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“JAMAICA SPORTING GENIUS: SUSTAINING AND INDUSTRIALIZATION EXCELLENCE” Speech by Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.

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    “JAMAICA SPORTING GENIUS: SUSTAINING AND INDUSTRIALIZATION EXCELLENCE”

     

      

    SPEECH BY SIR HILARY BECKLES

    VICE CHANCELLOR

    UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES

    AT THE

    RJR NATIONAL SPORTSMAN & SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

      

    JAMAICA PEGASUS HOTEL

    FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2016

     

    AN OLD FRIEND OF MINE, AN HISTORIAN OF PREHISTORY, ONCE POSITED THE THESIS THAT ONLY IN COUNTRIES WHERE DINOSAURS ONCE DWELLED DID MEN AND WOMEN ACQUIRE AND PASS ON THROUGH DNA THE SURVIVAL GENE FOR HIGH SPEED SPRINTING.

     

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DID NOT KNOW THIS, PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT THIS MAGNIFICENT LAND OF WOOD AND WATER, WAS ALSO HOME TO THE T-REX!

     

    PLEASE ALSO RECOGNIZE, ALL MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, THAT I HAVE PRESENTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, THE BECKLES THEORY FOR THE SIMULTANEOUS EXISTENCE OF BOLT, THE BEAST, AND SHELLY, THE BEAUTY!    

     

    FORTUNATELY, FRIENDS, I AM AN HISTORIAN OF THE MODERN ERA AND I CAN SAY WITH GREATER CERTAINTY THAT SINCE THE MID-20TH CENTURY, WHEN THE RULE OF LAW WAS APPLICABLE TO ALL, AND RESPECT FOR THE SOVEREIGNTY OF SOCIETIES BECAME A RIGHT AND A NORM, NO NATION UNDER GOD’S SUN HAS LOCALLY PRODUCED AND GLOBALLY LAUNCHED AS MANY EXCELLENT AND RESPECTED ATHLETES AS JAMAICA.

     

    I CAN ALSO SAY THAT SINCE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL, IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE AND CLASS, BECAME THE STANDARD BY WHICH MEN AND WOMEN COMPETE, NO OTHER NATION HAS ACHIEVED A HIGHER LEVEL OF PRODUCTIVITY IN THE PROFICIENCY OF PURE CLASS, IN SO MANY ENDEAVORS, AS JAMAICA.

     

    TODAY, JAMAICA IS RECOGNIZED EVERYWHERE ON OUR PLANET EARTH, WHERE HUMANITY IS PREPARED TO BE GENEROUS AND COMMITTED TO THE ARTICULATION OF TRUTH, AS AN ICONIC ISLAND THAT HAS ATTAINED AN UNPRECEDENTED LEVEL OF HIGH PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE IN SPORT.

     

    IT IS HERE, IN JA, IN THIS INCUBATOR OF INCIPIENT EXCELLENCE, THAT THE WORLD HAS COME TO RECOGNIZE SPORT, NOT ONLY AS SOCIAL SPECTACLE WHERE MIRACLES ARE VISUALIZED, BUT AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE HUMAN CAPACITY FOR SUPER HUMAN INJECTION OF EXTRAORDINARY EFFORT, THE DOMESTICATION OF SOPHISTICATED SKILL, AND THE EXPRESSION OF STYLE WITH A SMILE, AND PANACHE WITH POISE.

     

    I OFFER MAXIMUM RESPECT TO THE CUSTODIANS OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY LEGACY AND THANK YOU, ON OUR COLLECTIVE BEHALF, FOR THE WISDOM AND CONFIDENCE SHOWN IN BRINGING US HERE, ONCE AGAIN, FOR THE 55TH TIME, TO PAY HOMAGE TO THIS TRUTH.

     

    WE TAKE THIS HISTORY OF GRAND ACHIEVEMENTS LIGHTLY AT OUR PERIL.

    IN THIS ERA OF FISCAL AUSTERITY THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW TO GIVE THANKS, AND TO LAVISHLY CELEBRATE WITH PASSION AND PRIDE THE PHENOMENAL ATTAINMENTS OF OUR SPORTS MEN AND SPORTS WOMEN.

     

    WE CELEBRATE RJR, OUR HOST, THAT CONTINUES TO BE A COMMITTED, CORPORATE GLEANER OF TRUTH AND A VISIONARY LEADER IN THE SEARCH FOR A BIGGER, BETTER FUTURE.   

     

    TO ALL OUR DISTINGUISHED NOMINEES AND AWARDEES, MY WIFE AND I JOIN WITH YOUR ADMIRERS IN CELEBRATING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU, AND WISH FOR YOU A FUTURE OF GOOD HEALTH, PEACE OF MIND, AND GOD’S SPEED.

     

    BUT FRIENDS, HOW DO WE SUSTAIN THIS CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE, CELEBRATED HERE TODAY, THAT IS SO DEEPLY ROOTED IN THE NATIONAL IMAGINATION?

