SHARING THE LOVE: Noel Holmes gets equipment
Five-minute feature on acts of kindness by local or overseas based non-government individuals and organisations that have benefitted Jamaicans.
Written and produced by the Radio Department of the Jamaica Information Service
News for Week of April 23, 2023
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.
Southeast Clarendon communities get upgraded water system
The National Water Commission (NWC) and the National Housing Trust NHT funded a $25 million upgrade project, which has given Mitchell Town and the nearby towns in Clarendon Southeast a stable water supply.
The project was chosen as part of an initiative that was made public in 2017 and called for the upgrading of 100 communities that were created during the first ten years of the NHT.
Speaking on April 20 at the Mitchell Town Community Centre during the official commissioning of the Mitchell Town Pipeline Replacement Project, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Matthew Samuda, stated that $7 billion is being allocated for water infrastructure projects.
He added that last year, water systems were updated in every parish. He said the funding will support 42 smaller water delivery systems and 22 big water projects for dependable water distribution across the island.
In a five-year initiative to supply Jamaicans with 50,000 tanks, the Minister stated that 10,000 to 30,000 black tanks will be handed to homes in rural regions. He also noted that each beneficiary of the tank scheme will be given components for rainwater collection.
Restorative Justice works in Jamaica, says Minister Chuck
Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice, reports that throughout 2021 and 2022, 3,904 court cases were successfully handled using Restorative Justice (RJ) practises. A total of 4,460 cases were referred to restorative justice by the courts during that time, or 87.5% of them.
A satisfactory conclusion, according to Minister Chuck, is either the dismissal of the charges against the offenders or their reprimand and release. “Invariably, the parties come to a mutual understanding, and that is why we refer to RJ as ‘justice that heals’,” he said.
The Minister was delivering a virtual address at the just-concluded regional symposium on crime and violence held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Restorative Justice (RJ) seeks to resolve conflict by having all parties involved come together to reach an agreement. It focuses on holding the offender accountable in a more meaningful way. It repairs the harm caused by the offence, assists in reintegrating the offender into the community and helps to achieve a sense of healing for both the victim and the community.
In Jamaica, the Government is increasing employing the use of RJ processes to resolve disputes, particularly at the community level, to rebuild relationships and avoid further acts of violence from reprisals.
This is through the setting up of RJ centres in parishes and training facilitators to conduct restorative conferences and healing circles, which are integrated into the justice system. These processes can result in a reduction in the number of cases presented to the court and at the same time, provide for more satisfactory outcomes for all parties.
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“To how mi happy, mi jump so high!” says owner of new house
When single mother of five, Stacy-Ann Stevens, got the call that she would be the recipient of a home under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP), she jumped for joy.
“To how mi happy, mi jump so high!,” the Manchester native related at a recent ceremony to hand over the completed dwelling.
“I have longed for my own home …. I’ve been waiting, waiting,” she said. Ms. Stevens was one of five persons from the parish to receive the keys to new units.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Manchester Central, Rhoda Moy Crawford, who was present at the ceremony, said she shared in Ms. Stevens’ joy.
“This is one of my proudest and happiest moments… this is the first time that the Government of Jamaica … is handing over concrete structures to needy persons. Of the five recipients … I’ve never seen any as involved as Stacy… she moved all the material by herself… Stacy, we’re all happy for you,” the MP said.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, has noted that housing is part of the ‘Jamaican dream.’ He said that the new housing programme is a testament to the Government’s commitment to ensuring that Jamaicans can realise their goal of home ownership.
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Jamaica is developing policies to protect its tourism industry
The Jamaican brand's integrity and standard will be upheld thanks to the Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy (DAFS) that the Ministry of Tourism is currently developing.
This is according to Portfolio Minister Edmund Bartlett, who stated it during a DAFS consultation on Thursday, April 20, at Ocho Rios Baptist Church in St. Ann.
According to Mr. Bartlett, a strategy with the primary goal of assisting in reducing incidents of tourist harassment and upholding public order in resort areas is essential to the viability of Jamaica's tourism business.
The Ministry and its stakeholders have a responsibility to protect and maintain the sector's sustainability and resilience "and keep it as a driver of economic and personal development," said the minister said, noting that the island is still competitive on the global stage.
“Tourism is a confluence of many moving parts and many economic and social activities that must come together seamlessly to create an experience that we market; and it provides for us a return in dollars,” Mr. Bartlett said.
The Minister indicated that the DAFS, which is to be presented to Parliament for White Paper approval, will guide the operations of sector stakeholders in ensuring continuous improvement in the delivery of quality tourism services.
Mr. Bartlett noted that approval of the White Paper will make Jamaica the first country globally to have a Destination Assurance Policy.
The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) has been tasked as the oversight agency for the framework’s implementation.
Innovating against injustice in health care
By Yvonne Greenstreet
CAMBRIDGE – Medical innovation has progressed exponentially over the past half-century. And yet, the persistence of health inequality limits the potential benefits of scientific and technological advances that could save or improve lives.
The debate over the allocation of vaccines and therapeutics during the COVID-19 pandemic is a vivid example of this inequality. In September 2022, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed yet again that ending the pandemic requires equitable access to vaccines; at the time, only 19% of the population in low-income countries were inoculated, compared to 75% in high-income countries.