JAAA, RPJ signs historic partnership for Carifta Games 49
Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) First Vice-President Ian Forbes and chairman of Recycling Partners of Jamaica Dr Damien King display the agreements signed between the two organisations for sponsorship of the 49th staging of the Carifta Games. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

AS the 49th staging of the Carifta Games draws closer yet another sponsor, Recycling Partners of Jamaica (RPJ), has come on board to assist the local organizing committee (LOC) with the hosting of the event in Kingston, Jamaica from April 16-18.

The agreement was signed at the offices of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) between chairman of the LOC Mike Fennell and chairman of RPJ Dr Damien King, on Wednesday.

Fennell hailed the partnership as unique and important to not just Jamaica, but the region as a whole.

“This is a very unique and important partnership that we are announcing,” he said.

“Unique because I don't think that in Jamaica, or this part of the world, we are accustomed to hearing of people involved in the recycling world or environmental matters being involved in the sporting arena.

“It is critically important, not just for sport, but it sends a message right across the island and right across the region,” Fennell continued.

The chairman believes that this partnership may well influence the behaviour of the spectators in a good way long after the games are finished.

“This is not just about the carbon footprint of an event that takes place but about the behaviour of people. We know that in terms of an event the spectators have a reputation of utilising a lot of paper cups, paper bags and things like that, that leave a considerable amount of garbage which sometimes is dumped in the wrong place.”

The RPJ will be responsible for both the collection and proper disposal of all waste generated during the three-day event, and their Chairman Dr King said that it was important to marry sports and environmental management in the region.

“From Kirani James in Grenada to Ato Boldon in Trinidad, all the way through Jamaica's rich history of athletics success, athletics is tremendously important in the region as is sports in general — football, cricket, netball.

“Sports, and particularly athletics, plays an important role in these islands and in the life of Jamaica. Less high in people's consciousness but just as important is the role of managing our environment, because we are islands.”

He insists that as islands we have the most to lose and as such must be prepared to do what is required to protect where we live.

“Islands are more vulnerable, more susceptible to the consequences of poor environmental management, locally and globally. They say we are on the front line of global environmental mismanagement. It affects our climate, it affects our natural resources, and so we have to be especially astute in environmental management

“We need to send the message that proper management and disposal of plastics is something that we need to take on in every aspect of society.

“It follows naturally that this partnership needs to be made to consummate these two important elements of our lives — managing our environment better, particularly in relation to plastics, and our athletic prowess and achievement. So it is with extreme pleasure and extreme pride that we are going to be signing this agreement to be a partner with the hosting of the 49th edition of the Carifta Games with JAAA.”

It was also announced that 85 volunteers were selected to help at the games in various capacities, including accreditation, media, teams and secretariat. There are some volunteers who are able to speak French and Spanish. The volunteers will go through 15 hours of training ahead of the start of the games.

— Dwayne Richards

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