     

    HOW DO WE ELEVATE TO THE HIGHEST ECHELONS OF OUR FUTURE THE PASSIONATE PROPENSITY IN OUR COMMUNITY TO CONTINUOUSLY PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF THE POSSIBLE, RENDERING PRESENT PARAMETERS PASSE, AND CARVING NEW FRONTIERS IN RECORD TIME?

     

    I OFFER YOU MY VIEW, FORMULATED IN THE NARRATIVE OF ECONOMIC HISTORY, MY ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE. I HAVE SEEN HOW, AND UNDERSTAND WHY, SOME NATIONS HAVE SUSTAINED AND OTHER HAVE FAILED TO MAINTAIN EXCELLENCE ACHIEVED WITHIN THEIR CULTURE.

     

    TO LOSE ANCESTRAL EXCELLENCE IN SOME CIVILIZATIONS IS CONSIDERED A CULTURAL CRIME. THE SWISS, FOR EXAMPLE, HAVE BEEN ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF MAKING THE WORLD’S FINEST TIME MACHINES FOR OVER 500 YEARS.

     

     

     

    I HAVE SEEN HOW SWISS TIME MAKING EXCELLENCE HAS BEEN SUSTAINED THROUGH CENTURIES BY EDUCATION, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, POLITICAL SKILL, YOUTH SOCIALIZATION, AND GLOBAL PENETRATION. IT IS MORE A SCIENCE THAN AN ART. THE ENTIRE SOCIETY IS GALVANIZED AROUND THE NEED TO SUSTAIN THE BRILLIANCE OF LEGENDARY INNOVATORS.

     

    INDUSTRY AND THE ACADEMY, INNOVATORS AND INVESTORS HAVE RECOGNIZED THE CRITICAL ROLE OF TEACHING, LEARNING, AND RESEARCH. SCIENTISTS AND SOCIOLOGISTS MUST ENGAGE MANUFACTURERS AND MERCHANTS TO ENSURE THAT THERE IS EQUITY AND JUSTICE AS THE VALUE CREATORS GET THEIR RIGHTFUL SHARE OF THE VALUE ADDED.

     

    JAMAICA, AS AN ECONOMY, IS ON THE CUSP OF THIS MOMENT. WE MUST INSTITUTIONALIZE IT, INDUSTRIALIZE IT, OR LOSE IT! THIS INDIGENOUS GENIUS IS THE GOLD THAT MUST GLITTER AS NEW INDUSTRIES COME HITHER. THE PRODUCTION OF LEGACY MUST PROLIFERATE EVERYWHERE THERE IS MERCHANDIZING TO BE DONE.

     

    EVERY CHILD MUST SEE, READ, AND KNOW THE RIDDLE; CONCEPTUALIZED IN JAMAICA; DESIGNED IN JAMAICA; MANUFACTURED IN JAMAICA; PATENTED IN JAMAICA; AND GLOBALIZED DISTRIBUTED FROM JAMAICA BY JAMAICANS! THIS IS THE ONLY WAY THE GENIUS OF JAMAICAN SPORTSWOMEN AND SPORTSMEN CAN GENERATE WEALTH FOR GENERATIONS OF LEGENDS TO COME.

     

    I CELEBRATE THOSE ENTREPRENEURIAL VISIONARIES WHO HAVE ALREADY TAKEN TO THIS RACE. I KNOW OF SUN ISLAND THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER, BUT I AM SURE THERE ARE OTHERS. YOUR UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES IS COMMITTED TO JOINING THIS PROCESS OF FORGING STRONGER LINKS BETWEEN OUR ATHLETES AND EDUCATION CONTENT, MEDICINE AND MANAGEMENT, AND OUR INNOVATORS AND INVESTORS.

     

    THE SOON TO BE LAUNCHED UWI INSTITUTE OF SPORTS WITH CENTERS ACROSS THE CAMPUSES OF THE REGION, ALONG WITH THE LEGENDARY G C FOSTER COLLEGE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT, WILL BE A FOCAL POINT OF INTERACTION. IN ACADEMIA WE HAVE TO DO SO MUCH MORE TO CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINING THIS EXCELLENCE.

     

    I AM HONORED TO HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONCEPTUALIZE AND DEVELOP THE USAIN BOLT SPORTS COMPLEX AT THE CAVE HILL CAMPUS OF UWI IN BARBADOS, THE FINEST STATE OF THE ART SPORT FACILITY IN THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN. IT IS A MAGNIFICENT MONUMENT TO A LIVING LEGEND, A GRADUATE OF THE UWI, AND A HERO OF THE WORLD AT LARGE.

     

    I WILL END HERE BECAUSE I RUN THE RISK OF GIVING A LECTURE ON THIS LEGACY WHICH IS NOT MY REMIT TODAY. AND SO, FRIENDS AND COMRADES, NOMINEES AND AWARDEES, AND OUR DISTINGUISHED HOST, “NUFF RESPECT” AND MAY JAMAICAN SPORTS CONTINUE TO BLAZE FRESH TRAILS FOR ALL OF MANKIND.