Former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller & Grace Group CEO, Don Wehby, lead a notable list of persons to be honored by Team Jamaica Bickle (TJB) at its 25th anniversary reception to be held April 1, 2019 (6:30 pm-9:30 pm) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, under the distinguished patronage of the Governor General Of Jamaica, His Excellency, The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen. The evening dubbed, “Celebrating Volunteerism, Heralding Excellence,” will recognize those whose lives have positively impacted others and, who through their actions have brought about change. Rounding out the list of honourees are; Dr. Walton Small, ISSA President; Ali McNab former Sportscaster and (now), Special Advisor, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport; Sekou Clarke, Immigration Attorney and Trishana McGowan, Sports Analyst and former athlete.
The Most Honourable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller O.N., M.P., is heralded as a standard bearer for women. She became Jamaica’s seventh Prime Minister in March 2006 and was conferred with the Order of the Nation in May 2006. Mrs. Simpson Miller’s ascension to Jamaica’s highest political office came after having served for 17 years as a Cabinet Minister. Her distinguished record of service at the regional and international levels deserves much acclaim.
Don Wehby, rose to prominence in the Grace Kennedy Group, serving in various capacities within the organization before being appointed Group CEO in 2011. His extensive professional background spans both the private and public sectors where he continues to hold various leadership positions. He has served as Government Senator, and Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and on numerous boards including, Food for the Poor. He is currently New Zealand’s Honorary Consul to Jamaica, following his appointment in September 2015.
These are examples of leadership and service that TJB seeks to highlight and celebrate as it marks its own. TJB’s milestone of 25 years of unbroken service to Caribbean athletes at the Penn Relays is a noteworthy achievement. Staging a celebratory reception in Jamaica is a moment pride for the organization. In 1994 the organization started its hospitality services to cater to the basic needs of athletes from Jamaica participating at the relays, expanding to include other Caribbean Nationals in subsequent years. As the number grew through the years, the contingent of athletes and administrative staff has surpassed over 600 at its peak with groups coming from Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, The USA, among others. It’s been a rewarding, though sometimes demanding journey but most importantly it has significantly enhanced the Penn Relays experience for these groups. Through its partnership with Caribbean Food Delights, athletes are provided with three hot meals daily, ground transportation, chiropractic and some medical services and mentorship. Many schools have come to rely on the assistance provided as it helps to defray overall costs to prepare and send students to the relays.
CEO and Founder Irwine Clare Snr., expressed his gratitude, sense of pride and humility that he felt with this accomplishment. “Who would have thought? 25 years ago, the idea was just to help out a situation, no thought of the magnitude and impact that would materialize to where we are today. It was always about the athlete’s welfare and, it’s still about the athlete’s welfare. With the help of our corps of volunteers, partners and stake holders we continue to “raise the bar.” A special thank you to the parents of our ambassadors, who have granted us the privilege to be hosts.”
The organization has grown from a small container window and now boasts a fully seated commercial grade tent and kitchen staffed by over 50 volunteers. There have been key highlights and significant milestones over the period of 25 years. Of note, since 1999 the Jamaican flag has been flown at the Penn Relays. It was the first foreign flag to be flown. In 2008, TJB held a fundraising Concert to aid in Jamaica’s Olympic effort, donating some USD$20,000.00 from the proceeds. BET covered and promoted the concert which featured Richie Stephens, Etana, Coco Tea among others. In 2012, The Honorable Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica became the first foreign Head of State to visit. TJB initiated partnerships with Jamaican companies to the Penn Relays some 25 years ago and that has led to Grace Foods, a Jamaican company becoming title sponsor of the Relays now, for several consecutive years.
2019 is a banner year with a trifecta of events: the 125th year of the Penn Relays; the 55th year of Jamaica’s participation and TJB’s 25th year at the relays. Several events are being staged to mark these occasions. This capstone commemorative event which is being held on home soil is meant to “bridge the distance and successes over the many years.” This special evening is sponsored by the Victoria Mutual Group and PROVEN Wealth Limited.
Several corporate sponsors have supported the TJB effort for many consecutive years including Caribbean Food Delights (early partners); Grace, Western Union, Jamaica Tourist Board; The Union of Jamaican Alumni Association (USA) Inc (UJAA); Tower Isles Patties; Caribbean Airlines; Lawyers and Friends of TJB and The Young Caribbean Professional Network (YCPN).
Please visit www.teamjamaicabickle.org or call 718.523.2861 for more information.
About Team Jamaica Bickle
Team Jamaica Bickle, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, based in New York, formed in 1994, under the leadership of Irwine G. Clare Sr., to provide hospitality support for Jamaican athletes who compete at the annual Penn Relays Carnival, held at the University of Pennsylvania. Team Jamaica Bickle, Inc., supports athletes, athletic and youth programs across the Caribbean and the United States. In 1999, Team Jamaica Bickle became the first Jamaican organization to be a participating sponsor at the Penn Relays. As a result, the Jamaican flag became the first foreign-nation’s flag to be flown at the Penn Relays, a distinction unmatched. Over the years, TJB has received several proclamations and awards from numerous local and national entities.