JIS News

The Government’s Olympic Homecoming Celebration Fund has been boosted by a $4 million contribution from the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation.
A cheque in this amount was, on Wednesday (Oct. 1), presented to Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister, Olivia Grange, by President of the Foundation, and Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, Jesus Silva, at Jamaica House, during a post-Cabinet media briefing.
The funds, which will assist in offsetting the cost of staging a week of activities, between October 3 and 10, to celebrate the success of Jamaica’s Olympians at the Beijing Summer Olympics in China in August, represent contributions from some 10 Spanish entities, with current investments in Jamaica. These include: Bahia Principe, Riu, Hospiten, Iberostar, Fiesta, and Calatel, which, primarily, comprise the Foundation.
According to a letter to Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, from Ambassador Silva, which was read by Miss Grange, the contribution was the result of a request from State Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz, for assistance.
Ambassador Silva said the contribution was the entities’ way of showing that they “feel a part of your country.”
“What [good] happens for Jamaica, is good for them (investors) too, and they are also as proud as you all are, about this fantastic achievement. We (the Foundation) have been partnering with the Government in several projects, and on this occasion, it was the group that took the initiative, to really offer this help. They asked the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation to channel and coordinate the efforts, and, of course, we were very pleased to [assist],” he stated.
Ambassador Silva, who is also the Spanish Foundation President, informed that the organisation is a collective undertaking, initiated by the companies, as a way of putting together efforts and means to establish projects or sponsor activities in Jamaica, particularly in education, tourism, culture, and social developments which would benefit the country.
In addition to the funds, Ambassador Silva disclosed that the resort properties would be providing complimentary rooms, to afford the athletes “some well-deserved vacation” from their hectic activities this year.
In response, Miss Grange conveyed the Ministry’s and administration’s gratitude for the gesture, describing it as an admirable display of “corporate spirit and conscience.”
“I want to thank the Spanish investors in Jamaica, for really recognising the achievements of our athletes, and for demonstrating the appreciation by putting their money where their mouth is,” the Minister said.
The week-long activities get underway on Friday (Oct. 3), with a welcome reception at the Norman Manley International Airport, where the athletes will be met by a delegation, headed by Mr. Golding, at 10 o’clock. During that reception, the medallists will be presented with the Keys to the City of Kingston by Mayor Desmond McKenzie. The athletes will then be paraded along a designated route throughout the Corporate Area, in a motorcade beginning at the Harbour View round-a-bout at 11 o’clock, culminating at the National Stadium car park. Later in the evening, the athletes will attend a Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA) fundraising dinner at the Strawberry Hill Hotel in St. Andrew.
A second motorcade will take place on Tuesday, October 7 from Montego Bay in St. James to Falmouth in Trelawny. Prior to this, the medallists will also be presented with the Keys to the City of Montego Bay by Mayor Charles Sinclair, during a civic ceremony in Sam Sharpe Square.
Other activities planned include: a National Sports Gala at the National Stadium on October 4; a book launch and signing by Jamaican judge, Patrick Robinson, author of the publication: “Jamaican Athletics: A Model to the World” at the Hope United Church Hall, and a religious service and gospel concert at Emancipation Park on October 5; visits by the athletes to their alma maters on October 6; a reception at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay on October 7; a Trelawny Gala and Homecoming on October 8, and a Digicel-sponsored banquet at Vale Royal on October 10, which will culminate the activities.