You are here
A Summer to remember
We are already in the middle of what is turning out to be quite a memorable summer. The highlight will probably be the Summer Olympic Games, officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad, here in London, from July 27 to August 12. August will also mark the 50th anniversary of independence for both Jamaica (August 6) and Trinidad and Tobago (August 31) from the UK. Although Trinidad and Tobago is not the land of my birth, it is a place I do consider a home, so this is a most auspicious time.
I am writing this before the Olympics’ opening ceremony, which will be watched by as many as a billion viewers. To be honest, I made no real effort to get tickets, as I prefer to enjoy the games from the comfort of our own home. The media coverage of the security measures has also put me off in two ways.
Firstly, there is the scale of the military build-up. We are witnessing the biggest military deployment on British soil since the second world war. From what I understand, there are around 20,000 troops, 10,000 extra police officers, the RAF is patrolling the skies in Puma helicopters and Typhoon fighter jets, and the Royal Navy’s biggest battleship, the HMS Ocean, is moored on the Thames, providing a base for Lynx helicopters manned with snipers. Most controversial, however, is the installation of surface-to-air missile batteries on residential apartment blocks.
Secondly, (in addition to the above), there is, of course, the private security force of G4S plc, which has come under much scrutiny. There has been much public criticism of their failure to provide the contracted 10,000-strong security detail for the games but their recruitment and training process does not inspire much confidence. The extent of their failings seems confusing for a company that is the world’s third-biggest employer.
In my mind, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and despite the best efforts of the military, the G4S component presents a big security risk. My mother, who has been visiting us, thinks that I am being too negative but I still prefer to just watch everything from the comfort of our home.
Of course, the chatter on the Internet has been getting louder, as conspiracy theorists like William Henry, Stewart Swerdlow, Bob Schlenker, Chad Stuemke, Rik Clay, Ian Crane and, of course, David Icke are going to town on what they believe is happening with the Olympics.
The Olympics aside, I am looking forward to visiting the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Village (http://trinbagovillage.com) that the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission has set up in Kilburn (north London) to run from July 26 to August 25. I am unsure whether the High Commission has set up any clear objectives, like trade or tourism promotion, but the lack of any such targeted content on the Web site suggests that it will focus on bringing together diaspora to celebrate 50 years of independence.
Last month I was reading an article by Michael Henderson bemoaning the poor support by West Indians resident in the UK for the Test matches at Lord’s, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston. The turnout by West Indian supporters was shameful in his opinion. He suggested that the West Indian diaspora may be losing its connection to its roots. With that in mind, the work by the High Commission comes at an opportune time and would help the diaspora reconnect outside of just Nottinghill carnival.
Everything appears to be free of charge and artistes like Orange Sky, Sheldon Blackman, Ella Andall and 3canal are scheduled to perform. I have some relatives arriving in early August and we are all looking forward to August 7 to 11 when Machel Montano will hold court at the venue.
Having missed Trinidad Carnival this year, I am certainly looking forward to seeing Mr Fete himself. Especially when it appears that he will not return for Nottinghill Carnival events. Kudos to the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission and the team behind this effort.
The private sector continues to pick up where government egos fall down, as promoters are advertising joint Jamaica/Trinidad and Tobago parties. Despite talk of having joint celebrations and even an official joint presence here for the Olympics—politics and egos have once again squandered a great opportunity.
Recently, I found myself daydreaming of a time when there would even be a single Caribbean Olympics team for the Summer Olympics. Imagine what that could do for Caribbean unity? My name is Derren Joseph and I love my country. Despite its challenges, I continue to have the audacity of hope that we will enjoy a brighter tomorrow.
Read more on derrenjoseph.blogspot.com
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.