JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding, says Government is committed to establishing a centre of international sporting excellence, through which new and upcoming talents in all areas of sports will be identified and provided with professional training.
Government will also be strengthening institutional support to sporting organisations such as the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association, the Jamaica Olympics Association, and the Institute of Sports, to enable them to upgrade and improve their services.
These disclosures were made at a meeting this morning (Aug 25), with the Olympic Homecoming Planning committee at Jamaica House. Mr. Golding said Government also wanted to look at the long term development programmes for our sportsmen and women, who have accomplished so much for the country. He said that while the committee was busy putting together the plans for the celebrations of the Olympic team’s accomplishments in Beijing, China, as well as the rewards which would be considered for them and their coaches, the Government wanted to look at long term development plans and benefits.
These benefits, he said, should include the provision of health insurance, the creation of a medical centre that would address the medical needs for all areas of sporting activity, benefits for retired athletes, financial advice and management of finances, especially for those athletes whose financial status has now changed, based on their achievements at the Olympic Games.
The meeting proposed the establishment of a special bank account through which organisations and individuals could make their contribution to the development of some of the programmes being proposed. The reintroduction of a well rounded physical education programme in schools, starting at the primary level was also discussed and this is to be developed in consultation with the Ministry of Education.
The Prime Minister outlined the general plans for the celebrations of the homecoming of the Olympic team, but indicated that these will be finalised upon the return of Sports Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, who is scheduled to return to the island later this week from Beijing, China. Minister Grange will also be chairing the Homecoming Planning Committee.
The celebratory activities are being proposed for the end of September, by which time most of the athletes would have completed participation in other competitive sporting events throughout Europe. Four days of celebrations are being proposed to include motorcades throughout the Corporate Area and the second city of Montego Bay using selected routes; grand galas in both Kingston and Trelawny; visits to communities and schools; a major reception in Kingston and a thanksgiving church service.