SHARING THE LOVE: Businessman donated drawing tablets to students

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

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News for Week of November 21, 2021
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Health sector going high tech at $1.3 billion

Jamaica is to spend an estimated $1.3 billion on the digital transformation of the health sector. This work is to be under the Health Systems Strengthening Programme of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and a contract was signed recently with Cable and Wireless Jamaica Ltd.

Portfolio Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton told Parliament about the initiative: “The investment affords us a network of more than 2,000 computers and 400-plus medical-grade tablets that provide universal access to medical records and with high-speed connectivity between the data centre and our 105 health facilities, which would include hospitals and health centres islandwide.

“The system also gives us cost savings of more than US$1.5 million on equipment and network connectivity over a three-year period. This development is as timely as it is important, as we look to reduce the transaction costs associated with delivering healthcare in Jamaica and in the shadow of a pandemic that has reinforced the need for a robust and agile health system that is responsive to the changing needs of the population.”

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600 unattached youngsters get IT training

More than 600 young persons have successfully completed training under the Government’s Technology Advancement Programme (TAP) for the 2019/2020 period.

They are the second cohort to be trained under the initiative, which is aimed at equipping unattached youth across the island with skills in information and communications technology (IT) to improve their job prospects. The programme started in 2017.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams congratulated the group for completing the year-long training programme. She encouraged them to “see the training… as but one small step in your journey of continuing education”.

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More help coming for small businesses

The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) now has an agreement with five business service intermediaries (BSIs) to build the capacity of twenty micro and small businesses (MSEs) over the next 12 months.

The intermediaries are the Caribbean Innovation Climate Centre (CCIC), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), Sisters’ Ink Jamaica, and Technology Innovation Centre at UTECH.

Milverton Reynolds, the managing director of the IDB, noted that the special programme started in 2015 to undertake capacity development initiatives targeted at micro and small businesses.

“Under the initiative,” he said, “the bank has supported Jamaican entrepreneurs with innovation business ideas to access grant funds to develop prototype or facilitate commercialization. To date 50 MSEs have benefited under the programme.”

Mr. Reynolds stated that this is the third cohort and “we are delighted at the partnership we have forged with these amazing BSIs, and we want to urge all MSEs to align themselves with one of these companies that will assist them in growing their businesses.”

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Burger King Support
Burger King Support

Burger King is supporting artistes with a donation to the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artiste and Affiliates (JAVAA). Here, Sabrena McDonald Radcliffe (2nd right), head of Sales, Marketing & Corporate Communications, presents $250,000 to JAVAA representatives (from left): Donette Fielding, Frankie Campbell, and Orville ‘Biggs’ Case.

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Chain of Hope
Chain of Hope

Kimberly Tenant (centre) says ‘thank you’ to Consultant Cardiologist, South Hampton and Lead of the Chain of Hope and Gift for Life Medical Mission, Dr Alan MGee (right), at the Paediatric Cardiac Unit at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Her grandmother, Judith Osbourne Malcolm, shares in the moment.

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Pineapples
Pineapples

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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Burger King Support
Burger King Support

Burger King is supporting artistes with a donation to the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artiste and Affiliates (JAVAA). Here, Sabrena McDonald Radcliffe (2nd right), head of Sales, Marketing & Corporate Communications, presents $250,000 to JAVAA representatives (from left): Donette Fielding, Frankie Campbell, and Orville ‘Biggs’ Case.

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USAID support for 1,000 poor residents

Over 1,000 residents of vulnerable communities have benefited from the United States Government’s provision of US$12 million towards Jamaica’s national coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Acting United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Representative in Jamaica, Alex Gainer, said that allocations were earmarked for non-health COVID-19 assistance to the residents. He said these include vouchers to acquire basic items such as food and personal-care products.

“We have also provided vulnerable youth from these communities with about 2,000 tablets and laptops so that they could continue [their education digitally in the absence of face-to-face [learning],” said Mr. Gainer.

Mr. Gainer said the funds, which are in addition to vaccines being provided, have also been channelled to other key areas. These include assisting with establishment and equipping of the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre; providing protective equipment for approximately 1,000 healthcare workers; and delivering critical supplies, including 25 intensive care unit beds, among other provisions.

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Come, do business with us, says Prime Minister

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said that amendment of legislation for casino gaming will provide new opportunities for investors in the tourism sector as part of the Government’s strategic economic recovery agenda from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We put in new legislation to provide for gaming and casinos, and that has created a whole new opportunity for existing investors in our tourism sector,” said the prime minister. He argued that this will result in the introduction of gaming and casinos, and large-scale resort developments will become part of the tourism product; “and a great opportunity for existing investors and, indeed, new investors who want to come.”

Mr. Holness said efforts to put the necessary structures in place to support investors and create a more enabling environment have been yielding positive results. He added, “We have taken on the effectiveness of our public administration [by engaging in] deep institutional reforms and those have also been paying dividends, particularly as they relate to the ease of government-to-business transactions, and with reforming our business processes and ensuring that our approvals and permitting processes are easier to navigate.  So, we have been making progress on the ease of doing business indices.”

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Praise for work to restart operation at Jamalco

Work to implement the first phase of the project to restart Jamalco’s operation is moving steadily and Jamalco’s partners, Clarendon Alumina Production (CAP) and Noble Group, are pleased with the progress.

Chairman of CAP Norman Reid said tremendous strides have been made and he credits the fast pace at which the work is progressing to the knowledge and diligence of the employees.

“I was delighted with the work done when I did the last walk through. We are also encouraged by the support that Jamalco is receiving from its business partners including Jamaica Fire Brigade, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the communities,” he pointed out.

Mr. Reid added that it is evident that all stakeholders are anxious to see the plant restart as quickly as possible.

The CAP Chairman noted that he is optimistic that the refurbished plant will reflect the sweat and tears of everyone involved in the restorative process. “I think we are going to be more efficient, and our Directors will certainly have a much better understanding of the business.”

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