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.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) December 4, 2017
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.
“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.
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. Click this link to LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
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. Click this link to LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
“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.
“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.”
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. Click this link to LIKE US ON FACEBOOK
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.
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.”