Kingston, January 16 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange is urging the country’s sports bodies to register their athletes with the Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan.
The Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan is the Government’s Group Health, Group Life and Personal Accident Plan for all eligible national athletes.
Speaking at the Opening of the upgraded Administrative Building of the Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) at Independence Park Complex today (Wednesday), Minister Grange said:
“It has been frequent that athletes with severe health problems turn to Government for help. And we have provided assistance in just about every case. But it is very troubling to realise that some of those very same athletes could have benefitted from coverage under the Jamaican Athletes’ Insurance Plan if only they were registered through their associations or federations, or had made direct contact with the Ministry to initiate the process.”
The Minister referred to the case of the boxer, Sakima Mullings, who is severely ill but is not on the Insurance Plan. Sakima was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition affecting the retina in his left eye, which also causes sensitivity to light.
“When I hear about cases such as Sakima’s, it pains my heart and I would like him to know that we are praying for his full recovery. More than that, already we have decided to provide Sakima with $1M to help him to meet his medical expenses. The Ministry is in close contact with the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control as we seek to find out what further assistance we could give,” Minister Grange said.
Minister Grange said that getting athletes registered with the Plan was very important, so much so that there is a full-time administrator working on the Athletes’ Insurance Plan in the Ministry.
“The Ministry has constantly called for sporting associations to join the plan to insure national athletes or those in development squads preparing to represent Jamaica. I make the appeal, persons in my Ministry make the appeal, but still there are many eligible athletes who have not been registered,” the Minister said.
So far, only 1300 athletes are registered with the Insurance Plan and according to the Minister, “for a country like Jamaica with such outstanding athletes we should have more than 1300”.
Sports people eligible to be covered under the Plan must be a member in good standing with the national association or federation. They must be enrolled in the national development programme for a specific sporting discipline. They must participate in at least two Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission training sessions per year.
Kingston, January 14, 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has said the Government of Jamaica is willing to provide funding support to the cricket franchise Jamaica Tallawahs, as it has done in the past.
However, Minister Grange said her Ministry is unable to provide the level of funding required.
Minister Grange said:
“I am in discussions with the Tallawahs and hope to find a way to give some support as I stretch the little that we have. The Tallawahs need in excess of USD 1 million each year for the next three years. We cannot find that. I have to be clear and up front about that. We cannot find that. In fact, it’s in excess of US$1.5 million. But, working with the private sector we could find a way. So this evening, I make a special appeal to corporate Jamaica to come on board with the Jamaica Tallawahs.”
Minister Grange was speaking at the Melbourne Cricket Club’s Annual Dinner and Awards ceremony.
The Minister disclosed that the government had been involved in efforts to court sponsors for the Tallawahs at the highest level.
“I must tell you we went as far as having the Prime Minister himself arrange a meeting with the Tallawahs and a private entity in Jamaica which also has an international connection. Several meetings were held. Unfortunately, just maybe a couple weeks ago, the Tallawahs were told that this company is unable to assist.”
The requirement of the Tallawahs is greater than the total subventions that the Ministry provides for more than 40 national sports federations each year.
Minister Grange said the if the government were to “give the Tallawahs what they need to keep the game in Jamaica, then we would have to shut down shop and give support to no one else — and that’s not possible. But we’re still trying. The little that we have, we will stretch it and give them something. Yes, we have put something in the budget for them.”
In response to requests for assistance from the Tallawahs, the Government was able to provide support in the sum of US$25,000 in 2015. In 2017, again in response to requests for help, we provided support in the amount of US$35,000. Last year, the request came in after the budget process was completed and the government was unable to give financial support.
Kingston, January 11, 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says that a committee has been established to oversee the execution of the development of the Drax Hall Sports Complex in St Ann.
Minister Grange was speaking yesterday (January 10) following a meeting with the Member of Parliament for North East St Ann, the Honourable Shahine Robinson; Mayor of St Ann’s Bay, Michael Belnavis; President, St Ann Football Association, Danny Beckford; representatives from the Mount Pleasant Football Academy and other key stakeholders to discuss plans for the Drax Hall Sports Complex.
