Jamaica Paralympic Association (JPA) President Christopher Samuda describes it as exceptional and historic to have Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen declare an annual Paralympic Day.
The day will be officially declared on March 10 at the launch of the JPA’s I Am Phenomenal campaign, with the official day set for March 11. This day was already declared last year but the Governor-General was unable to present the official proclamation to the JPA because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jamaica will become the first country in the Caribbean and Central American region to have a head of state declare an official Paralympic Day.
But Samuda says it will not just simply be celebrating a day, as the JPA has to ensure that it invests meaning into the celebration
“We have to indicate to stakeholders and the general public that we are able persons, that we can create possibilities from impossibilities,” Samuda told the Jamaica Observer. “We have to indicate that we are credible and, therefore, we must be given a chance to excel, a chance to play our part in nation-building, and also to contribute to the sporting value and asset of our nation. Paralympic Day will be celebrated in that context. It will transmit a message to the public that the Paralympic movement is here to stay and has contributed in the past, and will continue to contribute positively to our young people, their development, and self-actualisation.”
Samuda says the JPA will have conferences that it describes as “edu-posiums” (educational symposiums), similar to ones held in the past, with the intention of explaining the principles and values of Paralympism. He says that these workshops will also provide practical sessions on corporate governance in terms of administration, finance, marketing, and strategic planning.
“We are going to revisit that in a very aggressive way,” he said. “We will have a walkathon and a 5K and we are going islandwide in terms of using the new media. Our partner has always been Visual Vibe. We are going to be sending messages via their network, islandwide – not only in terms of the achievements and accomplishments of our Paralympians over the years in sport, but also to transmit their values, which is what the Paralympic movement is all about, what the values and principles by which we live, move and have our being are, and what the principles we want to communicate to ensure that our financiers and corporate stakeholders understand the value of Paralympism and see themselves as assets in the movement.”
— Rachid Parchment