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Alia, help is on the way!

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller sent out reassuring words to national Olympic swimmer, Alia Atkinson that the government was prepared to consider support so she can continue her racing career at the elite level.

Atkinson placed fourth with 1:06:93 in the 100 metre breaststroke in the London Olympics aquatic centre on July 30. She was less than two seconds behind gold medallist Ruta Meilutyte from Lithuania, who won in 1:05.47. American Rebecca Soni, placed second with 1:05.55, and Japan’s Satomi Suzuki, was third with 1:06.46.

Mrs Simpson Miller said, “I want to commend our swimmer, Alia, she was outstanding! All Jamaicans here and in the Diaspora must be proud of her. I am going to speak to the Minister of Finance; and Education and the Sports Development Foundation and I appeal to the private sector we have to partner to allow her to continue her training programme. I want to say to her, help is on the way.”

The Prime Minister was addressing the Jamaica 50 PetroCaribe scholars on July 31 in Kingston at a function in their honour.

The 47 awardees each received a commemorative Jamaica 50 Scholarship medal and also plaque from the PetroCaribe Development Fund under its Jamaica 50 Scholarship and Merit Awards Programme. Twenty seven of the awardees are under the government’s social security programme, PATH, and they will receive an annual bursary of at least $120,000 to support them through high school up to Grade 13. 

The PetroCaribe Development Fund, was formed through the support of the government of Venezuela, and Mrs Simpson Miller thanked the government and people of Venezuela for their cooperation, which is allowing the government to undertake a range of development programmes.