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News for Week of February 20, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.
Small business to get added financing support
The Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) is to get $9.5 billion in loans for the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) sector during the new financial year.
This is in addition to $6 billion in credit guarantees, US$24 million in equity financing, and capacity-building support to 440 entities.
The support from the DBJ is aimed at addressing the gaps in the MSME ecosystem, which hamper growth in the industry, by improving the entities’ access to business development and financing.
The entity will continue to provide support/financing under the $5 billion Social and Economic Recovery and Vaccine (SERVE Jamaica) programme to various sectors through the Digital Technical Assistance and the SME Private Equity facilities.
Use Wi-Fi hotspots to uplift, MP tells residents
As the Government continues to roll out free secured Wi-Fi hotspots in communities across the island, citizens are being urged to make use of the service to transform their lives.
Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural, Juliet Holness, made the call while addressing the launch of the Woodford Wi-Fi hotspot in her constituency.
The hotspot programme, being undertaken by the Universal Service Fund (USF), aims to bridge the digital gap, particularly for individuals in deep rural areas who are unable to obtain Internet service.
Mrs. Holness noted that persons can use the service to access educational resources. “The Internet can literally transform us as human beings, because the world of knowledge is now accessible to us,” she pointed out.
Mrs. Holness also urged residents as they use the Internet to conduct business, and to ensure that their personal details, including banking information, are “under password lock and key”.
Jamaicans celebrated for work in Georgia, homeland
Jamaican pioneers in Georgia in the United States are being hailed for their role in the advancement of Jamaica as well as their communities overseas.
“We salute you and thank you for your contributions to the enrichment of our society and for assisting in the shaping of the future for which we yearn,” said Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Leslie Campbell.
He noted that Black History Month provides an opportunity to celebrate and to tell the stories of courage, resilience, and triumph by these trailblazers, noting that their legacies live on through their descendants, many of whom still reside in Georgia.
In the span of more than four decades, said Senator Campbell, the Jamaican Diaspora in Atlanta has established a range of community-based organizations, alumni groups and charitable bodies that have built deep ties in the area while simultaneously contributing to Jamaica’s national development.
He said that Jamaican professionals in Georgia are well represented in healthcare, the legal profession, the education system, and corporate leadership, and commended the many entrepreneurs, including members of the Jamaican Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta.
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Ease of doing business set to improve this year
About $290 million has been earmarked to continue implementation of the Jamaica Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth Project. The sum is programmed in the 2022/23 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
The project aims to strengthen Jamaica’s business environment for private-sector investment by enhancing competition; facilitating strategic private investments; strengthening the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises; and financing policy and project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
For the new financial year which starts on April 1, work will be undertaken to complete implementation of an Enterprise Content Management System at the Fair Trading Commission and Consumer Affairs Commission, and digitization of the National Land Agency’s land-titling records.
The project was initially scheduled to run from September 2014 to June 2020 but has since been extended and is now slated to end in March 2024.
Let’s check those eyes to detect problems early
More than 200 residents from several communities in St. Catherine, primarily schoolchildren, benefited from free eye screenings to check for vision problems, at a clinic staged by the Kiwanis Club of North Spanish Town.
The eye checks were carried out at the Angel’s Grove Community Centre by trained personnel from Comprehensive Eyewear and the Lion’s Club of Portmore.
President of the Kiwanis Club, Simone Allen Archer, who is a school guidance counsellor, sad that the screening clinic was in response to complaints from students and teachers about eye problems while reading or using technology devices.
“Because of the online modality, as a teacher myself I have heard the students and the teachers complaining about their eyes, so we thought it would be a very good project to assist them,” she said.
Ms. Allen Archer is encouraging parents to ensure that children take regular breaks from their devices and engage in physical activities.
Power company targets St Elizabeth projects
The Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) is to roll out a major maintenance programme across the parish of St. Elizabeth.
Parish Manager David Lewis said the initiative will include vegetation management, equipment changes, pole change and pole rehabilitation.
“We have actually done our assessment already and we are in the execution phase now to roll out this [initiative],” Mr. Lewis said. He added that the programme forms part of JPS’s continued efforts to improve service delivery to the people of St. Elizabeth.
Westmoreland residents urged to take care of health
Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland Dr. Marcia Graham is encouraging residents to get all the necessary age-appropriate cancer screenings to ensure early detection of the disease.
These, she said, include a pap smear, breast exam, digital rectal exam or testing of the faeces.
“We are seeing younger and younger persons who are [presenting] with cancers, and we are also seeing that persons with cancer don’t do as well when they get the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is one of the comorbidities that can decrease your chances of survival if you are to get infected with COVID-19,” Dr. Graham pointed out.
She said too that the health department continues to see cases of gastroenteritis and hand foot and mouth disease in the parish, and implored parents to pay keen attention to their children for signs of these illnesses.