JIS News

Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange, has said that it is the resilience of our ancestors that has become a beacon of hope to successive generations.
It is this heritage that has bred greatness such as that which was displayed by the Jamaican team at the 2008 Olympic Games, Minister Grange said, while speaking at the National Heritage Thanksgiving Service held at the New Testament Church of God, Waltham Park Road in Kingston this morning (Oct. 19).
“This is the basis on which we have united the celebration of our service of thanksgiving for our rich heritage with one of thanks to God for the achievements of our athletes. It is because we understand that there could be not one without the other,” the Sports Minister said of the Heritage Thanksgiving Service, which was to see the participation of the athletes as part of celebrations to mark the homecoming of the Olympians. The service was initially scheduled for last Sunday October 12 at Emancipation Park but was postponed because of the inclement weather.
“We understand very well that when Shelly-Anne Fraser, the pocket rocket threw herself mightily in that race, or when Sherone Simpson made that mighty effort to come from behind, or when Veronica (Campbell Brown) surged in magnificent form or as the streams of music rose in the Bird’s Nest, the pride and joy of all Jamaica swelled to unequalled proportion,” Minister Grange noted.
She pointed out that it was to continue the legacy of such greatness that National Heroes and the many others who led the fight for freedom had died, citing Nanny, Sam Sharpe, Paul Bogle, William Gordon, Marcus Garvey, Cudjoe, Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante.
Recalling the times of enslaved Africans, she said they had affirmed the integrity of their cultural pedigree through resilience, resoluteness in the face of hardship and finding a way to be free. Outlining the various means by which this was done, she pointed to resistance; those who chose death; those who waited patiently for the opportunity to escape to freedom; and those who used their self-acquired freedom to wage war on oppressors, even under exile, as maroons.
“In saluting our athletes, let us not forget to salute the environment that sustains them: the green, luscious vegetation, the sunshine and rain…let us arise and be mindful of our responsibility to keep our country clean and beautiful. And so we salute our heroes, all who have played and continue to play a part in the sustaining of national pride and joy, including our Beijing heroes,” Miss Grange told the congregation.
Also participating in the service were Prime Minister, Bruce Golding; Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, other Government officials, and former Minister of Environment and Housing, Easton Douglas, representing Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller.