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    • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has hailed the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund’s approximately $4.4 billion investment in Jamaica’s sports development since its inception in 2003.
    • This input, she said, includes over $532 million channeled into the sector during the last fiscal year.
    • The Prime Minister noted the contribution in her speech delivered by Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, at Thursday’s (October 16) 10th Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence ceremony

    Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has hailed the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund’s approximately $4.4 billion investment in Jamaica’s sports development since its inception in 2003.

    This input, she said, includes over $532 million channeled into the sector during the last fiscal year.

    The Prime Minister noted the contribution in her speech delivered by Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change Minister, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, at Thursday’s (October 16) 10th Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence ceremony, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

    Mrs. Simpson Miller also commended several other Government entities, including the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), and Social Development Commission (SDC), and the national sports associations and federations, for their contribution to the country’s sports development.

    She further highlighted the role of the private sector, noting that the Government alone “will never be able to provide all the support needed to advance sports development. The sponsorships and endorsements that are provided by the private sector are extremely important.”

    The Prime Minister also acknowledged the input of Jamaicans in the Diaspora, whom she stressed “must not be ignored”, adding that “they continue to support our athletes, especially when they are competing overseas.”

    Mrs. Simpson Miller pointed out that Jamaica has been able to perform exceptionally well on the international stage, and in instances, much better than many countries with larger geographical, space, budgets, and facilities.

    “Jamaica’s exceptional international sports performance is not by chance. We have coaches who can be compared with the best anywhere. We have internationally recognized sports administrators, (and) we have some of the best sports programmes at the primary, secondary, tertiary, and national levels,” she stated.

    Mrs. Simpson Miller highlighted several sports development policies and programmes which have either been implemented or are in the process of being carried out by the administration.

    These, she informed, include a National Sports Policy, which has been instituted “to create a dynamic and enabling environment in which persons enjoy and excel in sports at all levels, while building strong bonds of unity in their communities.”

    The Prime Minister also noted the High School Sports Infrastructure Project, being implemented in partnership with the SDF, and the Sugar Transformation Project, “to begin to address some of the infrastructure needs at the level of the secondary schools.”

    “The projects will improve fields, running tracks, and courts, in 24 high schools. The projects will cost (over) $250 million and (are) intended to further enhance the sport facilities in the schools identified,” she indicated.

    Mrs. Simpson Miller advised that the administration has also commenced development of a health insurance plan for the nation’s athletes, and assured that “with the support of the SDF, Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), and National Health Fund (NHF), we are working to make the health insurance plan a reality.”

    She also highlighted the Build Jamaica Project, which was launched by Sports Minister, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley in Three Hills, St. Mary on Thursday (October 16), and is being funded by the United Kingdom-based TOP Foundation, and Youth Sports Trust, under a four-year grant.

    This project will train young people across Jamaica to become leaders in sports, Mrs. Simpson Miller said, adding that “as a nation, we must use sports as a vehicle for development of our youth.”

    “Jamaica has become an even more dominant world beater in sports. We intend to keep our winning advantage, building on the work of the early pioneers, such as George Headley, Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, Cynthia Thompson, and others who paved the way. Our generation cannot afford to drop the baton,” she stated.

    Olympian, Michael Frater, was awarded the 2014 Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence.

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