US trade delegation visits Jamaica Page 4
June 21 - 27, 2010
â€˘ A community newspaper serving the parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth
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Ministry of Education a victim of it own success? to the higher performance in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). "The Ministry is looking at this situation, and we believe that there are solutions to it. Some of those solutions rest in the Ministry taking certain actions, but it also rests in the society and our parents being willing to give some of our non-traditional schools, a second chance," he said. Speaking at a press conference, held at Jamaica House on June 21, Mr. Holness said that, "it is going to become a nightEducation Minister, Andrew Holness mare for the Ministry of he Ministry of Education Education to place students, as more has been caught flatfooted students perform above the averfollowing the release of the age." 2010 GSAT examinations results. The Minister pointed out that a Efforts by the Ministry at the pri- major problem is that the top 20 premary level to upgrade the perform- ferred schools have among them, a ance of student have bourn fruit, total of 4,720 places, but that some with overall GSAT results this year 24,239 parents chose these schools, recording an overall 7% increase. while the top 10 schools have 2,665 This has let to a higher number of places available, with 15,000 parstudents achieving scores that would ents choosing these schools as their place then in one of the traditional children's choice. high schools. "If the limited preferred places Unfortunately, the Ministry of remain fixed, what you will be seeEducation has apparently not taken ing is that a student who would have any concrete steps to increase the claimed a place in a preferred available spaces in these schools. school, with a certain grade, cannot This has resulted in many students do so now with that grade anymore," with above-average grades being he added. placed in less prestigious high This however is cold comfort to schools, much to the consternation parents who have invested time and of their parents. The Ministry is now money in ensuring their children's attempting damage control. success at the GSAT level with According to Minister of hopes of them getting one of those Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, 4,720 places. his Ministry is moving to address The mindset against non-traditionthe space issues that have arisen in al and upgraded high schools is the secondary education sector, due understandable. Many see them as
being nothing more than the same old secondary schools that have been given a new name, a fact bourn out by the lack of resources at many of these institutions. "Our policy is successful at the primary school level. We are seeing greater interest from the parents, teachers and the community, and that is resulting in better performances. At the high school level however, we need to sustain that," Minister Holness said. However the lack of investment in non-traditional and upgrade high schools by government make this something of a pipe dream. Case in point is the Mile Gully High School in Manchester which, ten years after being upgraded, only recently received a science laboratory, and this only through the efforts of the Mutual Building Societies
Foundation (MBSF) under its Centres of Excellence programme. A shortage of properly trained teaching staff and inadequate resources also play a role in these schools clinging to the same old curriculum that directs graduates to low level, low paying jobs. The current economic crisis plaguing the country restricts increased investment in education, therefore limiting any additional places at traditional high schools. The Ministry is in the short term, is entering into partnership with private institutions to provide additional places for GSAT students. In addition, Mr. Holness stressed that the Ministry is also working in collaboration with its partners, in making non-traditional schools preferred, a task which will take years to achieve as parents, students and
the society in general cling to the age-old stigma of the 'good' school instead of focusing on good education. Despite the challenges, some non-traditional and upgraded high schools are charting increased academic results. The Centres of Excellence programme of the MBSF is playing an important role in bettering standards at these schools. A joint project between the Jamaica National and the Victoria Mutual Building Societies, the foundation is geared at transforming the delivery of education in non-traditional high schools, through an investment of $100 million. The program which began in 2008, seeks to transform eight schools across the island. It is slated to end in 2012. Shereido Carter
Still/Moving Multimedia Ltd. Research Assistant Shereido Carter, presents a copy of the 20092010 Manchester Business Directory to Rick Wade, senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Mr. Wade lead a delegation of six Department of Commerce officials and seven small and medium-sized U.S. businesses on a trade mission to Jamaica in search of new business opportunities between both countries. The presentation took place at a function inside the atrium of the US Embassy on Thursday, June 17, 2010. (See story on Page 4)
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
PM says region lagging in environmental protection which places it most at risk. "We are nowhere near where we need to be. There Prime Minister, Hon Bruce Golding delivering the main address at the official opening ceremony of the Fifth Biennial Caribbean Environmental Forum and are huge defiExhibition at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay on Monday, June 21. ciencies that need to be rime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that the addressed, our institutional capacity is Caribbean region is nowhere near weak, our enforcement practices are not as where it should be in terms of environ- rigorous as they ought to be," he admitted. Mr. Golding was giving the main address mental protection, although the level of awareness is much higher than it was 20 at the opening ceremony of the fifth biennial Caribbean Environmental Forum and to 30 years ago. Mr. Golding bemoaned the fact that the Exhibition (CEF-5), at the Rose Hall Resort greatest threat to the environment in the in Montego Bay, St. James on Monday, region, comes from the creeping degrada- June 21. He pointed out that the measures required tion caused by global warming, to which the Caribbean contributes very little but to ensure sound environmental managem e n t require substantial financial resources to secure professional expertise, to a p p l y appropriate technology and implement the necessary adaptation and mitigation strategies and projects. "We, all of us, wrestle constantly with the tension and
