At this time in our 50th year of political Independence when the
buzzwords “nationalism” and “patriotism” are being liberally sprinkled
over almost all aspects of social and political discussion, it is useful
to examine, if not in totality, just a few of the instances in which
globalisation had made its unstoppable intrusion in our polity.
few years ago, the majority of Jamaicans were hopping mad. It didn’t
matter that the airline had long been a losing proposition, bleeding
taxpayers about US$200 million annually.
heading for the fiscal cliff, and the ability we had to seek a buyer for
Air J from any place on the planet. In the end, we sold Air J to CAL
and, although the fuming has not died down locally, it hardly changes
the tough rules inherent in the globalised village that Planet Earth has
Red Stripe beer, sold the company to foreign interests, the late Paul
Geddes was a pariah in private conversation. How could he do such a
thing? many asked. Why would a Jamaican do that “to us”? others
we had taken them not only into our houses but our lives. They were
family. How could D&G “sell us out”, we said, while really not
thinking too clearly about Planet Earth as one big trading/commercial
They own just about all of the international spirit brands that are
worth anything, like Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, Guinness and now Red
Stripe. In hindsight, for D&G to have taken Red Stripe to front row
on the world stage, it would have had to do basically one of two things:
attempt to go head-to-head with the big multinationals, an almost
impossible mission, or sell out majority shareholding to one of them.
myself still reminisced about the “glory days” of a cold Red Stripe beer
being owned by D&G.
believe that I am exuding too much nationalism in congratulating Cedric
Blair as head of Red Stripe.
‘Red Stripe boss to run Brazilian acquisition – First local at helm of
brewer in 3 years’: “The board and executive team of Red Stripe welcome
Mr Blair to his new role and wish him every success,” said the company
in a statement to the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
stepped down in 2009 to make way for Alan Barnes. Barnes, who was
subsequently replaced in 2011 by Gonzalez, has been credited with
turning around the brewery’s performance in his only full financial year
at the helm. The company’s net profit for the nine months to March 31,
2012 was $757 million, up 70 per cent over the same period last year.”
rest of the developed world. We have produced scientists, researchers in
many fields, top managers, et al, but unfortunately the country’s
economic base does not allow for many of them to develop fully here,
take good jobs and make a financial success of themselves as they would
do in a European city, Canada or the USA.
as Cedric Blair has. As the Observer article also stated, “A
long-serving employee of Red Stripe, Blair has held roles mostly in
engineering and operations at the company since 1995. He was seconded in
2005 to Diageo North America, where he worked in the US spirits
industry before returning to Red Stripe as supply director in 2010.”
be commended for this move. I am certain that Blair will take Red Stripe
to bigger places than the person he replaced.
a success story can be. Since it was set up in Jamaica in 2001, it has
lived a dream — and that dream has been provided by Jamaicans.
of all places — to be its marketing manager from day one. That was Harry
Smith and he turned out to be Digicel’s godsend. He worked wonders. Now
he serves as a respected member of the Digicel Jamaica board.
itself a Jamaican company, I have yet to see a Jamaican CEO in the
forefront of things. Why is this so?
Jamaicans. Let us get cocky here. This is our 50th year of political
Independence and we have just creamed off at the Olympics!
“independence” is that our politics has created an economic environment
that drives the best minds and the most trained and creative and
innovative of us towards other shores like the USA, Canada, and Britain.
Digicel. But is Digicel saying to us that since 2001, not one single
Jamaican has been found fit enough to be considered CEO?