“We have initiated a programme of sports infrastructure development and Drax Hall was one of those facilities identified as one of the Jamaica 55 Legacy Projects. We have set up a committee to see to the execution of the development of the facility,” Minister Grange said.
The Drax Hall Sports Complex is now being used by the Mount Pleasant Football Academy for training and for home matches in the Premier League.
The proposed development for Drax Hall included two football fields, a multipurpose court, swimming pool and a number of other facilities to accommodate other sporting disciplines.
Minister Grange said the committee will review the design in light of works done at the facility by the Mount Pleasant Football Academy.
“This is going to be a perfect example of private/public partnership,” the Minister added.
The committee will include representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Sport Development Foundation, Independence Park Limited, the St Ann Municipal Corporation, the St Ann Football Association and the Mount Pleasant Football Academy.
“This is really a broad-based group coming together in the interest of the development of football in this parish – working together to ensure that we have a first-class multipurpose sporting facility in St Ann,”
Minister Grange said.
Minister Grange said that the committee has been given a year to execute the development at Drax Hall.
Kingston, January 8, 2019 (JIS) - There are plans for the installation of additional running tracks in Kingston and central Jamaica.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, made the disclosure during her visit to observe repair work at the Stadium East running track in Kingston on January 7th.
The upgrading work is scheduled to be completed before the upcoming Gibson McCook Relays, the Minister noted.
Ms. Grange said that discussions regarding the installation of additional tracks have been “very fruitful”.
“Where we are now is that we are looking at a couple of other tracks being done, one at a high school, maybe in partnership with a private-sector entity, and another track, which will be sited to facilitate athletes in central Jamaica,”
Minister Grange said.
The Minister pointed out that the installation of the synthetic tracks will be two main objectives of the Ministry for the next fiscal year.
“We are still going to pursue our infrastructure development programme at various other sporting and entertainment facilities… but I hope we will be able to install two additional tracks in locations to be announced in the next fiscal year,” she added.
Ms. Grange said she has received reports with the possibility of developing four to six running tracks across Jamaica. She noted that the reports were done following visits to the locations by officials of the Sports Development Foundation and representatives from the BSW GmbH, the company contracted to repair the Stadium East running track.
Meanwhile, the Minister said that the running track at Catherine Hall in St James will be refurbished.
Kingston, January 2 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, is urging participating sports associations in the Technical Cooperation Project on Sport Coaching between Jamaica and China to make the best use of the opportunity.
Minister Grange was speaking today as she welcomed a new batch of Chinese coaches at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
“I want to charge the associations to ensure, as much as possible, that training starts on time, that athletes embrace the values of hard work and discipline and that your coaches learn as much as they can from this visit,”
Minister Grange said.
Seven coaches, representing seven disciplines: Synchronised Swimming, Gymnastics, Swimming, Badminton, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Football and Women’s Basketball, a team manager and an interpreter are now in Jamaica to commence year two of the project which started last year with the arrival of the first batch of coaches.
During the summer of last year a delegation of 138 athletes, coaches and managers also travelled to China for a period of 60 days for specialised training and competition.
“I want to remind the associations of the goals that you set for yourselves – to qualify for and improve Jamaica’s ranking in major regional and international competitions including the PanAm Games this year and the Olympics next year,” Minister Grange added.
Under the agreement, the Chinese government has also donated equipment for the seven sporting disciplines. The donations include a completely outfitted gym for gymnastics, which is already landed.
“On behalf of the Government and People of Jamaica, I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Government and People of the People’s Republic of China for the equipment. They are securely stored and my office is working out the details with the Chinese Embassy for an official handing-over ceremony to be held before the end of the month,” Minister Grange said.
Kingston, December 18, 2018 (JIS):
Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, has lauded a decision by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to establish a welfare fund to support five former football players who have fallen on hard times.
