By: Derrick Scott
WASHINGTON, DC – Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB), the New York based organization which has been the main support to our athletes at the annual Penn Relays has reached out to members of the Jamaican Diaspora in the Washington DC metropolitan area for financial support.
Addressing a large gathering of members from the Caribbean community at TJBs Fund Raising and Awards Reception held on Wednesday April 6 at the Embassy of Jamaica, founder and CEO of TJB Mr. Irwin Claire, pointed out that over the past twenty years, TJB has supported our high school athletes in various ways. This has allowed them to perform creditably at the Penn Relays and bring glory to our country.
“The athletes are our ambassadors and in order for them to fly the Jamaican flag high, TJB needs the financial support of the community, without which TJB will not be able to provide the sort of assistance the athletes need,” Mr. Claire said. He told the audience that TJB is seeking to expand its reach so that more athletes can be supported. To this end, TJB has established a chapter in Philadelphia and plans are in place to establish another chapter in the Washington metro area, with expansion to other states in the future.
For his part, Jamaica’s outgoing Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Ralph Thomas, lauded TJB for its over twenty years of providing invaluable support and assistance to Jamaica’s young athletes who travel to the United States to participate at the annual Penn Relay games. He said, “As a result of the tremendous commitment of the athletes and TJB, in 1999, Jamaica’s flag was the first from a foreign nation to be flown at the relays and we have continued to showcase that historical image”
The Ambassador pointed out that under the Hospitality initiative, TJB through donations and sponsorship has been able to continue the Jamaican tradition of being our brother’s keeper to our athletes, helping families and the respective schools to defray costs such as accommodations, warm meals, ground transportation and medical support.
The Ambassador also commended TJB for extending support and assisting other Caribbean athletes from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, the US Virgin Islands, Guyana, Grenada and the Bahamas. The Jamaican envoy implored the gathering to give generously to this worthwhile initiative.
Ambassador Thomas congratulated three members from the Jamaican community – Olympian Karl Laddy-Smith, Executive Director and founder of the Washington based organization, Women at Real Risk (WARR), Mrs. Totlyn Taylor-Newby and President of the National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organization (NAJASO), Rick Nugent – who were honored by TJB for their humanitarian contribution to the Diaspora and Jamaica. “I commend you all for the significant contribution you have made over the years which have impacted so many lives”, he said.
Jamaican high school athletes will participate in the upcoming Penn Relays April 28 – 30.