Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Monday, 04 December 2017 17:06

Usain Bolt immortalized in statue

Sprint legend Usain Bolt, arguably the greatest athlete of all times, has been immortalized with a statue in his honour in Kingston, Jamaica.

At a ceremony, led by Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness among other luminaries including the iconic Bolt himself, an eight-foot bronze statue was unveiled at Statue Park at the entrance of the National Stadium.

Bolt’s statue, sculpted by renowned artist Basil Watson, will now share eternal space with many of the country’s athletics great such as Herb McKinley, Merlene Ottey and Donald Quarrie.

“Never did I feel that I would be in this moment, as big as it is now, among statues at the National Stadium where it all began,” said Bolt, winner of six individual Olympic gold medals and seven individual world titles.

Bolt, the world record holder for the 100m and 200m, added: “This is why I always encourage everybody. Anything is possible, no limits. Because at no point in time did I ever think I would achieve this much, but I've always pushed on and stayed focused for what I want.”

In a video message during the ceremony, IAAF President Sebastian Coe acknowledged the impact Bolt has had on athletics.

“Usain has changed the face of our sport,” said Coe. “His has been an extraordinary career which has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, good sportsmanship and professionalism.

“His career has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, outstanding sportsmanship and professionalism, all of which has made him a global superstar.

“Usain may have left the track but I know he will never leave the sport and we look forward to working closely with him on the next part of his journey in the greatest sport on the planet,” added Coe. “On behalf of the world of athletics, thank you to a giant of world sport who has made an immense contribution to athletics worldwide.”

While lauding the achievements of the sprinter, Prime Minister Holness says it’s important that the National Stadium is upgraded to world class status to hosts world class events and nurture more Usain Bolts for the future.

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The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Ministry of National Security will be partnering to unearth and develop talent and to upgrade sport infrastructure within institutions falling under the Department of Correctional Services.

Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, spoke of the partnership when she addressed the Opening Ceremony of the We Transform Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme Competition and Expo at the headquarters of the Girl Guides Association this morning.

The We Transform Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme is run by the Ministry of National Security and was established to provide children between 12 and 17 years in correctional institutions “with the skills sets, character and support to become productive citizens.”

Minister Grange said, “In the partnership the Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will sign a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) under which the JCDC will unearth, train, expose and develop the various talents of young people in the correctional institutions.”

She said that with the direction from the JCDC such talent, including boys and girls, could be honed to participate in the 2018 Independence celebrations.

The Sport Minister said the Ministry would also work with the Ministry of National Security to upgrade sports infrastructure at the correctional institutions. “I am putting my money where my mouth is,” Minister Grange told State Minister for National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles, who established The We Transform Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme in 2016. “In the same way that the Ministry has embarked on a programme to develop sport infrastructure in communities and in schools, we will see to the funding for the upgrade of sport facilities in the correctional institutions.”

Minister Grange said she was pleased to endorse The We Transform programme and to align the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport as well as the Jamaica 55 Secretariat to its successful implementation.

She was conducted on a tour by Minister Charles of the exhibition of items produced by the wards competing in the Expo. On display were items of clothing, art and craft, jewelry and food.

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Being part of any occasion involving the iconic Usain Bolt is an opportunity not to be missed.

And so it was for young sprint phenom Christopher Scott, who recently won the sprint double at the state-run Institute of Sports Primary School Athletics Championships.

At short notice, Scott was invited by Sport Minister Olivia Grange to a press briefing at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston where a maquette of athletics biggest star was unveiled to the public yesterday.

The 45-minute journey into the country’s capital was worth it though for the 12-year-old Scott, a student of Old Harbour Primary.

Verdayne Smith, physical education teacher and coach, Old Harbour Primary, told Old Harbour News that it was an opportunity the school could not afford to let pass.

“The school is on a transformation programme. We are looking to be the choice school in Old Harbour and sport is one way of showing this to the public.

“Getting this opportunity to come on a national scale, being invited by the Minister to unveil a statue of Usain Bolt, is just another way of announcing himself to Jamaica and to show Old Harbour Primary some more and the talent that is in Old Harbour on a whole,” said Smith.

“This will also build his confidence coming off primary champs. He has been running for some time now but it’s only this year he came to the fore and every opportunity for him is just a blessing.”

In the company of some of the country’s renowned track and field dignitaries, the young sprinter had the honour, alongside the Minister to perform the official unveiling of the mini statue of Bolt, regarded as the greatest sprinter of all time.

