Tappa deserves St. James PC accolade
It has come to my attention that the St. James Parish Council (StJPC) has approved a recommendation to have a street in Montego Bay named in honour of Jamaica's 1998 FIFA World Cup hero, midfield maestro Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, who is a native of the western city.
If the news is indeed true, and I have very good reasons to believe it is so, I would like to commend Whitmore, who is idolised by many persons across Jamaica; and the Mayor Gendon Harris led StJPC for having the good sense and insight to realise that, in honouring those among us, who have done well, it is a way of inspiring others to strive for greatness.
Within recent times, persons of ill-repute and even individuals with criminal antecedents have been the ones catching most of the attention in western Jamaica primarily on account of their ability to 'floss' their ill-gotten gains. Last year there were 215 murders in St. James, 105 in Westmoreland and 56 in Hanover.
I strongly believe that the best way to counteract the runaway reckless behaviour that has transformed Montego Bay from being the 'friendly city' it was only a few years to the capital of decadence, it has become today, is the instill good values into the current generation by pointing them to positive role models like Whitmore.
What I particularly like about this gesture by the StPPC is that unlike some entities, who have a penchant for not honouring successful individuals until they are either on their deathbed or have already died, they have chosen to honour Whitmore when he is alive and well and able to appreciate it.
Personally, I am elated with this move by the StJPC, not only because I am a big football fan walking around with many cherished memories of Whitmore wielding his magic on the football pitch, but more so because as a former sports master during his time as a student at St. James High School, I feel like a part of his success story.
While many persons might only know Whitmore because of his exploits, first as a Reggae Boy and later as coach of Reggae Boyz, there is much more than that. As a youngster from humble beginnings, he is one who has worked hard and made many sacrifices to make a name for himself.
To have the twin accolade of being one of the Jamaica's most successful footballers and the home grown national coach with the best record, there is no question that Whitmore has been a high achiever and is without a doubt, a credit to his country, his family, his old school and those of us have watched him grown and flourish over the years.
It should be noted that outside of coaching at the national level and at his old school, Whitmore is also a motivational speaker, who is not afraid to call a spade a spade. I can remember a few years ago, Whitmore gave a speech in which he lashed out at the corrupting influence of the lottery scam and was taken to task by several persons. One only needs to look at what is happening in western Jamaica today to see how right he was.
Whitmore who now holds the enviable position as a FIFA's Technical study officer, was earlier this year honoured by St James with a special community award, alongside fellow St. James sporting legend, famed umpire Steve Bucknor. I hope the people in Trelawny will take note and begin to start treating Usain Bolt's amazing legacy likewise.
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