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SHARING THE LOVE: Great Shape Inc

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 20, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

National rollout of ID system set for early 2023

The Government expects to rollout of the new National Identification System (NIDS) in the second quarter of 2023, following the completion of a pilot programme in December. This is according to Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister Floyd Green.

NIDS, an electronic form of identity, will provide a comprehensive and secure database for capturing and storing the personal information of citizens and non-nationals ordinarily resident in the country. Members of the Jamaican diaspora will also be able to register for the new identification card.

“There is no doubt that the NIDS will be the safest identification system that we have in the country, and not just Jamaica but internationally,” the Minister said.

The system is protected by block-chain technology and conforms to standards stipulated by the Data Protection Act, 2020, and the National Identification and Registration Act, 2021.

Twenty-four post offices across Jamaica will be retrofitted to serve as enrolment centres. The facilities will be outfitted with high-speed Internet and technological devices to accommodate enrolment.

Mr. Green emphasized that NIDS is a necessary component in the country’s digital transformation process.

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App to help locate ‘disengaged students’

The ‘Family Connect App’, which is being developed by the Ministry of Education and Youth to locate students who have disengaged from the school system, is expected to be in operation by the end of November.

The app will support data collection and reporting processes to inform evidence-based interventions from the Ministry.

“The app… is going to make a big difference in our efforts,” said Acting Director for the Ministry’s Safety and Security in Schools Unit, Richard Troupe. He said that it will be available to all 1,010 public schools and will be used by designated officers, such as Principals, Deans of Discipline and Guidance Counsellors, to input information about unaccounted students.

Attendance records generated by classroom and form teachers will also be used to support the tracking of students. “Some persons at the regional level would also have access to the data. Within the central Ministry, a selected group of people will also have access to the national data, so that it will inform a national analysis and a national response to what the findings reveal,” Mr. Troupe said.

He indicated that funds remaining from the ‘Yard to Yard, Find the Child’ initiative will be redirected to schools that the Family Connect App indicates have greater challenges in locating and re-engaging students.

According to him, $34 million remains from the funding provided under the initiative, to help schools hire social and youth workers to locate students who were disengaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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St Ann roads to get attention…soon

The Government will be undertaking repairs to several roadways in St. Ann. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with responsibility for works,  Everald Warmington, along with a team from the Ministry, toured sections of the parish, for a first-hand look at some of the roads scheduled for repairs.

These include the Cascade main road, to be refurbished at a cost of $53 million, and the Mount Moriah to Battersea roadway, which is to cost $167 million and be completed in two phases.

The Minister said immediate work will be done on the Brown’s Town to Alexandria main road, which has deteriorated despite being resurfaced some four years ago.

Mr. Warmington informed that the National Works Agency (NWA) will be conducting an assessment to determine the scope of work for that section of the roadway and provide an estimate of the cost.

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If you seek medical help for criminals, you can be charged

Provisions under the modernized anti-gang legislation now allows for the prosecution of groups engaged in criminal activities, said Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Jeremy Taylor.

“What has changed with the new legislation is that we no longer have to look at individuals, because up to 2014 we really could only prosecute the individual, irrespective of what other persons may have done either in the background or foreground. You could only move against the individual in that respect. Now, this new Act allows us to move against groups and you have seen that we have brought certain groups to trial,” he emphasized.

Taylor explained that the law, passed in 2014 and amended in 2021, spreads a broad net to facilitate the capture of all persons complicit in criminal activities.

“Even if you are not the trigger person, you are the person who drives them to do the crime, you are charged as a facilitator of the criminal offence, just as how if you are the person who shoots the person, you are also charged as the facilitator of the criminal offence,” he explained.

The law goes further to clarify that individuals participating in activities that render any benefit to a gang also contravene the law.

“It speaks about providing a benefit to a criminal organization,” explained Taylor. “These are the gun bags; if you carry the guns for the criminal organization to hide or to ‘lock’, you have provided a benefit. If you carry the stolen goods, you carry them to a pawn shop and you sell them, you have provided a benefit. If you get a doctor for a person, knowing he is a member of a gang and has committed a gang-related activity, you have provided a benefit… . The law has tried to cover all the major areas.”

Canada aids Caribbean state institutions

Jamaica is among the CARICOM member countries benefiting from a Canadian-funded programme, now under way, which aims to strengthen regional economies.

The Canada-CARICOM Expert Deployment Mechanism (CCEDM) is intended to address the priority needs of beneficiary states, as identified by national governments.

This, by supporting efforts to bolster and diversify local economies, build strong, climate-resilient communities, and reduce gender and economic inequalities.

The CCEDM is being implemented in nine of the CARICOM member countries, including Jamaica, by the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO).

The entity, which has just completed the programme’s first year of implementation, falls under Global Affairs Canada, a department of the Government of Canada.

The Regional Representative for Jamaica and Belize, Natalie Morris, said that the entity has, so far, received applications from eight Jamaica government entities. To date, the Office of the Prime Minister; Ministry of Tourism; Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; Bureau of Standards Jamaica; Urban Development Corporation, and Airports Authority of Jamaica, have benefited from technical assistance provided under the programme.

“We do have the capacity… to support at least 60 assignments within the four years; so far, we have received about 18,” Ms. Morris said.

Applications are now being processed to provide technical assistance to the Auditor General’s Department, Cabinet Office, and the Ministry of Education and Youth.

The World Cup’s Education Goal

By Gordon Brown and Yasmine Sherif

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EDINBURGH – All who are traveling to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and harbor concerns about human rights should come together to protest one especially urgent and heinous recent abuse: the Taliban regime’s prohibition barring Afghan girls from attending school.

Anger about the ban is strongly felt in Qatar, other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, and other Middle Eastern and predominantly Muslim countries that wield influence over the Taliban.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

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