The ultimate statue, which will be as tall as the giant frame of the legendary man himself will be mounted at Statue Park at the National Stadium.

Distinguished Jamaican sculptor Basil Watson was commissioned to design and create statues of four of Jamaica’s outstanding sports stars, namely Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell.

“The commissioning of the statues is part of the process of memorialising and celebrating the historical, social, symbolic and aesthetic value of Jamaica’s athletic achievement. Importantly, as well, this is about adding economic value to Jamaica’s sport tourism offering,” said Grange, who is also the minister in charge of culture, gender and entertainment.

All four statues will be delivered over two years, the first being the statue of Bolt, which will be ready in August.

“We chose that time for installation to coincide with Usain’s retirement and our nation’s 55th anniversary of Independence,” the Minister explained.

Miss Grange said the exact time of the unveiling would be determined by Bolt’s schedule and the availability of other athletes to attend the ceremony at Statue Road at the National Stadium.

Grange pointed out that along the way in the production process, the athletes had been consulted by the sculptor about the design of their statues.

She said that at each stage, the sculptor had provided a maquette to show a visual representation of the sculpture.

Minister Grange said there would be some adjustments by the sculptor before arriving at the final product but she gave the assurance that, “It would look like Usain Bolt in the end.”

The comments of the Minister will certainly add to the ongoing debate surrounding the quality, or lack thereof, of a sculpted bust representing National Hero Marcus Garvey recently unveiled by the University of the West Indies.

Based on past experience the Minister said presenting a maquette for scrutiny is compulsory as part of any work she has commissioned.

“We know that our athletes — particularly Usain Bolt — will be spoken of and studied by athletes, fans and lovers of sport for generations to come. As with Bob Marley, we anticipate that the people of the world will come to Jamaica to see sights associated with Bolt and our other sports stars and to learn about their history,” Grange said.

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Entertainment Minister, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange says the Government of Jamaica is taking several steps to monetize and leverage the economic potential of the country’s music industry

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According to Minister Grange, who was speaking at the third staging of the Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture held at the University of Technology yesterday, the Government will be taking a multi-sectoral approach to enhance and sustain the income and revenue streams from Brand Jamaica’s most powerful gift to the global creative economy – the Jamaican music.

“Monetization of Brand Jamaica is only possible through a new paradigm which sees us collaborating and working together as one,” she said, making reference to ministries, agencies, the private sector, international partners and industry players and practitioners.

Among the steps to be taken to monetize Brand Jamaica’s music are discussions with the Ministry of Tourism on a standard document to determine what is served to visitors as Jamaican entertainment. This document will allow every visitor who arrives in the country to experience the distinctive sounds and images of Jamaican music. In this setting, the government will be able to provide further opportunities for professional development and financial growth for its musicians.

Culture and Entertainment Minister, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange looks on as Acting President, University of Technology, Jamaica, Professor Colin Gyles presents former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Edward Seaga, with a copy of the book ‘Reggae Roadblocks’ by author Lloyd Stanbury (right of Minister Grange) at the annual Joan Duncan Memorial Lecture

The Minister added that her ministry also intends to engage the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Edna Manley College, University of Technology, University of the West Indies, community colleges, and HEART/NTA “to promote new approaches to music as an industry rather than the traditional approach to music as recreation. This proposes moving music from extra-curricular to curricular alongside and in tandem with accounts, business administration, law, etc., subjects that are also relevant to serious development of the creative industries”.

At the global level, the Minister said the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport will play a more visible and dominant role in the promotion of partnerships, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with international stakeholders such as the European Union and the African Caribbean Pacific Group.

“This will allow our artists to earn in these countries from their creativity and be able to migrate those funds back home here in Jamaica. These constructs are negotiable within the context of the UNESCO Convention for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions as well as under the free movement of artists within the Treaty of Chaguaramas in CARICOM, which we must promote more vigorously,” the Minister explained.

In re-emphasizing her call for greater collaboration in the cultural and creative industries in a bid to ensure that Brand Jamaica’s music once more leads the way as our country’s principal export and contributor to sustainable growth, the Minister said: “It cannot anymore be us against them, as our people stratify ourselves and create enemies among each other: politicians against musicians and musicians against politicians; corporates against artists; bankers determined not to see intellectual property as guarantee-able property to serve as collateral. No!”

