SHARING THE LOVE: NCB Foundation Grant a wish

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 December 26, 2021
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Past students give tablets to Titchfield High School

The Titchfield Past Students Sports Association has donated 22 laptops and 17 tablets to the Portland-based institution.

This follows the donation of 60 tablets last year and is a continuation of assistance to the institution since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

President of the association Steven Aiken, who is based in the United States (US), said the organisation was formed to provide support to the school in sports, but with COVID “we saw where we had to provide (students) with electronic devices to facilitate their studies.”

“We did an assessment in conjunction with the school and realised that some much-needed help was needed. Ultimately, we decided that we would do fundraisers,” he said, noting that the association continues to source more tablets and laptops for the students.

“We will not stop until we get to our goal of ensuring that all needy students have one of these [devices] at their disposal,” he pledged.

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Facelift at Buff Bay Police Station in Portland

Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang has officially opened the new Buff Bay Police Station in Portland, which was constructed at a cost of $126 million.

The facility was built under the Ministry’s ‘Project Rebuild, Overhaul, and Construct,’ which aims to rebuild, renovate, and retrofit police stations across Jamaica.

The new facility features a ramp for the disabled, a server room, interview rooms, barrack rooms and other modern amenities.

Dr. Chang said the Government is investing in improving police stations, and over the next three years “we will spend in the region of $14 billion on police facilities”.

“We are committed to effectively transforming police stations and we have effectively dealt will 101 of those stations,” he said. Dr. Chang said that work on 16 facilities will be completed by the end of the financial year in March 2022.

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Vaccine remains best response, says health minister

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton said vaccination remains an important response in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illnesses, hospitalisations and death [that could result from] the Omicron variant. So vaccines still remain an important response,” said the minister.

The Minister was speaking during a recent COVID Conversations virtual press briefing, where he revealed that a traveller who visited Jamaica tested positive for the new variant, after returning to the United Kingdom.

Against this background, Dr. Tufton expressed concern about Jamaica’s vaccination numbers, which have remained relatively low.

“We have given 1.194 million vaccine doses; 557,000 persons are fully vaccinated, which represents 20.4 per cent of the population, and just under 26 per cent of persons have had at least one dose,” he disclosed.

The Minister also informed that 2,631 booster shots and 612 extended primary series (third dose) have been administered.

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Building Fund
Building Fund

Guardian Group Foundation donated of $1.2 million to the Thomas Manning Building Restoration Fund. Eric Hosin (left), president, Guardian Life Limited, and Claudette Ashman (2nd left), and past student of The Manning’s School, make the presentation to Dr Archibald Campbell (centre), chairman of fundraising. Also in photo are past students Jamie Samuels and Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan.

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Stewart's Treat
Stewart's Treat

Christina Gardner (right), acting director at the Office of the Prime Minister, receives a symbolic cheque of $300,000 from Stewart’s Automotive Group for towards the annual Prime Minister Children’s Treat. Making the presentation are (from left) James Stewart Lechler, business development manager at Stewart’s; Timothy Stewart, brand sales manager, Suzuki Jamaica; and Duncan Stewart, managing director, Stewart’s.

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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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Building Fund
Building Fund

Guardian Group Foundation donated of $1.2 million to the Thomas Manning Building Restoration Fund. Eric Hosin (left), president, Guardian Life Limited, and Claudette Ashman (2nd left), and past student of The Manning’s School, make the presentation to Dr Archibald Campbell (centre), chairman of fundraising. Also in photo are past students Jamie Samuels and Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan.

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More COVID-19 cash support for poor in Jamaica

About 27,357 Jamaicans will receive a one-off $16,000 payment under the COVID-19 Cash Assistance Programme.

The $155 million cash transfer initiative is aimed at aiding poor and needy persons, who are not benefiting from Government social assistance.

The United Nations World Food Programme, through the Canadian Government, provided a grant to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to undertake the initiative. The ministry will oversee the equitable distribution of the funds.

The cash distribution is being facilitated by WiPay (Jamaica) Limited, through its network of outlets across the island.

Portfolio Minister Karl Samuda said the use of WiPay will increase efficacy in the distribution of the funds and facilitate greater levels of accountability. “We saw the need to make most of our activities digital so that persons can choose when to go to collect what they need… It allows for greater flexibility, greater accountability because the system is one that makes provision for automatic audit, which is very important to us,” said the minister.

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STEAM is focus of education sector, says minister

Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams said increasing tertiary enrolment in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programmes of study is a national imperative.

“This position recognises the urgent need to increase the level of innovation and critical thinking required for future careers and economic advancement in Jamaica,” she said.

Minister Williams noted that while there is great importance in investing in liberal arts education, there must also be “educated and trainable people who can adapt to the changing environment and its requirements.”

According to her, “many institutions lack computer literate teachers and information and communication technology experts, who would support and manage the internet connectivity and or application of computing in the teaching-learning process.”

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Daryl Vaz on track to connect multiple communities

The Universal Service Fund (USF) in on track to establish 189 additional community wi-fi hotpots island-wide by the end of March 2022, to facilitate increased public Internet access.

These will be in addition to 13 high-trafficked locations where the service has been established, among the latest being Hope Bay in Portland, which was launched on December 16.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz said that three hotspots will be established in each of the 63 constituencies across Jamaica. Vaz was speaking during a ceremony for the handover of a cheque for $20 million to the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica to procure state-of-the-art equipment to establish a dedicated 24-hour educational television channel.

This will target the digital transmission of content, largely tailored for early childhood, primary, and secondary students.

Mr. Vaz said the Ministry is using information and communication technology  to digitise government service delivery, make Internet connectivity more accessible “and advance Jamaica’s ambition to become a technologically-enabled society”.

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