THE remarkable feats of Jamaican athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and to a lesser extent those of Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago, must make all citizens of our Caribbean Community (Caricom) quite proud to be part of the chain of islands and mainland territories that comprise this microcosm of peoples of diversified ethnicities, cultures, economic and political systems of the world.
It's a good time to be a citizen of the Caribbean. As a journalist of this region, I join in saluting the Jamaican who is the super-hero and fastest runner on this planet—Usain Bolt—and his admirable colleagues, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir, for their record-breaking stunning performances that made a clean sweep of the gold, silver and bronze medals harvested for the trio's historic 200 metre sprint last Thursday.
As a people, we have grown accustomed to the self-flagellation syndrome, beating up ourselves when overwhelmed by our myriad of social, economic and political woes, to the extent, too often, of ignoring our achievements that others easily recognise before we join in the applause.
However, starting with the stunning performances and medals achievements by Cuba in earlier Olympic years, our Caricom patch of the Greater Caribbean has been increasingly moving away from narrow perspectives to joyfully embrace the achievements of all fellow citizens, predominantly so in the fields of sport and the performing arts.
The brave, heartwarming achievements of our athletes are increasingly doing what our cricketers have for so long been doing-make us happy and proud, when not disappointed and angry by failures-and general contrasting moods and behaviour patterns that reveal so much of what more unite than divide us as people of "one Community".
For Jamaica, the achievements of its athletes would forever be recalled by the gold, silver and bronze medals achieved in this year when its marks its Golden Jubilee of its political independence from Britain, the former colonial ruler hosting the 2012 Olympic Games.
As Barbados' Daily Nation editorially noted last week, "Jamaica, a very open, multi-party democracy, has long been a pacesetter in the areas of politics, culture, education and sports in our region."
It added: "Its downside as a crime-ridden society with notorious gun-running, narco-traffick- ing gangsters who have spawned an epidemic in killings and armed robberies, continue to be exposed, analysed and lamented by the country's media.
"At the same time, the media remain quite forthcoming in reporting and applauding the vibrancy and creativity of national achievements in sports, creative and performing arts, as well as commending the richness of its more famous cuisine..."
Well, at this time of national euphoria with a combination of "golden" performances at the Olympic Games and celebration of its Golden Jubilee of Independence from British colonial rule, it appears as if Jamaica is to now also benefit from a promised helpful hand by the USA, the world's superpower, whose subversive activities had done much political and economic harm to the country during the decades of the 1970s and 1980s.
According to the US diplomat who was President Barack Obama's special representative for last week's official independence anniversary events, Liliand Ayalde, deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, "as a friend of Jamaica, we (US government) would like to see its fiscal health up to speed to enter into a (new) agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)..."
Her government, she assured, was ready to offer Jamaica technical assistance to help resolve the issues that are preventing the government from entering a new IMF agreement. I imagine that once such assistance is identified the government would consider taking up this open offer from "Uncle Sam".
Ironically, while this expression of United States goodwill toward Jamaica surfaced last week, it was being reported out of New York that the Obama administration was exercising political muscle on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to cut off Barbados from the category of countries receiving low-interest loans for social and economic development.
Before the Obama presidency, the USA was working behind the scenes to influence the international financial institutions to cut small but vibrant economies like Barbados from their list of countries depending on favourable concessions for loans, including low interest in repayments
It would seem that this time around, success by the USA in getting Barbados removed from the category of countries currently benefitting from IDB low-interest loans, could also help in extending this policy also to, among others in this hemisphere, the Bahamas and even Brazil.
Question is whether the IDB, which has an impressive profile in the funding assistance provided Caribbean and Latin American countries, would now genuflect to such renewed Washington pressures that could have serious consequences for Barbados—the Caricom state that has for long been a positive reference point in economic management—but now recently downgraded to "junk bond" status by the US-based credit rating agency, Standard and Poor's.