You may say it is not directly their business but what affects one is sure to affect another if not now then in the future as Jamaicans have joined in querying the where about of millions of dollars invested by eight-time Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt.
The investigation into a multi-million dollar fraud at the Kingston-based investment firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL), which has reportedly seen Bolt’s $12 million account left almost empty, is dominating discussion in the Caribbean nation.
So much so that one of the country’s top dance hall artists, Gage, quickly released a song “SSL,” whose chorus repeatedly asks the above question in Jamaican patois.
True to the traditions of Jamaica’s vibrant and straight-talking music scene, Gage’s lyrics highlight the division between Kingston’s affluent and influential “uptown” residents and the young people hustling in the city’s poorer areas.
The song points out government efforts to clamp down on telephone and lottery scams from what he calls “ghetto youth,” but notes those young people never engaged in such large-scale fraud as what is suspected in the SSL investigation.
Finance Minister Nigel Clarke appeared to acknowledge that sentiment when he said he wanted to see tough sanctions on the fraudsters.
“The discrepancy between sanctions for white-collar crime and other forms of crime must be erased. If you rob depositors, or you defraud investors and you put our financial system and our way of life at risk, the Jamaican society wants you put away for a long time a long, long, time,” he told AFP.
Bolt is one of around 40 people whose accounts may have been impacted by the fraud. While his status as a national hero means his situation has dominated the news, there is concern that elderly investors may also have been left penniless.
Clarke said he will ask the FBI and other foreign agencies to help with the investigations after replacing members of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) board.
The FSC has taken over temporary management of SSL and appointed a special auditor.
Jamaican police raided the home of a former employee of the company and took away documents, but no suspect has yet been charged.
Those in the financial world are hoping that confidence in the country’s banking and investment institutions will not be damaged.
Bolt who is an eight-time Olympic gold medal winner,is equally world record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter races.