News Week: APRIL 18, 2021
Carib Cement records milestone
Three months after Caribbean Cement Company Limited announced its 2020 record cement production results, the company is marking another milestone, that of manufacturing more than 100,000 metric tonnes of cement in a month. This was accomplished in March and marks the highest monthly production in recent history.
“While we have been making investments to improve our performance, a key component in this result is the human factor. This is really a mark of the commitment of our people who have been working consistently to keep our plant operating optimally, and best of all, we have achieved this safely, without any lost time injuries,” said Yago Castro, managing director of Carib Cement.
The trend for this quarter is of a higher average than that of the past ten years and is in response to domestic market demand. Round the clock, the cadre of highly skilled employees maintain equipment, conduct quality checks and keep a close eye on all aspects of the operation to quickly resolve issues and shorten down time.
Investments in the business over the past five years have begun to yield favourable results.
Carib Cement, the largest manufacturer in Jamaica, is essential to the economy not only for its product, but for the ecosystem around the company’s operations. The company is serviced by more than 450 local suppliers and made 70% if its purchases locally in 2020. Between 2015 and 2020, the government of Jamaica has received tax revenue of $49.5 billion.
Bus donated to children’s agency
Mental health service delivery by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) is poised to be significantly bolstered with the acquisition of a retrofitted 35-seater bus valued at $14.9 million.
The vehicle, which was purchased and modified by Toyota Jamaica, is equipped with two counselling areas, Wi-Fi service, air conditioning, a refrigerator, sink, and cabinets.
Its acquisition will assist in bolstering the CPFSA Mental Health Unit’s capacity to respond to the needs of children traumatised by acts of violence, who are in State care, by providing psychological screening and intervention.
The vehicle’s addition to the Mobile Mental Health Unit otherwise called the Smiles Mobile, and the provision of a US$3,957 multipurpose printer falls under the agency’s ICT Expansion Project.
Spanish Jamaican Foundation awards bursaries
Fifty-one 51 students from nine tertiary institutions, who are facing financial difficulties, have been awarded bursaries totalling $4.5 million, courtesy of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF).
The recipients, who include pre-trained Spanish teachers, persons who study Spanish, and students of hospitality services, were selected based on their academic performance, financial need, community service, knowledge of the Spanish language, and comportment in an interview.
They are from the Shortwood Teachers’ College, Church Teachers’ College, Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Montego Bay Community College, HEART College of Hospitality Services, University of the West Indies, Brown’s Town Community College, and Bethlehem Moravian College.
KingAlarm to offer new medical transport services
The KingAlarm Group has announced that it will be offering emergency ambulance response services, critical care transport services, air ambulance coordination and medical support products and services through its affiliate company, AmbuKing.
AmbuKing will recruit, train and certify the most qualified emergency medical technicians, and will utilise only the most technologically advanced ambulances and associated lifesaving equipment, thereby ensuring the highest levels of professionalism and expertise coupled with unparalleled levels of customer service support that have become synonymous with the KingAlarm brand.
AmbuKing will, from the outset, aim to maintain the best ambulance to client ratio in the industry, thereby ensuring the fastest response times to all medical emergencies.
News Week: APRIL 25, 2021
Port Authority transforms Ocho Rios fishing village
The Rios fishing village in the tourist resort of St Ann now has a refreshed look, thanks to the work of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ). Responsible for regulating the operations of the island’s ports, the Authority has spearheaded numerous initiatives that are positively influencing the lives and livelihoods of people across Jamaica.
Kimberley Stiff, assistant vice-president of marketing communications at the PAJ, explained that the agency spent roughly $500 million to redevelop and improve the fishing village, nestled between the cruise ship pier and the Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios resort town. She pointed out that the fishing village is a mainstay for fishers and other residents who ply their trade such as art, craft, food and entertainment, among other ventures, at the location. However, she said the activities were largely informal and unregulated, which resulted in the area appearing dilapidated, disorganised and a cause of concern for cruise-shipping interests.
