“It’s 10 days, so just give it time and see what will happen.”
After the announcement of the major Stocks and Securities Ltd (SSL) fraud, with more than US$12 million essentially stolen from sprint legend Usain Bolt’s pockets, the nation and the world have been at a standstill. The shock is still potent, however the curiosity to know where and how this incident pans out overpowers all else.
As soon as Bolt’s attorneys revealed the timeline he was willing to give the investment firm, SSL, to return his money – 10 days – the entire country began counting down. Now, on day 10, the track-and-field icon has for the first time spoken publicly and specifically about the situation at hand.
When questioned by journalists today about the impact the SSL fraud scandal has had on his mental state, he replied: “For me, it’s tough, you know. But I think through the years of competing that helped me to understand and just try to focus on my family and try not to think too much about it because it’s a stressful situation.”
Bolt chuckled at the mention of his former business manager Norman Peart’s claim that his departure from the team was an ‘amicable’ experience.
“It’s simple, he was fired. That’s pretty much all I have to say. It was not amicable. He was fired from his job,” Bolt said.
When questioned about his warning to SSL that a lawsuit might be filed if his money is not returned by the end of the deadline outlined in a January 16 demand letter to the investment firm, he held back on the details but told journalists to wait and see what happens.
Bolt, acknowledging that he has seen the public’s reaction to the SSL scandal, said he was just as confused and disappointed to see the financial system fail so devastatingly that it has had such a catastrophic impact on the lives of more than 35 individuals and the trust of an entire nation.
When confronted with rumours that the fraud has now left him ‘broke’, Bolt offered an amused chuckle while reassuring the public that that was not the case.
“I’m not broke, but it definitely put a damper on me. It was for my future. Everybody knows I have three kids, still looking after my parents and I still want to live very well,” he said.
With all of Jamaica enthusiastically supporting Bolt and the other victims, there is no doubt that it has been a devastating blow.
– Zemelyah Shaw is an Our Today writer. Send your feedback to [email protected]
READ: Bolt’s heart remains with Jamaica, despite SSL fraud scandal