Kingston 27 January 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says Jamaica endorses the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”.
The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is an initiative of the Government of the Republic of Ghana which is intended to encourage people of African descent to visit Africa.
Speaking at the Caribbean launch of the Year of Return in Kingston on Sunday (today), Minister Grange said:
“Jamaica looks forward to a successful Year of Return and we will work with Ghana towards a successful year. Jamaica observes the International Decade of People of African Descent and so it is all very timely that we work together.
“We are connected. Ghana was a major hub for the transatlantic slave trade from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and we are happy that you have opened the door this year for people in the African Diaspora to return.”
“And as Jamaicans, we’re proud to see that our Reggae music will form the soundtrack for the Year of Return.”
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana, Her Excellency Catherine Afeku said it was important to begin the Year of Return programme for the Caribbean in Jamaica.
Minister Afeku said:
“This is the Maroon country where liberation struggles started even before Independence. So we started here for symbolism. We want to invite you home, but we want to invite you coming back with that sense of strength that you are a descendant that survived.”
Minister Afeku said the Year of Return was an opportunity to highlight the strength of African peoples who survived the transatlantic slave trade.
According to her, “We have scientists who are the descendants of slaves, we have astronauts who are descendants of slaves. We have the Bob Marleys who are the descendants of slaves. We have the Usain Bolts who are the descendants of slaves. That is a positive story.”
The Ghanaian Minister is encouraging Jamaicans to make a pilgrimage to Africa, beginning with her country, even once in their lifetime.
“Ghana is opening its arms. Ghana is opening its doors. We want you to come and take a heritage that belongs to you. So it is not a favour, it is yours. We are here to assure you that you can make a home on the continent starting with Ghana,” said Minister Afeku.
Minister Grange said consideration is being given for direct flights between Jamaica and Ghana in support of the Year of Return initiative.
The year-long celebrations include music and food festivals, summits, investment fora and product exhibitions.
Kingston 31 December 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange says she is happy to receive word that the Jamaican sculptor, Basil Watson, has been selected to create a monument in honour of the American civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr.
Watson who has created sculptures of Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Frasier Pryce under contract with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, was given the nod to design the tribute to Martin Luther King which will be erected in Atlanta, Georgia.
Minister Grange said:
“I am very proud that Basil Watson, an outstanding Jamaican artist, has been selected to develop a monument celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Basil has been one of our leading sculptors and this is a recognition of the great work that he does and an endorsement of Jamaican talent. I look forward to his design, which I know will be awesome and inspiring.”
Watson’s Martin Luther King monument is due to be completed by the end of 2019.
Watson is currently designing monuments in honour of Jamaican athletes Veronica Campbell Brown and Asafa Powell.
Kingston 28 December 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says next January’s staging of Rebel Salute will be a celebration of “the role played historically by Reggae music in the liberation of oppressed people across the world.”
Minister Grange made the comment on Thursday (27 December) at the launch of the 2019 edition of Rebel Salute, which will be one of the first major Reggae music festivals in Jamaica since Reggae music was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the end of November.
The Minister said “we had to fight” for this inscription, which is something that we must “never take for granted.”
Rebel Salute 2019, which will receive financial support from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport is one of Jamaica’s premier entertainment events.
According to Minister Grange:
“Among the signature features of Rebel Salute is its unabashed presentation of our Jamaican and African heritage. Tony Rebel and Rebel Salute understand the importance of presenting to our people the dignity and integrity of our African ancestry as represented by the Rastafari culture and ideology. It is about inspiring our people to stand proud in promoting our heritage.”
Rebel Salute will be held on January 18 and 19, 2019 at Plantation Cove in St Ann.
Kingston, 1 November 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has released the following statement on the passing of the former Jamaican boxer, Bunny Grant.
“I have just received news of the passing of Bunny Grant, the Jamaican boxing pioneer. Long before Lennox Lewis, before Mike McCallum, before Shrimpy Clarke, there was Bunny Grant.
We will forever remember his victory over Dave Charnley, the Commonwealth Lightweight Champion, at the National Stadium on August 4, 1962 — just two days before Jamaica’s Independence Day. The happy impact of that victory on the entire country is a feeling I can never forget.
Bunny’s passion and humility endeared him to all. We all followed and celebrated with him throughout his 19 year career. Each of his victories was a victory for the Jamaican people.
I am always proud to speak about Bunny Grant, and I was honoured as the Minister to ensure that he was able to spend his final days in comfort.
We have lost a great champion.
I offer condolences to his family and friends.”
In October 2017, Minister Grange presented the former Jamaica boxing champion George ‘Bunny’ Grant with the keys to his newly refurbished home. The refurbishing project was undertaken by the Sports Development Foundation as part of the Jamaica 55 celebrations.
Kingston, 1 November 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has paid tribute to Sam Clayton — the Griot or storyteller for the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari group of drummers — who has passed away.
"Brother Sam was a personal friend; I had a close relationship with him and I will miss him. I was pleased to nominate him in 2008 for the Order of Distinction in recognition of his stellar contribution to Jamaican culture,” said Minister Grange.
Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, led by Brother Sam, did several well-received tours of Europe throughout the 1990s and helped put Wareika Hills and nearby Rockfort on the map as a musical hot spot.
