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News for Week of August 29, 2021
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

A plea to Jamaicans abroad: Your country wants you

More Jamaicans in the diaspora must come on board to help rebuild the country following the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry.

“Let us, Jamaica and the diaspora, especially now when COVID-19 has altered our way of living, build back stronger together for a sustainable future where every Jamaican, at home or abroad, can be proud to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” he said.

“Being a brand ambassador of one of the world’s best known global brands is no easy task and we must continue to hold each other’s hand to partner, advocate and drive the economic, political and social changes that we want,” the Director General added.

According to him, ministries, departments and agencies of the Government will work with them to guarantee and assure an enabling environment that has active inclusion and participation in national development.

Dr. Henry added, “For the Government of Jamaica to help you, our brand ambassadors, you have to play your part. Therefore, we encourage you to communicate and provide timely feedback and insights on our national development plans and initiatives, actively participate in home associations, and support and provide accurate and timely data during our diaspora exercises.”


Triplets ace primary exams, get support for back to school

Twelve-year-old triplets, Dennis, Denrique, and Tomoya Barrett have been rewarded with Alcatel tablet computers and a $50,000 education grant to assist with back-to-school supplies, for performing outstandingly during the 2021 Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams.

The two brothers and their sister aced the exams at their former school, Mountainside Primary in St. Elizabeth. Dennis, who was the school’s top-performing candidate, and Denrique were placed at Munro College, while Tomoya will attend Hampton High School.

State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Zavia Mayne commended the youngsters on their performance, and committed further support through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

The children’s mother, Tamara Barrett, said she was elated and grateful for the assistance.


Jamaica targets more ‘social houses’ for the poor

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said his Government has secured an additional $400 million for the social housing programme. He said that with the additional funds, more than 500 units are expected during the current financial year.

“The programme is being expanded, we are finding ways to get it [done] cheaper, and very soon we will be able to scale it up,” he said, noting that the Government is finding ways to put more resources into the construction of the houses.

He said that a clear criterion to benefit from the programme, is that persons must demonstrate that they can’t afford a mortgage. He said they will pay back in how they care for the units, and also, they must be outstanding citizens in their communities and ambassadors of peace.

An initial $500 million was budgeted for the programme, and the Prime Minister reported that approvals have been done for 259 units from a list of 327 submissions; 49 have been completed.

The two- and three-bedroom houses are built under the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE), which was initiated by the Prime Minister, and launched in 2018.

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Feed the city
Feed the city

Samantha Charles (left), chief executive officer, VM Foundation, hands over a cheque for $100,000 to Sharron Thompson, campus pastor, Portmore Celebration Church, to support the Feed the City Jamaica Initiative.

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Sagicor Support
Sagicor Support

Fabian Gordon (left), financial adviser with the Sagicor Life, Spanish Town branch, presents a symbolic cheque of $150,000 to Erica McKenzie (right), CEO, Creative Brands & Concepts Limited, to support the organisation’s Live2Lead Youth Scholarship Award programme. Also in photo are this year’s top two scholarship awardees and University of the Technology students Mickalia Huie (second left) and Anishca Ricketts.

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A representative from the Annotto Bay Fire Station shows off her freshly picked JP St Mary’s pineapple alongside JP St Mary’s Assistant Depot Manager Simone Saunderson during a handover of care packages with the vitamin C-rich fruit to the Fire Brigade. The donation by JP St Mary’s is part of an overall initiative to encourage essential workers to eat healthy foods to boost their immune systems.

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Feed the city
Feed the city

Samantha Charles (left), chief executive officer, VM Foundation, hands over a cheque for $100,000 to Sharron Thompson, campus pastor, Portmore Celebration Church, to support the Feed the City Jamaica Initiative.

press to zoom

Cruise ship passengers are coming again!

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor Gordon Shirley, says he is confident Jamaica will once again be a preferred cruise destination once the COVID-19 numbers are curtailed.

In fact, Professor Shirley said that with all things being equal, the major Jamaican ports could start seeing ships by November 2021. “So, the next stop (Falmouth and Montego Bay)… we are talking to others (cruise lines)… I call it one baby step at a time. This is the process,” he said.

“I don’t want [information] second-hand. Hopefully things will improve… by November… if we get the COVID numbers down… we think Jamaica stands a good chance of regaining its position”.

Professor Shirley, however, added that while the PAJ has been working overtime to get the cruise ships back to Jamaica, the agency has also been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure that all persons follow health and safety guidelines.

WiPay comes forward with COVID-19 relief

Digital payment solutions facilitator, WiPay, will be providing COVID-19 relief grant support, totalling $4 million, to persons islandwide requiring assistance.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Aldwyn Wayne, said the provision, which will be disbursed through Food For the Poor Jamaica, forms part of a larger undertaking involving other stakeholder interests.

Mr. Wayne advised that the total value of the overall provision will be determined after those partners’ contributions are received.

Under the grant initiative, recipients from the Food For the Poor’s database will be given a QR code to be scanned at any approved collection outlet islandwide. Mr. Wayne noted that these locations include gas stations, supermarkets, and pharmacies.



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