JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding has commended the country’s athletes for continuing to keep Jamaica on the map, even during times when the country faces major challenges in various areas.
“We owe them a great deal… we owe them far more than we are able to deliver. We have to recognise the work that is done by the athletes who, through their effort, have enabled us to have sports as one area of enduring, consistent success even at times when we are under pressure on so many other fronts,” he said.
Mr. Golding was addressing the sixth annual Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on (October 21).
The Prime Minister said that while the government is unable to provide the level of resources that the country’s sportsmen and women deserve, several measures are being worked on that do not necessarily involve money, citing the revised sports policy, which is now before the Human Resource sub-committee of Cabinet.
“It is something that has benefitted from wide consultation. The examination that will be done by the HR committee will determine whether we need to have further consultation before final signing off,” he said, while commending Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, for the Ministry’s work on the policy.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the proposal put forward by Minister Grange for a National Sports Commission, that would “provide overarching structure that will pull together all the government’s sports programmes, to ensure that they are properly co-ordinated, to ensure that the resources that are available are most efficiently utilised, and to provide that single point of reference, in terms of public policy support for sports in Jamaica.”
Mr. Golding commended the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, which has been doing a “tremendous job” and has managed its resources. “We thank as well, corporate sponsors who do provide a significant level of support for our sporting clubs and activities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Golding said the award memorialises the achievement of Jamaican cricketer, Courtney Walsh, one of the most outstanding sportsmen that the country has produced.
“It is important that his achievements must always be held out as a standard of what can be achieved through hard work, diligence and perseverance. This award also recognises the performance of contemporary sportsmen and women – persons who are still honing their skills – and it is important that we do that as well, because that is what encourages effort, that is what stimulates the ambition that must drive hard work,” he told the ceremony.
Aileen Bailey, 2004 Olympic sprint relay gold medalist walked away with this year’s award, edging out race car driver, David Summerbell Jnr; international chess master Jomo Pitterson, and two-time Olympic champion, Veronica Campbell-Brown.