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PRIME Minister Portia Simpson Miller has stoutly defended the decision to financially reward the country's medallists at the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A weekend of feting the athletes for their performances in the British capital began on Sunday with a church service at the East Queen Baptist Church and a cocktail reception at Jamaica House during which Simpson Miller told the Jamaica Observer that it was not a unilateral decision.
"We had to find a way and it was a broad-based committee with a number of Jamaicans, and that was the recommendation that came back to us and we felt that once we had consultation by a committee that came up with the decision," she said.
"I don't think there is anything that could be too great a contribution that we cannot make to our sportsmen and women who continue to bring glory to our homeland," the Prime Minister added.
Jamaica won 12 medals — four gold, four silver, and four bronze — in London, while Alphanso Cunningham won a gold medal in the javelin at the Paralympic Games.
"They've made it 'Jamaica to the world' and added significant value to brand Jamaica," Simpson Miller said.
Each athlete who won a gold medal will earn $1 million, silver medal winners get $675,000, and bronze medallists get $500,000.
Each athlete making a final will earn $350,000, while each participant will take home $250,000.
Sunday evening's function was attended by several of the medallists, including 100m and 200m silver medallist Yohan Blake, 200m bronze medal winner Warren Weir and women's 100m bronze medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Prime Minister Simpson
Miller (left) poses with a
replica of the London
Games Olympic torch while
(from left) Minister with
responsibility for Sports,
Natalie Neita-Headley, and
athletes Yohan Blake and
Veronica Campbell Brown,
look on at Jamaica House
on Sunday evening.
(Photo: Garfield Robinson)
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