Grenada’s Olympic 400 metre champion, Kirani James has been promised an additional national recognition if the main opposition, New National Party (NNP) of former Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell is voted back into office.
Dr. Mitchell told supporters attending a recent public meeting at the Roy St John Playing Field in Tanteen a new government formed by the NNP will construct a mini-stadium at the Cuthbert Peters park in Kirani’s hometown at Gouyave and name it in honour of the World and Olympic champion.
“Let us honour him in Gouyave”, Mitchell told the crowd to loud cheers of approval.
The former Prime Minister who held the reigns of power for 13 years until his demise on July 08, 2008 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC) won 11 of the 15 seats in the poll, did not identify the source of funding for the project but said that on completion, will be named the “Kirani James Stadium”.
The announcement was seen by many as a campaign promise by the NNP to boost the chances of its candidate in the upcoming general elections – businessman, Alvin Da Breo.
The Grenadian super athlete was showered with awards by the Congress government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas last month in honour of his victory at the London Olympics in August.
Kirani’s return to Grenada for the first time since his Olympic Gold Medal win, was met with celebrations at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) followed by two days of activities to “Hail the King”.
On September 1, Kirani’s 20th Birthday, an islandwide motorcade was held that concluded with a national rally at the Sporting Stadium at Queen’s Park where a vast array of gifts were thrust upon him.
In the presence of thousands of Grenadians decked in national colours, Prime Minister Thomas announced that Grenada’s gifts to its local hero included the donation of half a million dollars in Government Bonds, a day of national recognition (September 01) on KIRANI DAY as well as a promise to name the Athletic and Football Stadium on completion as the Kirani Stadium.
Government also appointed Kirani as a Tourism Ambassador for Grenada and handed over to him a Diplomatic Passport for his use, and for there to be Commemorative Stamps to be published in Kirani’s honour.
In addition, the Prime Minister gave assurances that a Museum and a Resource and Fitness Centre will be built in Gouyave, St John in Kirani’s honour.
Two prominent citizens, Sandra Ferguson and Attorney-At-Law (her brother) Ruggles Ferguson handed over a parcel of land at Palmiste, St John valued in excess of $100,000.00, to the “Jaguar” to build his new home.
Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited also presented King Kirani with a cheque for EC$100,000 in recognition of his Olympic feat while Columbian Emeralds donated a vast array of gifts which included jewellery items such as a necklace, bracelet, ring and a watch.