SHARING THE LOVE: 114 students get tertiary scholarship from Sagicor

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 September 18, 2022
We are here to inspire, motivate and uplift.

MP bats for major infrastructure initiative

Member of Parliament (MP) for St. Mary Western, Robert Montague, is proposing the implementation of $20 billion infrastructure development programme that targets communities, housing schemes, farm roads, bridges, drains, and river training.

Making his contribution to the 2022/23 Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives, Mr. Montague said the funds should be allocated from one of three sources annually, for five years.

“The sources of funding for my solution are – a portion of the unused recurrent balances from Agencies, Departments or Ministries; reducing the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service’s spending on consultants and studies for two years; [or] by using Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) profits,” he said. “If in the midst of the pandemic the BOJ could hand over $30 billion in profits in order to craft a supplementary budget, can you imagine the profit, now that we are recovering stronger?”

He said the funds must be allocated to the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Municipal Corporations.

“However, a portion of these funds must be reserved for constituencies, to deal with local priorities,” said the Western St Mary MP. “An equal minimum amount should be allocated per constituency and additional funds given based on parish council divisions, and population size based on the voters list.”

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Jamaica plugging skills gap in services sector

The first cohort of 114 persons, who participated in the Global Services Sector (GSS) apprenticeship programme, completed their training to bolster the leadership capacity in the growing industry.

The programme allows firms to upskill their employees into new areas of management and provides the workers with the necessary training to fill supervisory and managerial roles.

The graduates have qualified for the industry-endorsed National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training Certificate in Supervisory Management.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Senator Aubyn Hill said that apprenticeship is a vital mechanism to address skills gaps and ensure that the right talent is available to fill the sector’s demands.

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Caribbean Moves targets non-communicable diseases

Caribbean Moves, aimed at reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across the region, has been formally launched with support from Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

Representatives from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and others participated in the launch event in Kingston. It featured demonstrations of healthy food preparation, health screenings, immunization and a live workout session.

Caribbean Moves encourages persons to engage in physical activity, have routine age-appropriate health checks and practice healthy eating to reduce the risks of NCDs, which are the leading cause of death across the region.

These include diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancers, and others. It also seeks to engage public and private sector organizations to promote and support preventative health behaviours.

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr Terrence Drew, who joined the launch virtually, said that NCDs accounted for 58 per cent of deaths in the islands between 2015 and 2019.He encouraged countries in the region to “collectively harness their power to bring the vision of a healthier Caribbean to life.”

Caribbean Moves was conceptualized and received the endorsement of the CARICOM Heads in 2018.

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Castor bean project for St Elizabeth North West

Farmers in the constituency of St. Elizabeth North West are preparing to embark on a major castor bean project. Member of Parliament (MP), Mr. J.C. Hutchinson, said that the Jamaica Bauxite Institute is establishing a project, aimed at using mined out bauxite lands to plant castor beans and intercrop these with cash crops.

“We are looking to partner with them in this venture. The beans will be processed to extract castor oil, which forms a US billion-dollar industry. Its use in cosmetics alone is valued at US$187 million per year,” he said.

Mr. Hutchinson, who is also Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, said while St. Elizabeth North West is outside the bauxite mining belt, the area has many farmers who are already cultivating castor beans.

“These farmers presently operate in a market with inconsistent buyers offering ad hoc prices and would welcome transacting business with a reliable and consistent buyer. We see this project as a game changer for the constituency,” he argued.

Parents told: Report cyberbullying to the police

With the new school year well under way, parents are being urged to keep a sharp look out for cyberbullying among children.

Cyberbullying, which is a growing problem around the world, can happen on social media, messaging, and gaming platforms as well as through other digital avenues. The Internet’s anonymous nature attracts bullies with a desire to intimidate, shame and anger their targets.

Head of the Jamaica Cyber Incident Response Team Lieutenant Colonel Godphey Sterling said that parents can report incidents of cyberbullying to schools. “Nowadays, many school districts have online reporting options for cyberbullying where you can make an anonymous complaint,” he pointed out.

He said that parents can also reach out to team for assistance and if necessary, contact the nearest police station or the Communication Forensics and Cybercrime Division of the police force.

Effective governance a must for public health

By Dani Rodrik

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CAMBRIDGE – Our world is undergoing an economic transition that will require effective government action on many fronts to manage climate change, ensure public health, and rebuild our middle classes through good jobs and innovation. But are our governments up to it?
 

There is near-universal skepticism about governments’ ability to lead and achieve positive change. Such doubts may be well-placed. Polarization and authoritarian populism – which are mutually reinforcing – have overrun the public sphere in many countries and undermined societies’ capacity to mount collective action, both domestic and multilateral, against common problems.

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