Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is working to ensure that Jamaica hosts more international track and field and other sporting events.
Addressing the unveiling ceremony for the statue of Olympian, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, at Statue Park, National Stadium, in Kingston, on October 14, the Prime Minister acknowledged that Jamaica has missed out on hosting some events, such as the World Sprint Championships and football matches, and assured that the Government is working to develop the infrastructure to take full advantage of future opportunities.
“The Government has already started the process under the banner of Jamaica 55 Legacy Projects to improve the National Stadium Complex, the Trelawny (Multipurpose) Stadium, Chedwin Park Sporting Complex in St. Catherine, Drax Hall in St. Ann and the Herb McKenley Stadium in Clarendon. All of these will see significant improvements,” he said.
Mr. Holness reiterated plans for the National Stadium Complex and the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium to be part of developments for sports tourism, which is worth an estimated US$8 billion globally.
Meanwhile, in his tribute to Mrs. Fraser Pryce, affectionately known as the ‘Pocket Rocket’, the Prime Minister said based on her stellar performance in track and field, she “reserves and deserves a place in the annals of track and field.”
“Shelly has achieved so much winning a total of six Olympic medals, including two gold medals and nine world championship medals, including an impressive seven gold medals. She truly epitomises the Jamaican term ‘likkle but tallawah’,” he said.
Mr. Holness noted that the achievement of world class athletes, like Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, creative artistes, world renowned scholars and scientists “is primarily what accounts for Brand Jamaica.”
The Prime Minister informed that next year, statues of other Olympians, such as Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell will be added to the National Stadium’s Statue Park.
In her remarks, Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the unveiling of Mrs. Fraser Pryce’s statue is being done to coincide with National Heritage Week, which runs from October 8 to 15 and is “in honour of (Jamaica’s) glorious heritage in sports.”
Ms. Grange said Mrs. Fraser Pryce brings to focus, “what has been achieved in national output by women of substance and women who are never daunted by circumstances of their beginnings, but understand that through faith in God and self, they could outdo themselves and shine.”
“Shelly Ann’s story is one of the many narratives of the Jamaican woman, who remains steadfast in the belief in her inherent abilities, daring to step out and rise above the fray, both here and abroad,” the Minister said.
Ms. Grange applauded Mrs. Fraser Pryce for becoming a “model for girls and young women across Jamaica” and hailed Sculptor, Basil Watson, for his work in capturing one of Shelly’s moments.
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President, Dr. Warren Blake, said the tribute to Mrs. Fraser Pryce and the ones for athletes to come are fitting, as they have been immortalised for others to see.
In her response, Mrs. Fraser Pryce expressed gratitude to the Government for hosting the event and unveiling the statue in her honour.
Several other Government Ministers and dignitaries were in attendance as well as the family, friends and well-wishers of Mrs. Fraser Pryce.