Help for our athletes
... Neita-Headley charts pension, education and insurance support through Sports Policy
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Help may be on the horizon for Jamaica's sporting representatives, as minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley, announced that certain social additions, such as education support, pension and insurance benefits are being considered for the National Sports Policy.
Neita-Headley was speaking at the launch of the Kingston leg of the Scotiabank-sponsored Gleaner Company Daegu to London Archival Exhibition, 'Journey of Champions: 50 years of Jamaican Olympic Excellence' at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library yesterday.
The event marked the final stop of the all-island exhibition, which was launched at the St Catherine Parish Library earlier this year and features rarely seen articles and pictures celebrating the nation's participation and successes on the biggest sporting stage over the years.
The 'Journey of Champions' exhibition will also form part of a wider sports exhibit at the National Arena during the Independence celebrations, and will also be featured in the upcoming National Sports Museum.
Neita-Headley informed the gathering that the Government is currently in the final stages of tweaking the long-awaited Sports Policy, and that key additions will take into greater consideration the welfare of the country's sports personalities, with focus on insurance and education.
"As we seek to finalise what is to become Jamaica's Sports Policy, we intend to look at those unique areas that will help to enhance the lives of our athletes," said Neita-Headley.
"We intend to look at how we educate our athletes, and it is our belief that every athlete should be exposed to the best education that we have to offer here in Jamaica, and that we should support them through this process in ensuring that they do achieve this," Neita-Headley added.
"We also believe that in the discussion somewhere, our athletes should be insured, and there must be a way that when they are injured, they must be taken care of, and that when they get older, they will be in a position to help themselves and have a pension of sorts. We must look out for those who represent us and enhance Brand Jamaica," said Neita-Headley.
"I am pleased to announce that we have concluded arrangements for this exhibition to form part of a national sport exhibition, and will also form the basis of what will become the national sports museum," she pointed out. "I would urge our students, summer school organisers and visitors to the island to put the exhibition in their plans."
Also in attendance was president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Mike Fennell, who welcomed the project and lauded Jamaica's international sporting achievements.
"I have to congratulate The Gleaner Company, Scotiabank, the Jamaica Library Service and everyone involved in mounting this exhibition," said Fennell.
"A journey of champions in Jamaica has no end. It continues. We have had a wonderful past, we are in the midst of it and it will continue into the future. I welcome this, and I also welcome the fact that the library service is playing such an integral part and bringing this all over Jamaica. This is something that we really feel very good about," Fennell noted.
CAPTION: Susanne Fredericks (left), curator, explains the concept behind the Scotiabank-sponsored Gleaner Daegu to London Archival Exhibition, 'The Journey of Champions: 50 years of Jamaican Olympic Excellence', to Natalie Neita-Headley (centre), minister with responsibility for sports in the Office of the Prime Minister, and Karin Cooper, manager, business development and marketing at The Gleaner Company. The occassion was yesterday's opening of the Kingston and St Andrew leg of the exhibition, held at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library. - Ian Allen/Photographer