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SHARING THE LOVE: BALM Counselling Centre

Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.

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Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service


News for Week of April 2, 2023
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

OCT-DEC 2022

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Citizen groups are essential to the safety, says the security minister

Residents in the Seafort, Hellshire Park Estate and Fort Hill Estate communities in Portmore, St. Catherine, are now being served by neighbourhood watch groups to help ensure public safety.

The groups were launched during a ceremony at the Hellshire Park shopping centre, on March 25. It was attended by Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang; the Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson; and other stakeholders.

Dr. Chang, in his keynote address, maintained that policing alone, “even in its most extreme form”, will not be enough to fully ensure public safety without the support of the community.

“Having strong community support, working collaboratively with the police, is the surest way of improving public safety and good order in the community,” the Minister argued.

“Neighbourhood Watch, as a unit in the community, is crucial to having good order and dynamic, healthy communities and, certainly, plays a crucial role in maintaining that order,” said the National Security Minister.

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MAY-JUN 2022

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Students who excel receive financial support

A total of 48 students have been awarded by the Board of Supervision for high academic performance in the 2022 Primary Exit Profile (PEP), Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) tests.

They were recognised during an awards ceremony at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday, March 29. The event was attended by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, who has portfolio responsibility for the Board of Supervision.

The ceremony recognises children whose parents are clients of the Board of Supervision. Each awardee received financial grants ranging from $30,000 to $40,000, with the top achievers in each category getting between $40,000 and $80,000. The students were also presented with plaques and gift baskets.

Additionally, scholarships valued at $150,000 each were awarded to students currently enrolled at several local tertiary institutions.

Minister McKenzie said the Government remains committed to ensuring successful outcomes for disadvantaged youth and increasing financial allocations under the programme.



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Skill development for males at Mount Olivet

Director of the Mount Olivet Boys’ Home Kimberley Elliot-Williamson is focused on developing skills training programmes for wards at the private residential facility that will prepare them to transition into society when they leave.

“We want every child leaving here to, at least, be literate to a level where they are able to do basic reading and writing,” she said. “Not everybody will be academically inclined or will be able to go to a college or university. But, at least, they would have done some skills training in one area or the other, so they can be a little bit more viable.”

With this in mind, the Home is developing a programme for its woodwork training centre, located on the grounds of the Walderston, Manchester-based facility. The Home is currently training instructors, in collaboration with the Sandals Foundation, which donated the centre.

“Once it is finalised, then we are hoping to have some boys participate and be a part of the programme,” said Mrs. Elliot-Williamson.

The centre will also benefit members of surrounding communities who are interested in learning woodwork and gaining certification through the HEART Trust.


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Disaster agency advises businesses to create a plan

It is important for companies to have their ‘Business Continuity Planning Procedures’ in place, in the event the country experiences a major earthquake, said the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

“Your team should be trained in terms of your general emergency requirements, how you treat with staff, and how you ensure that persons are safe during or after the quake,” Richard Thompson, the Acting Director General at the ODPEM, said.

He pointed out that during a major earthquake, a tremor can go beyond 30 seconds, depending on the magnitude and severity. “Sometimes 10 seconds or even three seconds can seem like a lifetime, so it’s important to ensure that you are doing your emergency planning procedures and you constantly have your drills.”


The Acting Director General argued that by doing such things, the practice would become ‘second nature’ or as he would say at the ODPEM, ‘nature’. “If it is second nature, you have to think about it. If it becomes nature, you just act while the situation is happening. So, these are elements that as a general public we have to employ to ensure that there is a great degree of safety in an earthquake event,” Mr. Thompson explained.

Doctor stresses importance of family planning education

Family Medicine Physician at the Westmoreland Health Services Dr. Henrika Gayle has called for an increase in family planning education, particularly for women who have never been pregnant.

Dr. Gayle, who undertook a study entitled, ‘Prevalence and Determinants of Non-barrier Contraceptive Use Among Women in Westmoreland’, was a winner in two categories at the 2022 National Health Research Conference. These were Best Overall Poster Presentation and Most Impactful Poster Presentation.

The study revealed a high prevalence of non-barrier contraception among parous women (women who have children) and low rates among nulligravid women (women who have never been pregnant).

Dr. Gayle explained that this demonstrated high rates of unplanned pregnancies and that many women used contraception for the first time after being pregnant at least once.

A cross-sectional study design was used across five randomly selected health centres in Westmoreland. A total of 243 non-pregnant women aged 16 to 49 years were sampled using a questionnaire divided into three parts – demographics, reproductive history and access to contraception.

The study found that while the prevalence of non-barrier contraception use was 53 per cent, it was just 21 per cent in nulligravid women. It was also determined that parous women were 8.5 times more likely to use non-barrier contraception than nulligravid women.

Putin and Trump in the dock?

By Jack Goldsmith

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CAMBRIDGE – The New York grand jury’s indictment of former US President Donald Trump for bookkeeping crimes relating to hush money paid to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels follows upon the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant, two weeks ago, for Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war crime of deporting children from Ukraine. These cases highlight the law’s growing, and potentially dangerous, dominion in politics – domestic and international.


Both events are groundbreaking. Trump’s indictment is the first for any president, current or former, in United States history. Similarly, international courts have issued only a handful of arrest warrants for heads of state, and never for the leader of a major power. These legal actions will set important precedents and could have enormous consequences, even if neither one results in a criminal conviction. The question is whether the precedents will be happy ones, and whether the consequences will be positive on balance.

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