Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports Minister Olivia Grange said on Monday that her intervention with the support of a dedicated team facilitated the return of a Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) delegation from a match of Reggae Boyz football in Suriname after difficulties. with their travel arrangements to return home.
The delegation returned to Jamaica at approximately 7:15 a.m. Monday morning. In a statement, the minister said:
“On Saturday, June 4, 2022, I was informed of the challenges facing the Reggae Boyz delegation in Suriname. I was informed that travel arrangements for his return to Jamaica after the match against Suriname had been canceled. by Saturday, and my help was being sought.
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I was told that since the players had to return in time for another match, the normal flight schedules would not allow them to return. “
According to my instructions, my Permanent Secretary and the Director General of the Foundation for the Development of Sport (SDF) took a number of steps to help solve the problem. “
A company was identified from which we could rent a flight in no time. Leon Bailey of Reggae Boyz was instrumental in identifying the charter company.
The identified company warned us that the charter flight would cost US $ 105,000, which had to be paid immediately for the plane that was in Mexico to be released to pick up the equipment in Suriname. Unfortunately, with this over the weekend, circumstances prevented the SDF from accessing the necessary banking services.
JFF President Michael Ricketts has contacted Christopher Williams, PROVEN CEO and President of the Premier Football Jamaica League (PFJL), to help him identify the funds needed, and the Jamaican government, through the SDF, it pledged to ensure that funds progressed. would be remunerated. Based on the Government’s commitment, Williams put in place the necessary mechanisms to advance the payment of the charter flight, with the firm understanding that it will be reimbursed in the shortest possible time. All parties involved were aware of the urgent need to act, given the risk that the Jamaican delegation would be stranded in Suriname and that players would not be able to meet the match scheduled for Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
I also had to speak directly with the Reggae Boyz, who were upset with the JFF Administration, which they blamed for the crisis, at which point they agreed to play the game in Suriname on time.
The Undersecretary for the Diaspora, Protocol and Consular Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) played a critical role in securing landing and flight permits. The team of ministries was in negotiations from Saturday afternoon until Monday in the early hours of the morning to ensure the receipt of permits. “I will write to the JFF requesting a detailed report on the matter, and my team and I will continue to work closely with the JFF and Reggae Boyz, as we are also aware of other issues related to the management of what is possibly Jamaica’s most popular sport “.