Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
Last week Thursday was special for the folks at Digicel. The telecoms giant launched its landmark 5K NightRun/Walk for downtown Kingston come Saturday, October 20. The launch took place at its soon-to-be-completed international corporate headquarters located overlooking the picturesque Kingston harbour.
The run is fittingly dubbed 'Take Back the Night' as stockholders in business, government and civil society continue the drive to encourage each other to relocate to or set up business in downtown Kingston, so as to restore the capital to its former halcyon days.
Proceeds of the race will benefit the special-needs community. But the overarching aim is to get Jamaicans returning to the heart of the city at night, for all types of social events.
The 5K route will be along the entire Parade area, taking in Harbour Street, Port Royal Street, Nethersole Place and Ocean Boulevard. Participants are free to walk, run or travel via their wheelchairs.
And if what our little bird tells us is correct, discussions are ongoing for many local and international celebrities, politicians, corporate kingpins and movers and shakers to take part in this historic event. Second only to the Olympics, this is poised to be the event of the year for our fair island.
To participate in this Gleaner-sponsored event, corporations and other groups should visit: www.runningeventsja.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed forms must be submitted with an entry fee of $1,000 for individuals and $900 each for teams of 50 or more. Registration closes on September 28, or when the organisers have reached a limit of 5,000 persons.
And late last Thursday evening, some 500 members of the Digicel team gathered in their parking lot to celebrate former CEO Mark Linehan's promotion to a regional post, and fêted him with the mother of all send-off parties.
The party had all the elements of the famous Digicel vibe - from the cake decorated to look like a football field, complete with Gimmi Five lollipops proclaiming Linehan's major achievements, to a list of staff performers who could easily audition for a Digicel Stars episode. Masters of ceremony, Martin Thame, recruitment manager, and Trisha K. Williams-Singh, corporate relations manager, turned it up several notches with their antics, particularly her "bruck, bruck, bruck it dung" moves. They had their colleagues in stitches!
But as far as dance moves go, what still has everyone talking is Linehan's impromptu Irish fancy footwork. It all started with Digicel's contracted 'legs man' Jermaine 'Taz' Scott who performed a traditional Irish dance to the song Drunken Sailor. Trust this reporter when I say the famous Riverdance troupe had nothing on these too. From quadrille and step dance to set dancing, they totally thrilled as a sea of staff members rushed closer to the stage to take it all in.
The party went on into the night, with ample servings of local cuisine and liquid libation supplied by J.Wray & Nephew. Linehan's speech was filled with gratitude for his team that were right there through the challenges and high points of his tenure, and for Jamaicans who have kept them in the number-one spot.