Team Jamaica Bickle at the ready!

CLARE… the challenges are significant, but not insurmountable


TEAM Jamaica Bickle (TJB), for the 21st year, are ready to play hosts to hundreds of student/athletes who are poised to set Philadelphia alight during the prestigious Penn Relays, which runs from April 23-25.

Irwine Clare Sr, the chief executive officer and founder of TJB, told the Jamaica Observer, that they are ready and raring to go.

"We have no choice, but to be (ready). The challenges are significant, but not insurmountable. It means we had to be more creative at fund-raising, which is a challenge," said Clare.

The TJB village is the hub of plenty activity, especially for Jamaicans and many in the wider Caribbean, at the three-day relay carnival held at the University of Pennsylvania, home of the famous Franklin Field.

TJB assist in accommodation, transportation and meals for hordes of Caribbean participants, which is said to run into millions of Jamaican dollars, yearly.

"We will have close to 750 athletes between Jamaican Trinidad & Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and probably Bahamas. We will have nearly 1000 rooms and will serve anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 meals per day," noted Clare.

The athletes are mostly served Caribbean style dishes -- ackee and saltfish, callaloo, jerk chicken, fish, curry goat, banana, yam and hardough bread.

"In hard currency that's nearly US$150,000, and it could easily be a US$250,000 production yearly. We have impacted the schools' total expenses by [taking] nearly 30 to 40 percent [off]. We are here to assist as much as possible," Clare reiterated.

The Village is a multi-purpose one which is also used as a medical outpost and offers physical therapy. It is the main point of contact for corporate sponsors.

"This year we are pleased to host JAMPRO as we foster relationships. Last year we hosted Stock Exchange because we use it to promote Brand Jamaica. So we will be meeting with investment bankers and all that on behalf of JAMPRO. It's a myriad of things, it's not just on the track and feeding our athletes, it's a lot more things," he added.

Published Date: 
Monday, April 20, 2015