SHARING THE LOVE: Gordon Town Seventh Day Adventist Church

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 30, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Jamaicans abroad get praise for education support

Jamaicans in the diaspora have been hailed for their continued contribution to the development of the schools they attended in the island and the wider education sector.

“Jamaica’s diaspora communities across the United States (US), Canada, the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere play a significant role in contributing financial and other resources to development projects here, over many decades,” said portfolio minister Fayval Williams.

“They were exposed to the rich tapestry of our education system and upon migration, still want to be connected to home, and they do so by helping students now attending the schools where they had their early-childhood, primary or secondary-level education,” said the minister.

She was speaking at a ceremony at the Camperdown High School in Kingston on Monday, October 24, for the official handover of a gazebo, commercial printer, tablets, and scholarships by the alumni’s Florida Chapter.

The event also included the presentation of a book, titled ‘The Story of Camperdown High School’ written by Ambassador Dr. Basil K. Bryan.

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Kingston health centre adopted by diaspora members

Rollington Town Health Centre in Kingston has been officially adopted under the Government’s Adopt-a-Clinic Programme. This brings the overall number to 39, with a total commitment of about J$166 million.

South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) Chairman, Wentworth Charles, thanked the donor partners – Dr. Claude Denbow, Dr. Frank Denbow, and the Guyana-Jamaica Friendship Association for their commitment to support the facility. “This sort of partnership between Jamaica and the diaspora is critical to national development,” Mr. Charles said.

The health centre is expected to benefit from funding support totalling $5.7 million over a five-year period. Mr. Charles said the donation was timely, “given the strain on our health system arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and other health events that we continue to battle with nationally”.

He noted that consequent on the Government’s efforts to reform primary healthcare service delivery in Jamaica, there would be changes in infrastructure, human resources, and a transition to a patient-centric, integrated model of care.

This, Mr. Charles added, will be implemented over the next eight to 10 years, in keeping with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ 10-year strategic plan. “This reform will revolutionise the healthcare landscape and is expected to have a great impact on morbidity and mortality for many years to come,” he added.

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British entity for country support business back

The return of the British International Investment (BII) to the region will offer a vital new source of finance for countries. It is expected to prioritize investments in the private sector, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with a focus on sustainable and scalable projects.

Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke has welcomed the return of the scheme to the region, after an absence of more than 20 years. “We are very pleased, and we are very happy that British International Investment is coming back to Jamaica. That opens the avenue for more and more investments that can help to improve standards of living in Jamaica and can help to transform the lived experience of the Jamaican citizen,” he said.

The Minister added that the BII will be a vital investment partner in building out Jamaica’s critical infrastructure – renewable energy, water, and sewerage.

Dr. Clarke noted, also, that significant investments will be needed to reduce Jamaica’s dependence on imported commodities, thereby strengthening Jamaica’s resilience against economic shocks from external factors.

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Jamaica’s small farmers set to get training to thrive

The country’s small farmers are to benefit from a National Learning Route, which will equip them will knowledge and skills to improve economic outcomes. The initiative is being undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), and non-governmental organization, Procasur.

It is part of the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (FO4ACP) programme, which aims to increase income and improve livelihoods, food and nutrition security and the safety of organized smallholder and family farmers in Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Under the learning route initiative, rural farmers will be taught best practices and solutions, which they will apply to build their entrepreneurial capacities. They will them become trainers, imparting what they have learned to others.

The training will enable farmers to better understand how to access resources and improve market access and efficiency along the agriculture value chain.

Agriculture Minister Pearnel Charles Jr welcomed the training, noting that it will improve the socioeconomic condition of small farmers. He said that the project is in keeping with the Ministry’s strategies to make the sector more sustainable and promote profitability.

“This project aligns perfectly with the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart strategy, as the participants will receive training in agribusiness development, safe use of pesticides and good agricultural practices in partnership with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA),” he said.

Yallahs residents now have new $163m fire station

Yallahs and surrounding districts in St. Thomas now have the benefit of a new fire station, built at the cost of $163 million.

The two-storey building comprises office space, a small conference room, male and female dormitories, restrooms, an emergency medical services room, a small gym, and an engine bay.

It will serve roughly 95,000 residents and accommodate 40 staff members, including administrators and firefighters.

The station is expected to significantly bolster service delivery by the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), by improving the response time to calls.

Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie said that since 2016, the Government has spent close to $900 million on building and improving JFB facilities islandwide. “We are proud of this achievement [because], not only are we building these infrastructures, but we have been providing the Brigade with the requisite tools to carry out their functions,” he said.

For his part, JFB Commissioner, Stewart Beckford, said the station’s opening will lift the firefighters’ morale, as they will be working in an environment that facilitates improved service delivery to the residents of Yallahs and its environs.

He noted that the parish is one of the safest in the island, with no fire-related deaths experienced over the last five years. Consequent on this, Commissioner Beckford commended the firefighters, who have assisted the Brigade in executing its mandate of saving lives and protecting property.

‘Mass vaccination is bigger than COVID-19’

By Ebere Okereke and Adam Bradshaw

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LONDON – Vaccinating African populations against COVID-19 has proved a difficult feat. Whereas the continent once grappled with vaccine shortages, it is now facing a shortage of attention.

The COVID-19 pandemic is widely perceived to be over, and some commentators now argue that African countries should lower their COVID-19 vaccination targets and direct their resources toward more urgent priorities, including other disease outbreaks (such as Marburg virus disease and Ebola) and routine immunization. This would be a mistake.

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