A former netballer will also benefit from the support.
“We have to find a way to ensure that those who have contributed to the development of Jamaica… when they get older and are no longer seen as the current stars, that they are taken care of and that something is in place to help them,” Ms. Grange noted.
She was speaking at a ceremony to present the national women’s football team, the Reggae Girlz, with the Key to Spanish Town, during a ceremony in the old capital on December 18.
Making the announcement on the welfare fund, President of the JFF, Michael Ricketts, disclosed that the last Sunday in every year will be reserved for a fundraising game, with the proceeds going towards assisting the former players.
“So, on the 30th (of December) the JFF has decided to have a fundraising game at Drax Hall (in St. Ann) and we’ve named a team comprised of all national masters. All of these players would have played for the national team in the World Cup qualifying era... We will have the national team, who will play against the Olympic squad,” he said.
A welfare committee has also been established and will be chaired by former President of Netball Jamaica, Marva Bernard.
Meanwhile, Minister Grange is urging the girls to prepare themselves for the future “so that when all the glory is over, you would have ensured that you are well prepared for it in your older years”.
Ms. Grange called for additional assistance from the private sector, especially the St. Catherine Chamber of Commerce, to assist the women’s football team in their World Cup journey to France next year, which received support from the JFF President.
The Sport Minister also announced plans for the phased development of the multi-use stadium, Prison Oval in Spanish Town, which is to commence in 2019.
Spanish Town Mayor, Councillor Norman Scott, in his remarks, expressed pride in the Reggae Girlz and congratulated them for continuing to make Jamaica proud.
The women’s football team Captain, Konya Plummer, thanked the Spanish Town Mayor for the honour bestowed on the squad.
The team has already received keys from the Mayors of Montego Bay and Kingston, and is scheduled to be similarly honoured by the Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay later today.
Kingston 19 December 2018 – The national celebrations in honour of the historic qualification of the Jamaican team to the FIFA Women’s World Cup were a huge success, according to the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange.
The Minister said, the four-day celebrations, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, had achieved the objectives of introducing the Reggae Girlz to the people of Jamaica, presenting them as role models for women across the country and set the stage for increased tangible support for the team ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The Minister appealed for more resources for the Girlz:
“I want to use the opportunity to encourage the private sector to come on board. So far a few have come on board, but we need more. We want them to put their money where their mouth is. We don’t want after we come back with the World Cup they all coming on the wagon. We want it up front. We want the financial support to make sure that the Girlz have all they need to ensure that they are well prepared for France.”
The four days of activities which began on Saturday ended on Tuesday with the Girlz being presented with the keys to Spanish Town and St Ann’s Bay by the respective mayors.
His Worship Councillor Norman Scott, presented the Key to Spanish Town at a civic ceremony held in Emancipation Square while His Worship Councillor Michael Belnavis presented the Key to St Ann’s Bay at a civic ceremony held at Sandals Ochi Beach Club in Ocho Rios.
The Reggae Girlz captain, Konya Plummer, who accepted the Keys on behalf of her teammates said they were “deeply humbled and appreciative” of the honour bestowed upon them.
In between the presentations, the members of the national team enjoyed the attractions at Mystic Mountain and at Dunn’s River Falls and Park, where the Girlz were welcomed with singing and the waving of flags by craft vendors and members of the public.
Minister Grange reflected on the significance of the Reggae Girlz being presented with keys to Spanish Town and St Ann’s Bay — two towns whose impact on Jamaican history has been immense.
It is believed that Christopher Columbus first landed in St Ann’s Bay in 1494 with New Seville becoming the first Spanish capital of Jamaica in 1509.
Spanish Town became the second capital of Jamaica in 1534 after the Spanish abandoned New Seville. Spanish Town is the oldest continuously inhabited town in Jamaica.
The Reggae Girlz were also presented with Keys to Kingston and Montego Bay and hosted by the Prime Minister during the celebrations.
