Entertainers reject $82m Olympic celebration

October 13, 2016
Grange ... no monetary award adequate to demonstrate our appreciation
Usain Bolt
Jamaica's victorious men's 4x100m relay team with their gold medals. They are (from left) Usain Bolt, Nickel Ashmeade, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell.
Members of the Jamaica's 4x100 metres women's team that who won silver at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil. From left: Veronica Campbell-Brown, Elaine Thompson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Christania Williams.
DJ Neil

Following the Government's announcement that it will spend an amazing $82 million on post-Olympic celebrations for Jamaican athletes, several Jamaicans have expressed their disapproval, stating that the money should be used to develop the country or assist Haiti.

Record producer and broadcaster DJ Neil believes the recent hurricane threat highlighted several developmental issues within the island that need to be addressed.

"I believe that Hurricane Matthew showed that poor people need more support and that we need development in a lot of areas. I think the statues are a good idea, but as for the other celebrations, it is a little too late for that because Olympic pass and gone. Use that money to sponsor some youths because Usain Bolt soon retire and the youths always complaining that they need support," he said.

Meanwhile, recording artiste Pamputtae says she feels the money should be used to assist needy Jamaicans as well as Haiti, which is now recovering from the effects of the powerful Hurricane Matthew, which ravaged the island last week.

"The athletes deserve respect, yes, but people a suffer from the storm, and Jamaica has homeless people who need the help. I think if you take a drive through Jamaica you will see that there are places that need the money more than anything else. Maybe if it did happen immediately after Olympics it would make more sense, but a our tax money, and I think it's better even helping Haiti because right now mi a cry fi dem," she said.

While Pamputtae is batting for assisting Haiti, veteran manager and promoter Stampede believes Jamaican hospitals need the money.

"I wish they would spend that money on the hospital dem. It's a nice gesture, but the hospital need it more than dem because dem already win dem medal. Poor people need better treatment when dem go hospital, and honestly, the excitement done. Usain Bolt done have him medal dem. It strange how governments never have money when people cry, yet they find it to waste on things like this," Stampede said.




However, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange believes the money is still insufficient.

"No monetary award is adequate enough to demonstrate our appreciation of the achievements of our champions," Grange said on Tuesday at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

But this is not the first time that there have been objections to sports-related spending. The country also made an uproar in 1998 when then Prime Minister PJ Patterson decided to purchase a commemorative reggae ball for $9 million in celebration of Jamaica's World Cup qualification.

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