’t they also go on the warpath and make life miserable for law-abiding citizens by using the proceeds of crime to visit the doctor, pay supermarket/wholesale bills; buy construction material; take taxis when they feel like, buy expensive vehicles when they want to, and much more?
So why am I not hearing the same things being said of doctors, merchants, general business people etc benefiting directly or indirectly too? We have reached a stage in our country’s history whereby we have to stop fooling around and deal with reality.
I knew a man in St Mary who was involved in irregular activities outside of the community in which we were raised. He was held by the police after he was caught with drugs, arrested, charged and was bailed. He got two of the finest lawyers at the time (both now deceased) to represent him, and their fees alone could build two five-bedroom houses. He went on the attack, including robbing one big businessman, in order to, among other things, find money to pay his legal fees. But guess what? He was killed in the line of his ‘duty’ before he could have his day in court.
Now, what do you call that?
Basil Butcher was a gift to cricket
Last week, death stole one of the finest West Indian cricketers from the Caribbean – Basil Butcher.
The 86-year-old, one of my father’s favourite strokemakers, had been a fixture on Guyana and West Indies teams during the 1950s and 60s and earned the reputation as a cricketer of class and authority, once described by Australia legend Sir Richie Benaud as the most difficult batsman to get out.
Butcher played 44 Test matches for the West Indies with an average of 43, including a best of 209 not out against England, but crucially, his 133 against England at Lord’s cricket ground in 1963 came out of anger, having read a letter from his wife in Guyana as he prepared to bat, that she had suffered a miscarriage.
Butcher made his debut against India at Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1958, the same time as legendary West Indies fast bowler Wes Hall. On that side were four Jamaicans – Franz ‘Jerry’ Alexander, the captain; JK Holt, O’Neil Gordon “Collie” Smith, who died in a car crash the following year in England, and the fiery, temperamental Roy Gilchrist. His returns of 28 and 64 not out laid the foundation for a bright career; and he ended in style in his last Test against England at Yorkshire ground, Leeds in 1969 with 91. All told, Butcher scored seven Test hundreds in a pool of 3,104 Test runs.
Five Test wickets were also harvested by him bowling offbreaks and legbreaks, but he was not the greatest catcher, Hall often lashing him for flooring chances. “You know the hurtful thing,” Hall said to me years ago, “the man would drop your catch and all he did was smile. He never said sorry,” Hall blurted out with a laugh.
It was all fun. Butcher represented fun. During New Zealand’s tour of the Caribbean in 1996, Butcher was given the task to name the man of the match in a one-day fixture against the West Indies at Bourda Oval, Guyana. He named the entire New Zealand team man of the match after they had defeated the West Indies.
‘How come you name an entire team man of the match?’ I asked him afterwards. “Oh dem baays (boys) ha no stars. Dey need some motivation,” he said and walked away in classic bow-legged fashion.
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That was Basil Butcher, a typical representation of true Guyanese folks – the nicest of all Caribbean people if you don’t include another former West Indies cricketer, Colin Croft.
Go easy on that ham, cake, liquor
Look ya now people, just go easy with the ham, cake and liquor over the next few days. Christmas is a time when food and drink are consumed in abundance, but just proceed with caution.
The recklessness on the road movie, starring all taxi drivers is in full swing. Parties are on all over the place and the silly extension of time to hold public events is taking a toll on some of us who like to sleep in between getting up to watch the West Indies play at 3:00 in the morning.
I have to send a special shout out to my true friend, a Rastaman in a certain South West St Elizabeth village, to stop hiding and licking the ham at Christmas time, claiming, when he is caught, that ‘ham a ham, pork a pork’. Simply cutting the crap and admitting to being a convert of the ‘Arnold’ and ‘Trenton’ culture would be in order.
Too much ham though, can lead to weight gain, which has consequences.
As for the cake, diabetes has no friend. Take on that kind in moderation. Afterwards we can all say that the time in Yuletide land was well spent.
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