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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has called on the private sector to invest more in the country’s sports development noting that this is an area of critical importance in the national development process.

The call came in an address to the Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence function held last night (Oct 18) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.  The award presented annually recognizes the achievements of a sports person who in addition to excelling in the field of sport also displays exemplary principles such as humility, integrity and discipline. This year’s nominees included female cricketer, Stephanie Taylor, Olympians, Nesta Carter and Veronica Campbell-Brown. Sprint queen, Veronica Campbell Brown emerged winner of this year’s Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence trophy.  

Prime Minister Simpson Miller said while the Sports Development Fund, SDF, which contributes to sports development through financial assistance has been playing its role with some assistance from the budget, “it is not enough money to do all that we should and the reality is that the Government is severely limited in how much it can spend as it grapples to restore the economy to viability.” While recognizing the contribution to sport by private sector companies, the Prime Minister said “more has to be done” for sport development

In the 2011/2012 financial year the SDF spent some $178 million on physical infrastructure with a further $163 million of contribution to national sports associations and $55 million in support of some athletes and special programmes.

The Prime Minister said Jamaica’s sports men and women including the special Olympians and Paralympians have served Jamaica well over the years and “have lifted our profiles in the international environment making Jamaica more famous than it otherwise would have been”