Half a million dollars in bonds for James
ST.GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC-Prime Minister Tillman Thomas Saturday night announced that EC half a million dollars in Government bonds will be given to Kirani James for winning Grenada’s first Olympic gold medal.
Prime Minister Thomas also revealed that James will be appointed a tourism Ambassador, an athletic stadium to be built by China will be named after him, and commemorative stamps will be published in his honour.
The Grenadian leader told thousands who attended a rally at the national stadium that a museum, and a resource and fitness centre will be built in Gouyave, Kirani’s hometown.
“Cabinet will appoint a national project team which will be mandated to go to every parish and to give guidance to all important interest groups sporting associations businesses and the church community” said Prime Minister Thomas.
“The results of the work will reflect the wishes of all the people as to the kind of legacy we dedicate to the honour of our national hero. In doing these things we recognized that we may never be able to repay you for what you have done for our island”.
James, both world and Olympic 400 metre champion who turned 20 Saturday, also received a quantity of jewelry including a necklace, bracelet, a ring and a watch from Columbian emeralds and EC100,000 dollars from Republic Bank.
His parents were also presented with his and hers gift hampers from Duty free Caribbean.
Performances from Calypsonians, poets, dancers and singers all serenaded James as part of a three hour rally that climaxed with an impressive fireworks display that lit up the St.George’s skyline.
“Kirani James, you are the only one who can unite us.” declared Opposition leader Dr.Keith Mitchell in a short address at the rally.
“You better stay because I don’t know what will happen when you leave” Dr.Mitchell said.
A four feet long cake made in the symbol of an athletic track was brought unto the stage by four persons as the Royal Grenada Police Force band performed a happy birthday song for James.
The rally climaxed a series of activities celebrating James Olympic success which began with a massive home coming Thursday attended by hundreds at the Maurice Bishop International Airport.
“The success of Kirani is no surprise to us because we knew his talent and ability” said Phillip Thomas Principal of the Grenada Boys Secondary School, James’ Alma mater.
“We however were amazed just like the rest of the world that this 20 year old from a small village in Grenada will progress so quickly to the top of the athletic ladder”.
Earlier in the day, a convoy of hundreds of vehicles with thousands of people crawled around Grenada in what is believed to have been the biggest island wide motorcade ever.
People packed in buses, cars and vans and clad in national colours waved flags at crowds gathered in coastline villages as patriotic music blasted from huge speakers on trucks.
With his upper body through the sun roof of an SUV, James waved constantly to villagers as the motorcade passed through rural communities.
James is due to leave the island today to continue his under graduate studies in Business at the University of Alabama.