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News for Week of June 20, 2021
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Jamaicans abroad to sit on state boards

Jamaica is taking steps to strengthen its bond with nationals in diaspora communities. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said a new policy is being developed to guide the appointment of persons to public boards to include measures to better accommodate those abroad.

“When this policy change occurs, which will happen very shortly when we change the Regulations, the scheme will see [an] open invitation for Jamaicans to apply to serve on public boards, and that will be open to, of course, persons in the diaspora,” said the prime minister.

The changes are to make the process of appointing persons to the boards of public entities more open and transparent. The Prime Minister noted that the policy of the Government “is to utilise the talent pool that exists, and so on several public boards there are members of the diaspora”.  He noted, however, that this has been without having a specific procedure in place to address such appointments.

Mr Holness said there may be some requirement for diaspora members to travel to Jamaica for a certain number of meetings “but as we have seen with virtual meetings and the reliability of the virtual technology, that, too, may change”.

“So I would say in the coming months, you should look out for that change in our policy for the appointment of members to boards, which will see to allowing persons to apply to put their résumé in a pool and become eligible for selection on public boards,” he said.

Carib Cement committed to corporate social responsibility.

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Correctional facilities get attention

Jamaica is moving to improve correctional facilities on the island. It said new perimeter fencing, digital courtrooms and increased water storage are just a few of the most recent investments under Project Rebuild, Overhaul and Construct (P-ROC).

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda toured some of the facilities falling under the Department of Correctional Services and stated, “we have added 44,000 gallons of water storage as well as our own water truck to the (department’s) fleet, to ensure we are able to manage water supply for sanitation”.

Said the minister, “we’ve also installed a number of wash stations in the facilities but without water supply these wash stations cannot work.”

At the Horizon Adult Remand Centre, where infrastructural work is being undertaken at a cost of about $6 million, Minister Samuda pointed out that the general scope of work falls under maintenance. “The fencing is really some maintenance work. At the end of the day, we have a significant responsibility for rehabilitation. However, our major responsibility is security for those both inside and outside these facilities, which is why we need to ensure that they are appropriately enclosed.”


Robert Morgan says government stepping up action to protect children

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Robert Morgan says the Government is implementing a “zero tolerance” policy in treating with confirmed cases of child abuse and bringing perpetrators to justice.

“We are implementing a zero tolerance policy where, if somebody reports child abuse and we investigate and there are charges laid, then the police, the Government and the legal system are going to work hard to ensure that those who are abusing children are held to account,” he said.

He said that “our position at the Ministry of Education is to create an environment where young people can strive and shine. We are trying as best as possible to put in place the necessary reforms so that not only young people outside of the Government’s [ambit] can strive but also those in State care”.

The State Minister outlined pieces of legislation that are being reviewed to safeguard the welfare of children. These include the Child Care and Protection Act to facilitate improved protection mechanisms, and the Adoption Act, which seeks to make the adoption process easier and more transparent.

Also being looked at is the zero-to-three policy, which seeks to ensure that no child under the age of three is placed in a State care institution, but is, instead, adopted or placed with foster parents in a safe, nurturing environment.


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Alpha Institute
Alpha Institute

Massy Distribution and the Quaker Cook-off champion, Romario White (2nd left), and Felicia Stephens (centre), brand manager, Massy Distribution, hand over food and personal-care products to the Alpha Institute, to Principal Donaldson (right). Two students of Alpha Institute join in the occasion.

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Red Stripe
Red Stripe

Chelsea Thomas Benoit (centre), brand manager at Red Stripe, congratulates Melissa-Kim Dunkley (left), and host of the Marketing Meet Up, Joel Nomdarkham, after winning the Red Stripe Marketing Meet-Up Pitch Competition. He received a grant valued at $50,000.

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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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Alpha Institute
Alpha Institute

Massy Distribution and the Quaker Cook-off champion, Romario White (2nd left), and Felicia Stephens (centre), brand manager, Massy Distribution, hand over food and personal-care products to the Alpha Institute, to Principal Donaldson (right). Two students of Alpha Institute join in the occasion.

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Entities partner to tackle domestic violence

The Ministry of National Security is collaborating with the British High Commission and Women’s Inc. on a transitional living facility for female victims of domestic violence.

“This initiative is in keeping with the Ministry’s continued thrust to deliver and support crime prevention efforts that are more citizen-focused,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Courtney Williams.
He said the facility’s location will not be disclosed as it is a safe space that provides an opportunity for victims to regain their independence as well as peace of mind.

Deputy High Commissioner Daniel Shepherd spoke about his government’s support. He noted that, as part of the United Kingdom’s emergency response to the increase in social issues since the COVID-19 pandemic, it “approved a multi-sectoral package of support to the Caribbean worth Five Million Pounds; (and) £930,000 was allocated to Jamaica to mitigate the risks of increased intimate partner violence, violence against children and gang recruitment resulting from COVID-19 pressures.”

Taskforce to strengthen ganja sector established

Audley Shaw, the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, has established a Cannabis Industry Development Taskforce, chaired by his junior minister Norman Dunn. It has been set up to determine strategies critical to enhancing growth and development of the local cannabis industry and build on the gains made to date in the sector.

Minister Dunn has mandated the taskforce to “work together to shape the future developmental path for cannabis by providing strategic and technical guidance, to ultimately ensure that existing and potential investors in the industry can reap the rewards which exist across the medicinal cannabis value chain”.

The taskforce is a multi-sectoral stakeholder group including representatives of public sector, private sector and academia. It will operate for two years and focus on improvements to the legislative framework, business and institutional environment, product development, public education, capacity building, training, investment and export promotion as well as economic inclusion of traditional and small-scale farmers the protection of intellectual property rights.



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