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Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Jamaican Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport at Beijing 2008

Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Jamaican Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport at Beijing 2008

Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, Jamaican Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport at Beijing 2008

By on - 4 comments

Olivia Grange, or ‘Babsy’ as everyone calls her, is Jamaica’s Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport.

Olivia Grange is not just a politician, she’s one of Jamaica’s most prolific talents and campaigners - a business-woman, activist, social worker, as well as mother and grandmother.

Babsy came to visit the World Travel Awards VIP Sports Lounge at the Westin Beijing Financial Street, and spoke to BTN on the eve of the men’s 100m final, with two of her national heroes, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, neck and neck favourites to take gold.

Babsy spent her formative years in West Kingston with her grandmother. Her talents were quickly spotted by a young Edward Seaga, the then MP for West Kingston and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, who would go on to become Prime Minister in 1980. He began to transform the infamous slum into a community, and Grange got involved organising cultural programmes for youth in the community and later become the first president of the Chocomo Lawn-based Victor's Youth Club.

She attended Patricia Stevens Finishing School and Ryerson University in Canada, where she was got her first taste of politics. She co-founded Contrast, Canada’s first black community newspaper, managed a number of promising reggae acts such as Carlene Davis and Leroy Sibbles as well as platinum selling artists Shabba Ranks and Lady Patra, and began work with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Jamaican Minister of Culture, Entertainment and Sport
Olivia 'Babys' Grange and Reigning Miss World, Zi Lin Zhang of China

In 1980, after a summer of volunteer work on an Indian reservation, Babsy returned to Jamaica on holiday, when Edward Seaga, who had just become prime minister, immediately invited her to work with him in West Kingston. And the rest, as they say, is history.

BTN: How has Beijing 2008 been for you so far?
BG: I’m really in an exciting situation and Jamaica is in a very exciting time. I think Beijing is a wonderful place and it’s very exciting at this time, certainly we are expecting to do very well as a little country.

What are your hopes for the Jamaican team and what would success mean to you personally and to Jamaica and its tourist trade?
I think that the Jamaican team will do extremely well. I expect a record hall of golds and other medals, particularly in track and field. We have of course two of the fastest men and of course some of the fastest women and so we expect to do better than we have ever done. And that of course will really be wonderful for Jamaica. It will help to enhance the brand because sports and culture is at the centre of brand Jamaica.

What is it about Jamaica that helps cultivate such amazing sports men and women?
When you ask me that question I think of rhythm and motion. We’re a musical country, we have a music that has penetrated all the corners of the earth – reggae music, made famous by Bob Marley. We also have a religion through Bob Marley – Rastafari, which is the newest religion in the world and with all of those things that are so much a part of our culture, being fast runners, being great athletes, is also the talent, the God given talent and so with a mix of all these things, we somehow manage to be a little country that is awesome.

Is there any event in particular that you are looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the 100m. I will be right there as close to the finish line as possible and we expect to come in with one and two, and if possible, one two and three. Words can’t express how I am anticipating that race, we are gonna show the world that we will maintain the record of having the fastest men in the world… and the fastest women we expect to do well in the 100m and the 200m. And we also expect to do very well in the relay.

Do you have a message for the team?
Yes, I certainly do. You go out there and you do your best. Do it like you know Jamaica can. You have an entire nation behind you, so just go out there and go for gold. God bless!

Source: BTN with the permission of Barbara Blake Hannah

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Read comments (4)

Posted by akeem on 06.27.2010
hi babsy its akeem grange gleneve grange brother.

Posted by Lloyd George on 11.18.2010
Greetings my Beloved SISTA. Wrote you a letter to be read at Gregory's Funeral Service but having difficulty posting it, as do not have an address. Have already sent a letter of Tribute to the Editor of the Gleaner, if and when it is published, is another matter. Would you be so kind as to respond to this email, please, then i will submit it & another i have written to, hopefully be read at The Great Man's Service? Brotherly Love. Lloyd. God Bless my dear. One Love.

Posted by Lloyd George on 11.18.2010
my dear Lady. I would b grateful if this could be read at my Brethren's Funeral Service. As a Proud Jamaican, born ii/01/1947, Higgin Town, St.Ann, i Love this piece of Rock which gave me Life.I Love and Respect ALL of our Performers' who, over the decades, have shown the world the Rich Heritage we have,due to the sufferings of our Ancestors' endured. Let us not forget them.They ALL deserve a Standing Ovation for the Valued Contributions they have made. Long after the names of Public Servants are forgotten by the masses' their names will be forever Carved in our vhearts. As we honour our Beloved Gregory Isaacs, lets bow our heads and say a silent prayer of thanks. Appreciation and Love, most important, RESPECT to a Brethren who, in my opinion, was truly Gifted & Blessed by the Most High. Many, including Bob Marley, Dennis Brown. Joseph Hill. Desmond vDekker, & others too numerous to mention here, have done Jamaica Proud through their music. Gregory stood out for the way he delivered the message of LOVE for ALL mankind, without offending anyone. That, in itself, is an Art. Jah be Praised. No other artist have managed to capture the "Essence" the way my Beloved Brethren did. One Love.One Joy.One Jamaica. One "Bredda Dweetb Sweet". Gregory Isaacs. Misas you my Brethren. Thank you for the Rich Legacy you have left us. Forever in my heart. Love and Respect. Lloyd George.

Posted by yaphet senrab on 02.16.2013
Ms Babsy I think Miss Lou was the original Oprah of TV I suggest all.
Those programs with ring-ding be placed on DVD so these kids can see that part of our culture and live some of those memories.

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