Kingston 4 May 2019 – Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, and the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, have hosted the national Special Olympics team at a special reception at Jamaica House on Friday (3 May 2019).
Minister Grange said the reception “was about showing support, love and appreciation for our Special Olympics team that did so well at the World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi in March.”
The Jamaican team won 14 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze medals in Abu Dhabi, which represents our nation’s best showing at the Special Olympics World Games.
Minister Grange said the team deserves special accolades for their performances.
According to the Minister, “I cannot think of another team that tries as hard, that overcomes as much, that inspires us as much as our Special Olympians do. They deserve all our praise and all our support.”
Minister Grange also used the opportunity to announce that a member of the team — Badminton player Travis Ebanks — had been awarded a scholarship to complete tertiary studies.
“Our special athletes are succeeding in every area of life — including academics. Tonight we especially celebrate Travis Ebanks. Travis is in his final year as a law student at the University of the West Indies, but it has been a challenge for Travis. When I heard that he was having financial difficulty and was in danger of dropping out of the programme, I made the decision that must never happen.
I’m proud to say that he has been awarded a full scholarship; he will continue his programme; he will overcome another challenge; and he will graduate from law school.”
Minister Grange thanked the Principal of the UWI, Mona Campus, Professor Dale Webber; Mrs. Arlene Supersad; and Dr. Denise Eldemire Shearer for helping to secure a scholarship for Travis Ebanks.
Each member of the Special Olympics team was presented with a certificate at the Jamaica House reception.
Kingston, February 2 - The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport today told the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise of the Caribbean Premier League that from now on Government of Jamaica support of the Tallawahs will be on a more long term basis.
Addressing a news conference called by the Tallawahs at the Jamaica Pegasus, the Sport Minister said:
“We are speaking about an arrangement between the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaica Tallawahs that will be at least for three years, perhaps longer.
We saw that as the most suitable way forward to guard against Government having to respond to requests at the last minute. It affords us room to plan properly for the assistance that Government will be providing the Tallawahs.”
Miss Grange said that the Government sees collaboration with the Tallawahs as one clear way to increase investment in sporting activities that will contribute to the continued building of Brand Jamaica, “as we seek to maximize our returns from sports.”
“The Government fully endorses the franchise”, the Sport Minister said, as she announced that her Ministry had committed Two-point-Seven Million Dollars to facilitate the hosting of the 2019 CPL T20 Series in Jamaica. “In addition, the Sport Development Foundation (SDF), which falls under my Ministry, is providing support up to a maximum of Ten Million Jamaican Dollars in cash and in kind.
“This will facilitate the entry of all equipment which will be exported at the end of the series - cash sponsorship of JAD$4.6M and the guaranteed purchase of 60 tickets for all five nights along with two VIP boxes valued at JAD$1.1M for the hosting of special guests.
“I am pleased also to inform you that the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) has agreed to a discount on transportation services during the period of the matches based on my representation on behalf of the Tallawahs. There are other negotiations taking place which will result in other tangible support. We will provide an update on these negotiations.
“I must mention the Prime Minister’s assistance in Pepsi Cola Jamaica” becoming a Tallawahs sponsor. You might say Prime Minister Holiness, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness was a “match maker” in this union.
“We are happy with the news that Cricket West Indies has been able to make it possible for all the best Caribbean cricketers to take part in the tournament.
"So fans we will be treated not just to the best of our Caribbean cricketers, but to many of the top international players for 34 matches of high intensity cricket.
“Perhaps the news that makes us the happiest is that Chris Gayle will be returning to the Tallawahs and returning as Captain.
"We wish the Tallawahs every success on the staging of this exciting tournament as we continue our collaboration to present the games at the highest level."
Kingston 1 May 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, is paying tribute to the Jamaican-born Canadian media boss, Fitzroy Gordon, who passed away on Tuesday.
Minister Grange said Gordon — who founded Canada’s only Black and Caribbean owned and operated radio station, G98.7FM — was an “outstanding promoter of Jamaican and Caribbean culture and a hero of the Black community in Toronto.”
Minister Grange said:
“Fitzroy Gordon achieved so much and made such a remarkable difference in the lives of so many people. I was always impressed by the way he dedicated his life to helping people, especially expatriates from Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean, promoting our culture and traditions, and giving a real voice to Black issues through G98.7fm.”
Minister Grange has extended condolences to Gordon’s family, friends and the Caribbean community in Canada “who will mourn this great loss.”
Kingston 29 April 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed sadness at the passing of the celebrated photojournalist and portrait photographer, Maria LaYacona.
LaYacona, who was a long-serving member of the Board of Directors of the National Gallery of Jamaica, passed away on Sunday.
Minister Grange said LaYacona was an “outstanding photographer who showcased her enduring passion for the people of Jamaica and its landscape.”
The Minister recalled that LaYacona — who was originally from Ohio in the United States — came to Jamaica in 1955 for an assignment, fell in love with the island and made it her home until her passing.
Minister Grange said:
“Maria LaYacona contributed significantly to documenting Jamaican heritage through her lens. She was known for her sensitive and engaging portraiture which made her the portraitist of choice for several Jamaicans, including Prime Ministers. She was also the official photographer for the National Dance Theatre Company and leaves behind an impressive and extensive visual collection that captures essential people, places and things in the development of modern Jamaica.”
Minister Grange has extended condolences to Maria LaYacona’s family and friends.
Kingston 16 April 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed sadness at the devastation by fire of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France.
Minister Grange said she was “truly saddened to see images of the fire that ravaged the Notre-Dame” and that the “ruin of the World Heritage Site, which took centuries to construct, was a blow to humanity.”
She added: “I express sympathy to the people of France, particularly those who worship at the cathedral, which is considered one of the great architectural achievements of humanity."
Minister Grange noted that this devastation has come just a few days before we celebrate World Heritage Day on Thursday, 18 April 2019, by highlighting our important cultural monuments and sites.
Kingston 28 March 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed deep sadness at the sudden passing of famous guitarist Winston “Bo Pee” Bowen who passed away on Tuesday.
Bowen, 62, was a sought-after touring and session guitarist.
Minister Grange described Bowen as a one-of-a-kind personality and a special musician.
Minister Grange said:
“Winston emerged out of the West Kingston Culture Group of which I was a part and he was a member of the New Vibrations Band along with Dean Fraser, Ronald Robinson and Chico Chin. Many other musicians and singers came out of that experience at a time when the music was just finding its feet. The struggle was real but people like Winston Bowen made it easier because of his wonderful character and his dedication to the music. He provided musical support for the who’s who in Reggae music and he is now sorely missed.
“I wish to extend my deepest condolences to his widow Lorna, his children, grandchildren and the wider family. May his soul rest in peace.”
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.