December 3, 2020

CARIBBEAT: Much respect coming for supporters of Team Jamaica Bickle’s quarter-century of aid to visiting high school track-and-field athletes

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By Jared McCallister From New York Daily News

amaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (center) greets members of the island nation’s University of Technology men’s track team during the Penn Relays athletics meet in Philadelphia in 2012. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

The hospitality initiative —marking its 25th year of aiding Caribbean scholastic track-and-field athletes at the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia — is celebrating by recognizing former Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby and others for their support for the organization and its efforts over the years.

The Penn Relays — which is commemorating its 125th anniversary — will be held April 25 through 27 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field, featuring high school, college and Olympic-caliber athletes.

And 2019 is the 55th year of Jamaica’s participation in the Philadelphia meet. Get tickets and event information for the relays

Simpson-Miller, who visited the Penn Relays in 2012, and Wehby, whose corporation is a big sponsor of the big track meet, are two of the honorees taking part in an April 1 reception at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, under the theme, “Celebrating Volunteerism, Heralding Excellence.”

Walton Small, president of Jamaica’s Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association; Ali McNab, special adviser to Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; immigration attorney Sekou Clarke, and sports analyst Trishana McGowan are also among the honorees being recognized for bringing about positive change.

The event, being held with support from the Jamaica Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, is being sponsored by the Victoria Mutual Group and PROVEN Wealth Limited.

“It was always about the athlete’s welfare and, it’s still about the athlete’s welfare,” said Team Jamaica Bickle founder and CEO Irwine Clare. “With the help of our corps of volunteers, partners and stakeholders we continue to raise the bar.”

The reception will be held as the organization makes final preparations for its 25th year of meeting the needs of visiting Jamaican high school athletes and coaches — who have been joined over the years by teams from Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and other locations in the region.

The Team Jamaica Bickle assistance ranges from help finding accommodations and ground transportation, to providing chiropractic aid, three, hot home-cooked Caribbean meals and mentoring for athletes.

An example of the organization’s work beyond the Penn Relays is a program providing lifesaving medical defibrillators to high schools in Jamaica.

Some of the corporate sponsors supporting Team Jamaica Bickle’s efforts throughout the years include Caribbean Food Delights (an early partner), the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Union of Jamaican Alumni Association (USA), Tower Isles Patties, Caribbean Airlines, Lawyers and Friends of TJB and the Young Caribbean Professional Network.[

For more on Team Jamaica Bickle and other events and activities prior to the Penn Relays, visit or call (718)523-2861.

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