“Monetization is truly a matter of political will and economic support, professionalization of the industry and investment assurance, all on a platform of belief in ourselves and in what we have created,” said Grange while encouraging the Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited (JMMB) and the University of Technology Innovation Centre/Joan Duncan School of Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Leadership to lead the way in devising and establishing the critical financial instruments needed to support some of the tasks required in the quest for monetization.

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Vishu Tolan, who is Chairman of the National Council for Indian Culture in Jamaica (NCICJ), has been appointed Commissioner of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC).

Culture Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange made the announcement at the NCICJ annual Indian Family Fun Day held at Chedwin Park, St Catherine on May 8, 2016, saying Tolan’s appointment forms part of the government’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the traditions of indigenous groups in Jamaica.

Speaking at the event Grange said the move will ensure that the Indian culture is promoted and celebrated equally with all the other cultures.

“So when we celebrate Independence, when we celebrate what is so beautiful about Jamaica, the Indian culture will be a part of those wonderful experiences,” she said.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange shares a photo opportunity with recently appointed Commissioner of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and Chairman of National Council for Indian Culture in Jamaica (NCICJ), Vishu Tolan and NCICJ member, Dr Winston Tolan. (Photo: Contributed)

The Minister, noting the significance of the contribution of the Indian population to the Jamaican culture, also announced that, “going forward, the government will be donating a grant towards the staging of this event every year to ensure the preservation and continuation of the Indian culture here in Jamaica”.

The Culture Minister also used the opportunity to congratulate the NCICJ for staging the commemorative event which “reminds the Indian community and the country as a whole, of the history, culture, and noble contribution that the Indian community continues to make to the country, thus serving to reinforce our National Motto, Out of Many, One People”.

This year marks the 171st anniversary since Indians arrived in Jamaica.

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Jamaica’s National Under-16 netballers are being urged to challenge themselves and to push for places in the squads performing above their age group.

The team returned to the island on Saturday (April 9) following their win of the 2016 Jean Pierre Youth Netball Championship in Barbados, where they defeated the host country 35-21 in the finals.

At the Norman Manley International Airport they were met by Dr Paula Daley-Morris, president, Netball Jamaica among other netball officials, sponsor representatives and Allie McNab, who represented the Minister.

In a statement the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange said, “it is important that these young girls challenge themselves and push for a spot on the team that will go to Botswana to compete in the World Youth Netball Championship next year. Next year, they’ll be one year older, stronger and wiser than today”.

Minister Grange noted that netballers, Christine Salmon and Romelda Aiken in recent times; and Janet Johnson in the 1970s had represented the National Under-21 or senior team when they were still in high school.

“Therefore they should not allow their age to limit such ambitions if they believe in their God-given ability and are prepared mentally and psychologically to do the hard work in training,” she added.

The Minister said it was important that the girls push themselves further in a sport which has developed lucrative leagues in the top playing nations.

“Netball is developing into a sport where you can earn a decent living from as it is in the present case of Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler – both big stars in the ANZ Championship in Australia and New Zealand,” she said.

According to the Minister, netballers, Shanice Beckford and Nicole Dixon were signed by Team Northumbria to play in the Vitality Netball Super League in Great Britain where they will be studying.

“This is telling us that the top netball leagues are looking at Jamaica for talent, so it is up to our girls to realize their dreams and aspirations,” she added.

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Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, has called on stakeholders within the sporting fraternity to join her in lobbying for gender equality, specifically within the area of cricket.

Minister Grange was speaking at the welcome home reception for West Indies female cricketer, Stefanie Taylor at the Norman Manley International Airport on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. She used the opportunity to bring to the forefront, an ongoing issue affecting a young female cricketer who is being denied the privilege to represent her school, Eltham High, the alma mater of Taylor.

“I wish to use this opportunity to raise an issue which has been a concern for some time,” she said, adding, “I mention it because it impacts almost all the portfolio areas under my responsibility, particularly gender affairs.”

The Minister stated that the female at Eltham High is an outstanding cricketer and should not be denied the opportunity to represent her school. Minister Grange also pointed out that Taylor, who is a past student from the institution is a role model for the young cricketer, noting that she is the first person to captain the West Indies women’s team to their first ever World T20 title.

“Had that opportunity been denied Stefanie, we would not be here today celebrating this outstanding Jamaican woman,” said the Minister. She then urged stakeholders present to think about the situation and join her in the quest to ensure that there is a change.

“I want everyone here to just think about it and I am going to ask you all to lobby with us to ensure that such position changes. We must correct this,” she urged. “In fact, this young lady should not have been denied playing with the boys,” she added.

