Residents of Portmore, St. Catherine yesterday (Oct. 9), took time out to honour the country’s past and present Olympic athletes, at a ceremony held at Burger King in the Portmore Plaza.
The athletes who participated in the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing, China, helping the country to its biggest medal haul to date, took part in a special motorcade, which saw them visiting several schools in the municipality. Past Olympians George Kerr and Neville Myton, were also awarded with citations at a special awards ceremony.
Chairman of the Portmore Municipal Council, Mayor Keith Hinds, told JIS News, that the motorcade and reception was the Council’s way of showing respect to the many athletes who have done so much for the country over the years. “They have done so much for us over the years this is just a small token of appreciation from the heart of a growing community to say thank you,” he said.
He noted that the Council had in fact planned to honour past Olympians George Kerr and Neville Myton and when the groundwork began for the celebrations for the athletes, it was decided to roll the two into one. A decision was also made and approval sought and obtained from the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), to rename a main street in Hellshire in honour of George Kerr. “All of these things were in train before Beijing but Beijing put the icing on the cake and we were able to bring it into the fold,” he told JIS News.
Olympians Neville Myton (‘Tokyo ’64 & Mexico ’68)(L) and George Kerr (Rome ’60) (R) display their citations received from the municipality of Portmore for their achievements in the field of athletics in the early Olympic Games. Both men represented Jamaica at different periods and Mr Myton still retains a junior record at the National Stadium.
Mayor Hinds had high praise for the members of the committee who put in long hours to ensure that the celebration was successful. Burger King and Spike Industries, also received commendation from Mayor Hinds for being model corporate bodies in Portmore.
Executive Board Member of Burger King, Richard Lake, told JIS News, that the company was happy to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience for the community, and pointed out that the organisation has been an integral part of the Portmore community. “We feel that we are a part of this growing community and we have been sponsoring the Portmore Football Club, as we give back to a community that has supported us,” he told JIS News.
The ceremony and motorcade were a collaborative effort between the Portmore Municipal Council, the Portmore Development Committee, and the Portmore Chamber of Commerce and Industries. The motorcade, which visited Ascot High, Breaton Junior High, Port Henderson Primary, Bridgeport Infant, Primary and High and Waterford Primary schools, allowed thousands of children in the community to see and show their love to the Olympians.