SHARING THE LOVE: Sagicor Community Heroes

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 October 16, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Jamaica modernizing its postal service signaling ‘new era’

The Central Sorting Office (CSO) on South Camp Road has officially reopened for business, following months of extensive renovation works on the facility.

A major part of the transformation involved the introduction of technological solutions to automate processes. The facility also received 16 desktop computers to improve efficiency and service delivery.

The project also included tiling, replacement of the counters and painting. The renovated facility will now serve as the blueprint for the new face of Jamaica Post.

Postmaster General Lincoln Allen said that the upgrade signals a major milestone, as the Post and Telecommunications Department (Jamaica Post) continues its efforts to modernize the country’s postal service.

Mr. Allen said the project underscores the Department’s commitment to improve the overall aesthetics and functionality of the location, while creating a more modern and comfortable environment for all stakeholders.

“This signals the beginning of a new era, one that we celebrate under the theme ‘the Rebranding of Jamaica Post’,” he emphasized. “The Department fully appreciates that the postal service, whether locally or globally, is in a constant state of flux. It is very dynamic, and in order to survive another 350 years or more there has to be a paradigm shift in our operations.”

In addition to traditional services, customers can access the new Premium Service Centre at the CSO Post Office. The Centre will provide a “centralized and corporate experience for customers”.

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Housing agency adjusts units to benefit disabled community

Constable Owen Graham of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is the proud recipient of a new two-bedroom home in the Roseneath Park development in Old Harbour, St. Catherine. He is one of 30 persons who were presented with keys to units in phase one of the project.

Constable Graham, who is confined to a wheelchair following an injury sustained while on duty in 2019, is one of the first recipients under the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) Special Home Grant Allotment Policy.

The unit is retrofitted in accordance with the specifications provided by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities to improve access, functionality, and comfort.

A sum of $2.55 million was spent to modify the home, including installing grab bars in the bathroom, access ramps, customized shower and kitchen cupboards, a change from drywall to reinforced concrete to facilitate installation of related accessories, as well as construction of concrete slab around the perimeter of the unit.

The NHT has made provision for scheme units, allocated to beneficiaries with disabilities, to be fitted with the requisite amenities to enable maximum functionality. This will be at no additional cost to the beneficiary and will be in place prior to their occupancy.

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MP wants more younger persons in agri sector

Member of Parliament (MP) for St. James Southern Homer Davis is recommending that additional steps be taken to incentivize agriculture to attract younger persons.

“The cohort of farmers in my constituency is at an average age of 60 years old and it is time to refresh, reset and re-energize the sector by making agriculture more attractive [and] economically viable to our young people,” he said.

Mr. Davis, who is also Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (Western Region), suggested that more should be done to provide lands, through lease, to engage more young persons in the field.

“There are thousands of hectares of arable lands; they are all idle and I would say to the Ministry of Agriculture, if we are seriously looking at food security for Jamaica, we should identify some of these lands, and not just identify these lands but to engage a younger generation of farmers,” Mr. Davis argued.

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Four get scholarships for tertiary studies

Four students from the parishes of St. Ann and Manchester are this year’s recipients of the Rio Tinto/Alcan Legacy Fund Agriculture Scholarship. The students, who are pursuing studies at the Portland-based College of Agriculture Science and Education (CASE), are Tomai McLean; Celine Sitladeen; Daunja Galloway and Vanessa McMurrine.

The awards, totalling more than $2.7 million, cover the cost of tuition, boarding, meals, among other education-related expenses.

Minister of Transport and Mining Audley Shaw congratulated the scholarship recipients; and charged them, as they proceed in their studies and eventual careers, to “forge strategic partnerships with larger ecosystem players to find innovative ways to contribute to the advancement of agriculture, particularly through the rehabilitation of mined-out bauxite lands.”

Minister Shaw said that the scholarship programme underscores the commitment of the Ministry and the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI) to enhancing bauxite communities through the productive use of mined-out bauxite lands.

North Coast Highway Project makes more progress

Jamaica has entered into a Financial Advisory Services Agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop the North Coast Highway Project. The US$800-million agreement was signed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Nigel Clarke, and IFC Managing Director, Makhtar Diop.

Dr. Clarke reminded that “last year we signalled that the Government would leverage the improvement in Jamaica’s macro-economy to utilize an improved modality for highway infrastructure procurement that is open, competitive, and transparent. With enhanced fiscal credibility and entrenched stability, Jamaica is now in a position to put together a complex transaction of this nature with the realistic prospect of attracting large international firms to compete.”

The Minister added that the Government is pleased to enter into the agreement with the IFC, whereby they will advise on the structuring and execution of the transaction.

The agree details that IFC will provide a full-service advisory that assists the Government in all steps of project structuring and implementation to successful closure of the expansion, improvement, and maintenance of the Mammee Bay to Salem (12.3km), Seacastles to Greenwood (6.8km) and Greenwood to Discovery Bay (40.7km) road segments.

These services include detailed technical, legal, financial environmental and social studies, designing the bidding process, and implementing a competitive tender that results in a bankable project for investors that meets clear public-sector goals.

The State is taking back energy

By Nick Butler

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LONDON – Although uncertainty prevails in today’s global energy market, one thing has become clear: Governments are reasserting their central role. The motive is pragmatic rather than ideological, and the details vary from one country to another, but the trend is unmistakable.

Governments of all political hues are taking back control of a market that had largely been left to private firms with only limited regulation. In many Western economies, this arguably represents the largest shift in the balance of public and private economic power since World War II.

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