Making reference to Billy Heaven, President of the Jamaica Cricket Association, the Minister said, “I am going to charge him to assist us in breaking this barrier, it is very discriminating against women.”

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Sport Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, has urged the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its players to find a common ground on which trust and confidence can be built in order for the West Indies team to return to the pinnacle of world cricket.

Speaking at a welcome home reception for Jamaican members of the West Indies cricket team at the Norman Manley International Airport last night, Minister Grange said: “Like good parents, the WICB must reposition itself in such a way that its players see the governing body as its chief guardian rather than its Achilles heel.”

“The players too must also be cognizant that not receiving best wishes prior to an exam doesn’t mean your parents are uncaring or want you to fail,” she added

Minister Grange stated that in order to prevent any reoccurrence of the seemingly perpetual disputes, the WICB and the players must address the issues and necessary measures be put in place.

In congratulating players Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor upon their arrival, the Minister said: “Marlon, you are a world class cricketer and proven match winner,” while jokingly added “continue to speak with your bat my son and say nothing else.”

In acknowledging the contribution of Jerome Taylor, she said “You might have played only one game in this tournament but as a veteran campaigner your guidance and support to the younger bowlers was crucial.”

The Minister also used the opportunity to commend everyone who played a role in the team’s victory.

“The West Indies Cricket Board, the players, the coaching and management staff, the fans – and dare I say our critics too – all contributed to this remarkable and historic achievement.”

Minister Grange said she hopes this World T20 championship win is the start of the West Indies renaissance.

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Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, wants to see the Digicel Kickstart Clinic replicated in educational institutions and organisations.

“The Digicel Kickstart Clinic is not just a template for corporate Jamaica. I would like to see it replicated within our community clubs, within schools and even religious organizations and must involve parents, teachers and certified coach educators,” she said.

Miss Grange was speaking at the launch of the Digicel Kickstart Grassroot Football 2016 programme, held today (March 29), at the Whole Life Sports Centre, Devon Road, in Kingston.

The programme was launched in 2008 by Digicel, communications and entertainment provider, as part of its brand development and grassroots strategy. It provides an opportunity for thousands of aspiring young footballers not only to learn football skills and technical abilities, but also to develop good attitudes and life skills.

This year, coaches from top English Premier League team, Manchester City Football Club (MCFC), and New York FC, will host clinics in 14 Caribbean and Central American countries, and will select the best three boys from each country to attend the Digicel Kickstart Academy.

The Minister said the programme is a model for other corporate entities and non-government organisations.

“No government and indeed corporate entity should overlook the important rule of sport, in particular football, in this country,” she added.

“Sport in general is a vehicle through which health, education and camaraderie of human beings are promoted and are common ideals shared and upheld by any government or modern society,” she emphasised.

The Minister said that successful people have attributed their achievements to early exposure that inculcated in them the fundamental skill sets to be successful in life.

In the meantime, Miss Grange congratulated Dicigel for supporting the programme and for being a great corporate partner.

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Sports Minster, Honourable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, yesterday, pledged her commitment in using her best efforts in convincing her colleague, Transport Minister, Honourable Mike Henry in providing a team bus for the Reggae Boyz as they continue their campaign to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia.

Minister Grange made the commitment at the media launch of the Digicel/JFF Partnership at Digicel’s headquarters in Downtown Kingston, where the telecommunications provider revealed a four-year sponsorship agreement valued at US $3 million.

The Minister said, Sports remain a critical vehicle for economic growth and as such she will ensure that the Reggae Boyz receive the right ‘bus’ they need for the road to Russia. “So, today, I make the commitment to you that I am going to speak with my colleague Minister to ensure you get this bus,” she said, adding that the Government of Jamaica will continue to play its part in supporting the Jamaica Football Federation and the country’s football programme.

Pointing to the significant contributions which judicious investment and programmed development of football could make to national GDP, the Minister called for stronger support of football at the grassroots level and explained that “how we develop, nurture, package and see the product that is football will determine whether or not we get the buy-in,” she said.

“Captain Burrell, I strongly believe that focusing on building a solid base at the grassroots level will ensure that Jamaica remains competitive at the international level, which will have the effect of increasing our chances of qualifying regularly for the FIFA World Cup tournaments,” added Minister Grange.

In commending Digicel’s CEO, David Butler on the organization’s unwavering support over the years to sports development and for its vision of establishing the Grassroots Programme, Minister Grange said “Digicel has created a template for corporate social responsibility and creativity in business which could serve as a model for Jamaican businesses.”

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