Jamaican Government seeking to cash in on Performance of Athletes

(JIS)-The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) will be seeking to cash in on the fast growing area of sports tourism during the 2005/2006 fiscal year.

Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson-Miller, has said that with the Jamaican athletes adding to the value of Brand Jamaica, the Ministry, through the Institute of Sports, would be exploring ways and means of capitalizing on the increasing popularity of sports.

The Minister, who was making her contribution to the 2005/2006 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 31 informed that already, the Institute had established a special committee “to explore the ways and means to capitalize on this fast growing and lucrative area of economic growth.”

She noted that Brand Jamaica would be on display this summer at the World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland and the Ministry would be seeking to take advantage of the achievements of the nation’s top athletes at the meet.

Additionally, she said, the Ministry would be hosting major international sports events, such as the recent Jamaica International Invitational Track Meet put on by Independence Park Limited.

Meanwhile, Minister Simpson-Miller announced that the long-awaited National Sports Library and Archives would be established at Independence Park. “This will again allow not only for information to be available to our citizens but will be accessed by visitors to our shores, who will be introduced to the extremely rich legacy of Jamaica in the field of sports locally and internationally,” she informed.

The Sports Minister also mentioned plans for the erection of a statue at the complex in honor of former sprint queen, Merlene Ottey for her contribution to Jamaican athletics. She said that details for the establishment of the statue would be announced at a later date.

Minister Simpson-Miller further announced that the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) was investing $186 million to support programs through government agencies, sporting associations, community-based organizations and projects. She added that a special fund would be put in place to benefit athletes.

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