conflict between our development needs and sound environmental practices," he stated, arguing that regional policy makers do not have the luxury of choosing between the two. He said that there is a need to try and strike the right balance between development projects that will provide employment and necessary foreign exchange, and environmental protection. . Prime Minister Golding questioned how the small nation states of the Caribbean could raise their voices so that, together, they are loud enough to be heard by the developed nations, in whose hands and in whose actions, the future of the global Prime Minister, Honourable Bruce Golding (centre) introducing Chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), Robert Russell to environment rests. Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Hon Stephenson King, (left) at the Fifth Biennial He said that the countries of Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition which was held at the Rose the region remain "terribly dis- Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay from June 21-25 appointed" at the outcome of the Copenhagen discussions held in December 2009. "The Copenhagen Accord, which is a political statement, not a legally binding agreement, fell far short of the robust, global climate policy framework that we had hoped for," he declared. He explained that, while the Accord calls for significant cuts in global emissions, each country is left to determine its own cuts on a voluntary basis. Mr. Golding went on to commend the leadership of Grenada, as the chief spokesperson for the developing countries at the Copenhagen talks, for their steadfastness in representing small island states and articulating their demands for targets and commitments for their survival and to support their sustainable development.
SOUTH COAST NEWS Unit 2- 10 Ward Ave. Mandeville, Manchester Tel: 305-0435 (Claro) 381-3564 (Digicel) 531-4785 (LIME) email@example.com
Editor Clive Williams Writers Howard Hendriks Shereido Carter Photographers Clive Williams Phillip Lemonte Carl Levy Jessica Williams Special thanks to the Jamaica Information Service
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
Gov’t should develop the south coast of Jamaica in a responsible way! - McIntyre-Pike
he recent announcement of the south coast being targeted for mass tourism development has sent 'shockwaves' to those of us who have nurtured this area and with pride marketed it as a unique experience with its fragile eco-systems, endemic plants and birds, crocodiles, rivers, wetlands, turtles, farming and fishing communities. A South Coast Sustainable Development plan was signed off on some years ago by many of the south coast stakeholders who all wanted to see their area developed with the local people as entrepreneurs and to not create another north coast style
of tourism. The plan called for low density development, protection of the natural environment, the heritage and culture and to make it the “attraction centre” of Jamaica with some boutique hotels, villas, cottages, guest houses and a few large hotels of not more than 300 rooms. We did not want to create a resort atmosphere as we had a strong desire to retain the natural rustic setting that so many visitors are now seeking more than ever before. I suppose we became complacent in knowing we had a plan which included the public and private sectors, to protect us for the future. But
alas, this 'bubble' of complacency burst last week when we read and saw on CVM TV the news that the Ministers of Tourism and Mining were touring the 3000 acre Font Hill property with Fiesta, the Spanish hotel group, to consider developing it as a large-scale resort with a golf course, marina, convention centre and one of their large resort hotels with over 800 rooms! Words cannot express how astounded, disappointed and disrespected all of us felt when we heard that Font Hill was being considered for such a development without any prior notification, discussion or consultation with the south coast stakeholders . But what is being considered is not restricted to one resort hotel. In the Daily Gleaner dated May 8 we read that the Spanish Fiesta Group is not just interested in doing a large scale development but would require an airport as the other airports are too far away! An airport on the south-west coast would destroy the area's tranquility and affect its birdlife and the internationally-known bird watching market which can be more developed than it is. We have also read (April 23) that Minister Robertson says "The Font Hill property is ideal for a high-end tourism and new town development, with beach front golf courses, and air-strips. … There is going to be a greater demand for housing … .” In other words, the Government wishes to urbanize this precious and unique area. It makes no sense to turn a tranquil and envi-
ronmentally precious natural area into yet another sprawling, noisy, urban environment when we all know that we have allowed our existing towns to deteriorate, and have not found the means to restore their quality of life and environment. The south coast has always been acknowledged as an essential contrast and counterpoint to the north coast tourism model, and its importance in maintaining Jamaica's distinctiveness and competitive edge is becoming ever greater. The role of government in tourism Anita Mendiratta, of CNN Task Group in August 12 2009 wrote an article on the role of government in tourism which said, “for all the rich rewards of tourism there are also great risks - and these risks are real, immediate, penetrating and potentially irreversible: risks to the environmental sustainability, risks to greater economic stability, risks to local culture, risks to social value systems to name a few” She continues to say “ simply put, in buying into the tourism phenomena, a destination can face the risk of selling its soul!” Therefore, for the tourism sector to truly work for Font Hill, for the destination and for the south coast for the good of Jamaica in the future, clear, visionary, focused leadership by government is vital and equally important, respect for the carefully developed master plan and South Coast Sustainable Development Plan is fundamental. If the strategic planning that has been done is now disregarded, the south coast risks having its doors thrown open to the world and its soul sold. What makes the south coast unique and precious to its citizens, to Jamaica and to international visitors - its cohesive and caring community, its character and its culture - will be exchanged for more faceless and ultimately unsustainable development.
