JIS News

Past and current Olympians have expressed appreciation for the recognition which was bestowed on them by the Portmore Municipality, during a ceremony at the Portmore Plaza on October 9.
Former Olympians, George Kerr and Neville Myton, were presented with citations for achievements in previous Games, while current counterparts, Dwight Thomas, Andre Wellington, Richards Phillips, and Sanjay Ayre, were honoured for their exploits at the Beijing Olympics in China in August, and for the resulting positive response which their performances earned for Jamaica throughout the international community.
Kerr, a resident of Portmore, said he was elated to be honoured by the Portmore community, while commending the achievements of the Beijing Olympians.
Of triple Olympic champion and record holder, Usain Bolt, Kerr said the sprinter was a talented athlete, who was still to realize his true potential. Additionally, Kerr said he has great expectations of sprint relay gold medallist, Asafa Powell.
George Kerr competed in the 1959 Pan American games in Chicago, USA, where, as a member of the West Indies Federation team, he won the 400 metres, was second in the 800 metres, and was a member of the team which won the mile relay. He also participated in the Rome Olympics in 1960, again as a member of the West Indies Federation team.
Neville Myton, who competed in the 800 meters at both the 1964 and 1968 Olympics, and whose 44-year old national junior record in the event remains unbroken, echoed the sentiments of appreciation for the recognition bestowed on him. He, similarly, praised the exploits of the 2008 Olympians, pointing out that their achievements have sent a clear signal to Jamaicans. “It says to all Jamaicans, wherever you are from, you too can accomplish if you really work hard,” Myton said.
Dwight Thomas, a member of Jamaica’s record-breaking sprint relay championship team in China, and Sanjay Ayre, who contested the Men’s individual 400m event, and was a member of the mile relay team which reached the final in Beijing, said they were overwhelmed at the outpouring of affection shown by the country since their return from the Games, and described the recognition by the Portmore community as “.a really nice gesture”.
Thomas and Ayre, along with Andre Wellington and Richard Phillips, also participated in a motorcade, which saw them visiting several schools throughout the Municipality. These include: Ascot High, Braeton Junior High, Port Henderson Primary, Bridgeport Infant, Primary, and High, and Waterford Primary Schools, whose students got the opportunity to interface with the athletes.
Thomas and Ayre told JIS News, that although Jamaica is a small country, the Olympians’ exploits show that “. Jamaicans are a set of talented people, who can be the best at anything we do. And if they (citizens) emulate the successes (that) we (the) Olympians have (attained), they will definitely come out to be someone important one day.”
Chairman of the Portmore Municipal Council, Mayor Keith Hinds, told JIS News, that the organization had, for some time, been contemplating honouring Messers Kerr and Myton. As such, consequent on the announcement of the Government’s plans to stage the Olympic Homecoming Celebrations, which was deemed timely, a decision was taken to incorporate the Council’s plans with the national initiative, to have one event. He also informed that approval was sought and obtained from the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), to rename a main street in Hellshire, in honour of George Kerr.
The ceremony and motorcade were a collaborative effort involving the Portmore Municipal Council, the Portmore Development Committee, and the Portmore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.