Plans have been announced to resume and expand the Athletes Welfare Programme for national representatives.
The programme which was implemented in 2015, was subsequently discontinued but is now set to resume. The Jamaica Athletes Welfare Fund Programme got underway in October 2015 for 84 national representatives under the umbrella of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association.
The athletes were placed in two tires with those in tier 1 getting a monthly stipend of $60,000 while those in tier 2 received $30,000. A year later, the government committed $40 million towards athletes welfare to aid in their preparation for the Rio Olympics.
The revelation about the resumption and expansion of the programme came from Sports Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange during Thursday's sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament. Funding for this programme will come from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF).
Meanwhile, questions have been raised about the sustainability of the Jamaica Athletes Insurance Plan. This initiative was rolled out during the 2014/2015 financial year with assistance from several stakeholders including the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
However, the programme is said to be experiencing some lingering issues. Negotiations are now underway with the Tourism Enhancement Fund for another three year agreement to assist the programme.
The Jamaica Athletes Insurance Plan is designed to assist, in the first instance, approximately 1500 national athletes enrolled in a national sports programme of a registered sports association or federation with access to comprehensive medical insurance.