The scope of the redevelopment and improvement works include: building a two-storey structure to accommodate two large restaurants, dining pavilion and facilities for fisher-folk; construction of 18 small shops, restrooms, parking bays and walkways; sewage and electrical installations; renovation of driveway; and the reclamation and nourishment of beachfront.
Approximately 18 business operators and 50 fishers currently occupy the upgraded facilities at the fishing village.
UWI gets big grant to support digital education
The University of the West Indies has secured an international grant of US$25 million, the largest in its history. United States’ Silicon Valley digital technology giant, Eon Reality, announced its partnership with the UWI that will assure the significant investment in Caribbean digital education and professional training.
The grant will see Eon Reality, the global technology conglomerate, entering the Caribbean market as a post-COVID education development leader. According to the University, this initiative is a key part of the university’s new finance vision that seeks to “convert its global reputation into sustainable revenue”.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, said that, “this is a major and very timely step for the university as it rolls out its ‘finance revolution’ according to our strategic plan. We are determined to succeed but success comes with an orderly and systematic approach and effective leadership.”
Wisynco supports campaign of drug abuse council
Wisynco, a leading Jamaican distributor and manufacturer, has donated products to the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) in support of a special campaign.
The “Tek It to Dem” initiative focuses on reaching, testing and counseling the homeless and other high-risk populations in the parishes of Kingston, St. Ann and St. James. The donation to the Council totaled 165 cases or 4,500 bottles of various beverage brands. NCDA Executive Director Michael Tucker was happy that Wisynco reached out to them to find out how they could support. “We hope other companies will take a proactive approach to supporting the less fortunate. Research has shown that there is a strong link between drug use and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.”
Wisynco Marketing Coordinator Monique Kerr said, “We were looking for ways to do more for those less fortunate – especially during this time when access to essential services has been limited for the homeless and other at-risk groups due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
PROVEN to acquire Heritage Education Funds
PROVEN Investments Limited has entered into an agreement with Knowledge First Foundation, the parent company of Knowledge First Financial Inc., Canada’s largest Registered Education Savings Plan entity, to purchase its 100 per cent interest in Heritage Education Funds International Inc. (Heritage).
Heritage specializes in administering and managing education savings plans for clients in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, and the British Virgin Islands; and has enrolled over 50,000 children in its plan since its inception in 1983 and oversees about US$150 million in assets under management.
Said Johann Heaven, Head of Banking and Wealth at PROVEN: “We at PROVEN see this acquisition as complementary to our current financial services offerings, and an opportunity to widen our presence in the wealth management space throughout the Caribbean. The Heritage Plan is very similar to the product offerings of our other wealth management subsidiaries, with operations in Jamaica, Cayman, Bermuda and BVI, and we look forward to welcoming the Heritage clients to the fold and offering them the same first-class service that is synonymous with the PROVEN brand.”
Jamaica still top of mind in tourism marketplace
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said that Jamaica continues to command the attention of the main global tourism players and remains “top of the mind” in the marketplace. He noted that during the pandemic “when very little is happening across the world”, the island took top honours in six categories at the 2020 World Travel Awards. “The world, in no uncertain terms, recognises us as trailblazers in international tourism. This is especially meaningful to us this year, as it [provides] us with hope that we are not only on the road to recovery, but there is still a vested interest in our tourism offerings across the globe,” the Minister said.
The island was adjudged the World’s Leading Family, Cruise and Wedding Destination during the prestigious ceremony. Other awards won by Jamaica are World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Villa (Fleming Villa at GoldenEye); World’s Leading Villa Resort (Round Hill Hotel and Villas); World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company (Sandals Resorts International); World’s Leading All-Inclusive Family Resort Brand (Beaches Resorts); and World’s Leading Caribbean Attraction Company (Island Routes Caribbean Adventures).
The World Travel Awards, which is organised by London-based entity World Media and Events Limited, was established in 1993 to acknowledge and celebrate excellence across key sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.