ADDRESS BY PRIME MINISTER TILLMAN THOMAS ON THE OCCASION OF NATIONAL TRIBUTE DAY TO KIRANI JAMES FOR WINNING GOLD AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN LONDON ON AUGUST 6, 2012

Prime Minister Tillman Thomas announce Kirani’s reward package

Grenadian Patriots: We are here!!!  We are in the presence of our National Hero! Our unifier! Our national icon! Our pride and joy! Following the victory that established him as the best 400 metre runner on the planet, I dedicated this poem to Kirani on behalf of all Grenadians.

“YES indeed, Kirani did it. Kirani won GOLD:
Gold! for Gun Battle! Gold! for Gouyave! Gold! for Grenada!
From bare feet to golden feet;
From age to age and stage to stage;
From the Fishing Capital of Gouyave, to the historic and fashionable City of London;
From win to bigger win and victory to greater victory;
From World Champion to Olympic Champion;
From the great and immortal words of his Alma Mata, “The prize to the one who earns it; Let this be your golden rule”; to the noble and proud words of our National Anthem, “Hail Grenada land of ours”.

Today, he stands draped majestically in the red, gold and green of our National Flag.

On a podium in a distant land, he sings our National Anthem and the world hears his VOICE!

Minister of Sports, Patrick Simmons

Today, Kirani James re-wrote the History of Grenada with his feet;
No longer will Grenada be renowned for Nutmegs, revolution and intervention.

Today, we have come to honour him and to pay him tribute:
‘Hail Kirani son of ours we give our love to you!
‘Hail Kirani son of Gouyave, Grenada belongs to you!’”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On this the first day of September, 2012, our Nation is in full celebration. King Kirani has come home. The jaguar has returned and we are here to welcome him and pay him the tribute he so richly deserves.

This day, September first, will henceforth be known as KIRANI DAY!

We are proud, because Grenada has given to the world a model youth. A young man who is worthy of his history; whose personal attributes and talents constitute a bold and distinctive symbol; a shining example for all of our nation’s youth.

In the midst of difficult times for Grenada and the Caribbean region, shines a brilliant star.

This is an amazing achievement for Grenada. In so doing, Kirani has challenged all of us parents, guardians and elders in our communities, to become beacons of light for the younger generations.

Indeed, he has challenged the youth of our Nation to get up, work hard and do the unimaginable with their God-given talents.

Generations to come will be greeted by an awesome standard of excellence; a source of energy and a guiding light. Henceforth, every newborn son and daughter will know that Olympic royalty flows through their veins.

Kirani has challenged us to be the best that we can be despite the many constraints that we may face.  He has challenged us to be disciplined and focused ensuring that we never lose sight of our goals; He has challenged us to be diligent and to vigorously pursue our dreams; He has challenged us to be humble in victory and to embrace our competitors.

Most importantly, he has challenged us to put country first and to always bring honour to this beautiful Nation!




Today therefore, on behalf of the Government and People of Grenada, I extend our deepest and most profound congratulations and gratitude to Kirani.  Your emphatic victory is a source of joy and inspiration for all the people of the OECS and the wider Caribbean.

On behalf of the Government and people of Grenada, I congratulate and thank Kirani’s parents for bringing up such an exceptional son. We can only imagine the pride that you must feel, at Kirani’s phenomenal successes.

Surely we all now enjoy the benefits of the many sacrifices that you have made over the years in helping Kirani navigate the race of life. I also extend gratitude to his coaching teams, past and present, for the fantastic job they have done in discovering Kirani’s talent and preparing him for the world stage.

Grenada’s pride and joy, sprint sensation, gold carrying “Jaguar” – “King Kirani”

Ladies and Gentlemen, while Kirani’s performance has been exceptional, we MUST take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all our athletes who participated in the London Olympic Games.

Today we recognise Kurt Felix, Jenelle Redhead, Joel Redhead, Esau Simpson, Andrea St. Bernard, Neisha Bernard-Thomas, Kanika Beckles and Paul Williams and their respective coaches. Your journey to these games has been a journey of personal sacrifice, commitment and dedication to your dear homeland. You have also made us all proud and for this we love, admire and thank you.

Fellow Grenadians, The recognition we owe to Kirani has to be presented in two parts. Firstly, we must accord him the warmest homecoming ever to be extended to a son or daughter of this country.

Indeed, we began this on Thursday evening, resumed this morning with the “TOUR de SPICE” and climaxing here now at the National Stadium.

Related to this phase of recognition is the presentation to Kirani of the ‘Gifts of the Land’.

In this regard, I am pleased to announce that our country will give the following to Kirani in PARTIAL appreciation for what he has given to us:

*  APPOINTMENT AS A SPORTS TOURISM AMBASSADOR
* GOVERNMENT BONDS VALUED HALF OF A MILLION DOLLARS
* UPON COMPLETION, THE ATHLETIC STADIUM WILL BE RENAMED THE KIRANI JAMES STADIUM
* THE PUBLICATION OF A COMMEMORATIVE STAMP IN KIRANI’S HONOUR
* A MUSEUM, RESOURCE AND FITNESS CENTRE IN GOUYAVE WITH THE INVOLVMENT OF HIS FORMER CLUB SPEED ZONE AND HIS SPONSORS.

Secondly, we must take particular and careful steps to establish Kirani’s legacy from a national perspective. I am referring here to the institutions, the aspects of life in society, the public badges and the life-long manifestations which we dedicate to the memory and value of his achievement.

This aspect must be seen as an investment to achieve greater things for our country, through and for our young people, and for his beloved communities in Gun Battle and Gouyave.

For this purpose, Cabinet will appoint a National Project Team which will be mandated to go to every parish and to give audience to all important interest groups, sporting associations, businesses and the church community.

The results of their 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 recognise, that we may never be able to repay you for what you have done for our nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Grenadian Patriots: Here at home and in the Diaspora, we must use Kirani’s achievement as a source of inspiration; so that when the history of our country is written, it will show that we gave of our best to achieve a strong, stable and prosperous country for our children and grandchildren.

Let us put our shoulders to the wheel and continue “PRODUCING OUR WAY TO PROSPERITY”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIRANI! MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND MAY HE ALWAYS BLESS OUR NATION.
I THANK YOU.

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