Kingston, December 13 - The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, today told Lydia Heywood, the English-born Eventing rider who plans to represent Jamaica at the next Olympics: “You can expect assistance from the Ministry as you make your preparations to represent us.”
The 21-year-old Heywood, who was first taken to Jamaica as a baby is on what is now her second visit. She met with Miss Grange at the Minister’s New Kingston offices today.
The Sport Minister assured Heywood that she would be making a number of approaches which should result in significant resources for her programme of preparation between now and 2020 when the Olympics will take place in Japan.
“We are thrilled that you have decided to represent Jamaica and we could do no less than to assist you to achieve your goals”, Miss Grange told Heywood.
Heywood, whose father hails from Clarendon, is accompanied on her visit by her mother Clare, who is English.
She said: “I started at 10 on my Eventing journey when I joined a pony club in Gloucestershire where we live and I have trained hard through the years to perfect each stage of Eventing which are dressage, show jumping and cross country.
“I know my drive for success will get me to my goal of winning Jamaica’s first Olympic equestrian medal.”
Minister Grange said, she wanted Heywood, who returns to England next Monday, to visit Jamaica soon again, “as we wish to put you out there to the Jamaican public.”
Eventing is an equestrian event where a single horse and rider combination compete against other combinations across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.
Kingston, December 11 – Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) 2018 schoolboy football champions, Clarendon College was lauded in Parliament today.
Clarendon College was invited to Gordon House by the Speaker of House, the Honourable Pearnel Charles as a show of appreciation for their winning performances.
Congratulatory statements came from several Members, including the Prime Minister the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, who praised the school for doing extremely well both academically and in sports over the years.
The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport said: “They are totally deserving of us honouring them by the invitation to be our special guests in the House today.
“It was a wonderful display of football which yielded for them not just the DaCosta Cup but the Olivier Shield and in winning the DaCosta Cup Competition this year, they did the unusual by maintaining a perfect record of wins. This by itself would be worthy of praise.”
The Sport Minister said it could be fully understood that Clarendon College would devote this year’s titles to the late great football coach, Winston Chung Fah, who coached the school to an all-conquering side in 1977.
“We are extremely pleased today to have representatives of Clarendon College making an appearance in the Parliament as the country recognises the school as the football supremos for 2018."
Kingston 10 December 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has announced the schedule of activities to honour the Reggae Girlz’ historic qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals.
“I want them to feel very special,” said Minister Grange.
The activities begin on Saturday (December 15) with a motorcade.
Minister Grange said:
“The motorcade will go through the Corporate Area. It will go into St Catherine. One of the stops will be GC Foster (College of Physical Education and Sport). Two of the girls are from Arnett Gardens, so we’re going to do something there. And we want to take them to western Jamaica.”
Minister Grange said it was “important that the girls are given a hero’s welcome and shown appreciation for their outstanding achievement” of qualifying for the World Cup Finals to be held in France in 2019.
“We want to ensure that as many Jamaicans see them and we’re asking all Jamaicans to join us in celebrating with them. We want to make sure that they go to France ready to tek it to dem”.
The celebratory activities include a major praise, worship and thanksgiving concert at Emancipation Park on Sunday (December 16) featuring some of the biggest names in local gospel music including Kevin Downswell, Kukudoo, Sista Pat and Wayne Marshall.
The Reggae Girlz will also be feted at a special reception hosted by Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness.
The full schedule follows:
Friday 14 December 2018
- Overseas-based members of team arrive
Saturday 15 December 2018
- Motorcade across Montego Bay, St Catherine, Kingston and St Andrew
Sunday 16 December 2018
- Praise, Worship and Thanksgiving Concert at Emancipation Park (5pm to 8pm)
Monday 17 December 2018
- Courtesy Calls on leaders (schedule to be confirmed)
- Reception hosted by the Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness
Tuesday 18 December 2018
- Fun day (North Coast)
Wednesday 19 December 2018
- Members of team depart Jamaica