Minister Grange said:
“In recent weeks I arranged for his friend Sister Barbara Makeda Blake-Hannah to visit him and see how he was doing. Though he was retired from performing and had been in failing health, he was still in good spirits.
The Jamaican music community has been enriched by the contribution of Brother Sam Clayton, and he will be remembered and respected as part of Jamaica’s music history.”
The Minister also recalled that Brother Sam participated in one of the most important acts in Rastafari history when he, along with Philmore Alvaranga and Douglas Mack, travelled on the 1961 Mission to Africa financed by the Jamaican Government to discuss the possibility of Jamaican Rastafari relocating to Ethiopia. The team had planned to stay for a few weeks, but ended up spending six months as guests of the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. When the Emperor made a visit to Jamaica in 1966, Brother Sam was one of 12 Rastafari to whom he presented gold medals.
Kingston, October 29 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, says her Ministry is working with the Commonwealth Secretariat to develop a programme to measure the contribution of sport to Jamaica’s development.
According to Minister Grange, “there is enough talk about how important sport is for career advancement, crime reduction, unified communities, wealth creation, behaviour modification and healthy lifestyle” but not enough data to measure its impact.
Minister Grange was speaking at a Stakeholder’s Forum organised by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday at which she introduced Mr Oliver Dudfield, Head of Sport Development and Peace at the Commonwealth Secretariat, who will lead the revision of the National Sport Policy.
The National Sport Policy is designed to foster greater participation in sport, promote intellectual and physical health, enhance social and economic well-being, create a healthier and more productive labour force and stimulate greater avenues for economic development while fostering a society of social cohesion by building bridges of friendship at all levels of the Jamaican society.
The review will focus on sport and non-sport objectives of the policy towards national development.
“Sport helps us to achieve local and national objectives – but to what extent? We have to seriously look at how we measure the value of sport in bringing about the non- sport outcomes we seek. How do we measure the linkages and connections both qualitatively and quantitatively?
“Without the evidenced-based information we will continue to be shortchanged and the requisite investments and recognition of the centrality of sport will continue to be underestimated to our detriment as a nation,” the Minister said.
Minister Grange said the Forum is the first in a series of consultations, training workshops and planning meetings to revisit the National Sport Policy, which is now in its fifth year.
Kingston, October 26 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has announced a new policy to honour former Prime Ministers of Jamaica.
According to Minister Grange effective immediately her Ministry will lead floral tributes on the birthdays of deceased former Prime Ministers.
Minister Grange announced the new policy today (Friday) at a Floral Tribute at National Heroes Park to commemorate the 107th Anniversary of the birth of the Most Honourable Sir Donald Sangster, the second Prime Minister of Jamaica.
“No longer should any of our former Prime Ministers be laid to rest and forgotten and their contributions to national development folded away in the pages of history books, only explored by those in academic pursuit or those who have a deep passion for their history.
“As we do for Sir Donald today, this initiative of my ministry will continue. We will also be observing and celebrating the life and work of the Most Honourable Michael Manley and the Most Honourable Hugh Shearer on the occasion of their birth anniversaries. Our Prime Ministers must not only be regarded in the living years. I am starting this tradition that no longer will they be forgotten. This is the standard for others to follow,” Minister Grange said.
Sir Donald Burns Sangster succeeded the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante in February 1967 and served until April of that year when he succumbed to sudden illness.
Kingston, 24 October 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has urged anyone with information about the killing of 14 year old Raven Wilson to come forward.
The girl’s body was discovered in bushes days after she was reported missing.
Minister Grange has condemned the heinous killing of the young girl.
According to the Gender Affairs Minister:
“My government will continue to take action to protect children, particularly vulnerable girls, from violence. However, the mechanisms that we put in place require participation from all members of society to work. I keep saying that we can end the violence, but it requires all of us to end the violence. We have to be vigilant and we have to say what we know. And so I appeal to anyone who has information about the death of young Raven to come forward and let justice be done.”
Kingston, 17 October 2018 –The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange has hailed the “historic achievement” of Jamaica’s team which qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup this evening after defeating Panama on penalty kicks in Texas.
Minister noted that “the Reggae Girls have become the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, an achievement that is well deserved and comes after overcoming several challenges and working very hard.”
Jamaica defeated Panama in a penalty-kick shootout in the third-place match of the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship.
The Reggae Girlz won the tie-breaker 4-2.
Minister Grange said:
“This is a glorious day. Words cannot truly describe this historic achievement by this group of young ladies, who through sheer grit and determination in a game in which both teams went all out for victory, came out victorious. Dallas, USA may be miles away, but at my office, we followed every kick, every tackle, every goal until that final penalty kick landed in the back of the goal.
“It was a total team effort. But special commendation to the goal scorers Khadija Shaw and 16 year old Jody Brown.
"The Reggae Girls have represented Jamaica well and we look forward to welcoming them home and to their performance in France in 2019.”
Minister Grange also congratulated the JFF as well as the coaching and support staff.
Paris, 12 October 2018 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has committed J$5million towards the medical care of Jamaican footballer Luton Shelton.
Minister Statement follows:
"I've been made aware of Luton's illness through social media (no one has been directly in touch with me). Based on what I've seen, I am concerned and I am committing five million dollars towards his medical expenses.
I will ask the officers in the Ministry to reach out to his family so I can get further details."
It's been reported that Shelton was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.