Local paralympic movement gets international thumbs up

By Livingston Scott

Thursday, March 15, 2012

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The Jamaica Paralympics Association (JPA) should benefit from the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Commonwealth Canada 2015 at the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) office on Tuesday.

The working agreement was arrived at following a two-day visit by Patrick Jarvis, an International Paralympics Committee Development director and Commonwealth Canada 2015 organiser and regional co-ordinator for Commonwealth Games Canada 2015, Andre Collins.

According to Jarvis, the visit was really to dialogue and communicate with the JPA about their capacity building and about organisation development.

"So it's taking the lessons we learn from talking with the JPA about their expectations and take some looks at some tangible plans to move the organisation forward," he said.

Jarvis said that Jamaica's potential for growth is striking, and although there were unique challenges, he believes that the leadership and administrators are doing a great job so far.

"It was a very short visit and we didn't have a lot of time to scan... but I was very pleased with the nature and quality of the conversations we had... and about the short term plan we have going forward," he stated.

President of the JPA, Christopher Samuda, pointed out that the visit will strengthen Jamaica institutionally, plus assists in various areas of operations to better enhance his organisation and make it more efficient.

"All objectives were served and met and we also came up with some very good ideas from our facilitators, which we are going to look at the cost and try to implement so our association will advance," he said.

"We have signed a memorandum of understanding, and under that ,they are going to provide technical assistance and expertise... and we are hoping within the next two or three months when we have submitted our reports in respect of this visit, that we will start to see the practical benefits," Samuda added.

Meanwhile, the other member of the visiting party Collins, said this initiative is trying to capture some of the Canadian expertise to share with the region.

He noted that they have been working for years to make paralympics a very important part of the Jamaican sporting landscape, a project that is not only limited to Jamaica as other projects are scheduled for Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados and Dominica.

Meanwhile, JOA boss Mike Fennell, said as a country Jamaica has not taken seriously its paralympic athletes, who have done so well over a long period of time.

"It does need the support, because it's a message to all people that have disabilities, that they can live a full life like any able bodied person," he said.

"So this visit from our Canadian friends and their interest in helping us develop the programme is so crucial at this time... because




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