SHARING THE LOVE: Schools get water tanks

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 July 24, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Jamaica chops import duty on electric vehicles

The import duty on electric vehicles has been reduced from 30 per cent to 10 per cent, and purchasers of those vehicles will not have to pay licence fees over the next five years.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, advised that the lower duty rates and the elimination of the licence fee requirement apply to electric vehicles that are three years old or less at the time of importation.

He said that the measures, which took effect on July 14, are supporting the country’s transition from a high dependence on petroleum for motor vehicles by making it more affordable for Jamaicans to acquire electric vehicles.

He said that that Government is serious about ensuring a clean energy future.

“The electric vehicle technologies are undergoing rapid change, and so the public interest is best served by ensuring that the latest technologies are preferred over older technologies. Having 10-year-old electric vehicles in the country doesn’t help anybody; we need the latest electric vehicles at any point in time,” Dr. Clarke said.

The Minister said that the implementation of the measures came out of discussions with the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other stakeholders, to see how best to encourage persons to purchase electric vehicles.

He said it was determined that the reduction in duty and removal of licence fees would be the best way to incentivise the transition.

Dr. Clarke noted that duties on motor vehicles are a major source of government revenue, with earnings of about $30 billion to $40 billion, and so “the way we treat with the reduction of duties for electric vehicles has to be considered very carefully, because we couldn’t afford to completely cannibalise all of that revenue. However, at the same time, we must make a start in the transition”.

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Give Jamaica 60 stamps, says culture minister

Two commemorative stamps have been officially launched in honour of the Jamaica’s 60th Independence anniversary.

The stamps resulted from a partnership between the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Post and Telecommunications Department. Portfolio Minister Miss Olivia Grange said it is fitting to produce these stamps at this time to mark an important milestone in Jamaica’s history.

“There is always a need for commemorate stamps. I want to encourage Jamaicans here and, in the diaspora, to purchase and use the stamps, and give them as gifts,” said Minister Grange.

“They have a wonderful design, and I must tell you … collect these stamps because they are going to be valuable, particularly at this time when everything is going digital,” she added.

The stamps are available at post office locations islandwide for $60.00 and $120.00. The former will be used locally, while the latter is intended for international circulation.

Meanwhile, Senior Director of Corporate Service of the Post and Telecommunications Department, Herbert Fletcher, said the entity is pleased to have been commissioned to procure and issue the Jamaica 60th Independence stamp set.

He noted that the artwork represents the creativity, boldness, and greatness of Jamaicans. The stamps highlight the Jamaica 60 anniversary logo, which is centred around the swallow-tail hummingbird.

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Chapelton hospital project almost ready

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says he is satisfied with the upgrading and expansion works being undertaken at the Chapelton Community Hospital in Clarendon North Central, which is nearing completion.

“It seems to be coming together. It is not quite finished, but it’s almost there,” he said.

Mr. Holness was on a tour of the facility led by Regional Director for the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Michael Bent and Member of Parliament (MP) for Clarendon North Central, and Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information, Robert Morgan.

It is anticipated that the renovation works at the hospital will be completed by October this year.

Mr. Holness noted that when completed, the facility is expected to provide world-class health service with improved access to services and reduced travel time for residents who seek heath care in the parish.

Phase one of the two-phased project was financed by a US$1 million donation by Jamaican businesswoman and philanthropist, Beverly Nichols, through her Push Start Foundation. Originally from Clarendon, Ms. Nichols now resides in the United States of America.

“I would like to highlight the tremendous philanthropic work done by Beverly Nichols … a truly wonderful Jamaican who has made a significant contribution, so there is a wing added to this facility in her honour,” said Mr. Holness said.

The initial phase included the building of a second ward, which increased bed capacity from 15 to 30; expansion of the waiting area; construction of a new operating theatre and laboratory; and improvement to the water storage facility, among other works.

Through the National Health Fund and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund, the Government is spending $112 million to complete the second phase of the project.

When completed, the Chapelton Hospital will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Gov’t to modernize Bellevue to improve service

A new 100-bed neuropsychiatric facility is to be established at the Bellevue Hospital, as part of structural re-organization of the institution to improve operations and improve service delivery.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton said the re-organization will see the hospital being split into two entities: the neuropsychiatric facility which would serve Kingston and St. Andrew, and an adult care facility which would model a residential nursing home facility for the over 400 long-stay residents/social cases that have been discharged.

“The idea is to treat people in the communities. Have a smaller institution for severe cases that require that kind of medical attention. The idea is not to keep admitting people. The idea is to get society to be part of the therapy and the recognition that the problem exists, which is why we need to mainstream the mental wellness agenda,” he explained.

Other improvements include expansion of services such as skills training, education, recreation, modernization of the dietary department, relocation of patients to community residential facilities and better linkage with the community mental health services to reduce the potential for admission of long-stay patients.

‘You don’t have to behave as holier than thou’

Justice Minister Delroy Chuck wants Justices of the Peace (JPs) to exercise humility in their duties. Addressing the commissioning ceremony for 40 new JPs in St. Thomas, said, “Far too many Justices of the Peace lack humility. There is no doubt that as JPs you have an important standing in your community, but I urge all of you to be humble; people look up to you, but you don’t have to behave as if you’re holier than thou.”

He urged the new JPs to perform their duties with civility and decency, and to be beacons of light in their communities.

The minister also reignited his call for an end to the malpractice of using the office of JP for financial gain, citing that, “it is not worth your integrity”.

Custos of St. Thomas, Marcia Bennett, congratulated the group and reminded that with the role, they are now “peacekeepers and community leaders”.

The 40 individuals who took the oath of office at the Yallahs Baptist Church in the parish, include former Member of Parliament for St. Thomas Eastern, Dr. Fenton Ferguson; Head of the Special Education Department at the Lyssons Primary School, Jacqueline Hendricks-White; two-time author, Kimberly Thompson and Branch Manager at the Morant Bay Post Office, Erica Morris-Turner.
 

Confronting the Growing Drought Risk

By Ibrahim Thiaw

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BONN – Drought may be an ancient scourge, but it is getting worse. No region or country today is immune to its effects. Southern Europe is in the grip of a severe drought – the worst in 70 years for Italy. In the western United States, the past two decades have been the driest in 1,200 years. Chile is in its 13th consecutive year of drought, and Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city, is now being forced to ration water.

In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are recording their fourth consecutive year without rains, and the situation has grown increasingly dire for people, livestock, and the ecosystems that support them. Owing to a lack of adequate nutrition, children are dying from diseases they would ordinarily survive. Even camels – which typically survive longer than people or other animal species – are dropping dead in large numbers across this region.

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