Anita Mendiratta ends her article by saying “Just as a conductor is responsible for carefully guiding his/her musicians towards the creation of musical magic as one united force, it is the government who must confidently lead the people of the destination's tourism community, providing them the direction and inspiration they need to live and love the destination they call home - and proudly share with audiences around the world whom they know will truly love their art” We on the south coast passionately love our home and lifestyle. We are eager to share it with visitors who want the unique community experience of our many diverse villages and natural environment and varied attractions, but we are not willing to sacrifice the irreversible degradation of our natural assets and culture in order to attract visitors. Investment must also be on the terms as outlined in the South Coast Sustainable Development plan. We are expecting the government in association with JAMPRO to seek suitable investors in keeping with the established guidelines and local stakeholders' vision of a sustainable product. Other countries in the Caribbean like Costa Rica, Belize, and St. Lucia are developing a more responsible tourism product. The south coast is the last region in Jamaica to be developed for tourism - please give us a chance to develop our south coast the responsible way! Only this way, can the south coast retain its unique character and longterm earning power. Contributed by: Diana McIntyre-Pike, BSc, OD Chairman/CEO Countrystyle Community Tourism Network President, International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) Caribbean Feedback welcomed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
US trade delegation visits Jamaica
(l-r) Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Michael Stern; a representative of Sandals Resorts, President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica, Delma James; Glen Christian, Managing Director of Cari-Med Ltd. and Jamaica Chamber of Commerce President Milton Samuda listen attentively to US Embassy ChargĂŠ d'affaires, Isiah Parnell while attending a reception at the US Embassy on June 17 for members of a US trade delegation which visited Jamaica last week.
r. Rick Wade, senior adviser and deputy chief to U.S. of staff
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, recently lead a delegation of six U.S. Department of Commerce
The reception was an ideal forum for networking.
Ambassador Parnell greets Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry and Commerce while trade delegation leader Rick Wade and State Minister Michael Stern look on.
Trade delegation leader Rick Wade while addressing the gathering, spoke of the strong economic ties between the US and Jamaica.
Milton Williams Photos
officials and seven small and medium-sized U.S. businesses on a trade mission to Jamaica.
The trade mission was geared towards giving participating U.S. companies the opportunity to meet with potential business partners and network with key Jamaican government and industry officials. To this end, the delegation met with Karl Samuda, Minister of Industry and Commerce and Junior Industry Minister Michael Stern. Participants in the delegation offered a range of consumer goods, including products for the construction and automotive sectors, to local private sector buyers and government agencies. Participating US companies included Atlanta Global Resources, Inc. from Tucker, Ga.; Atrium Shutters (Global Protection Products) out of Davie, Fla.; CMD Trailer Sales & Leasing Inc. from Jacksonville, Fla.; Fast Enterprises, LLC - Boise, Idaho; Magna-Bon II, LLC - Okeechobee, Fla.; Morton Supplies, Inc. - Morton, Ill. and Palladio Beauty Group - Hollywood, Fla. Trade missions are an important component to achieving the goals of President Obama's National Export
Ambassador Parnell and his daughter joined American Chamber of Commerce in Jamaica (Amcham) Executive Director Becky Stockhausen and trade delegation leader Rick Wade in welcoming guests to the reception.
Rick Wade (left) caught in animated conversation with Sagicorâ€™s Richard Byles and Allison Peart of Ernst & Young.
Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports within five years to support the creation of two million jobs. This mission will help open doors for U.S. firms interested in entering or expanding their presence in the Caribbean region. The United States is the largest trading partner with Jamaica. In 2009, U.S. exports to Jamaica totalled $1.85 billion while in turn, Jamaica sold exports of nearly $560 million to the U.S. The Caribbean region is the third-largest export market for U.S. manufactured goods in Latin America, behind Mexico and Brazil. The trade mission was sponsored by the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, the premier resource for American companies competing in the global marketplace, following a similar visit to the Dominican Republic. On Thursday, June 17, a reception was held inside the atrium of the US Embassy on Old Hope Road in Kingston that brought together members of the delegation and local business leaders. Here are highlights of that event.
(l-r) Chartered Accountant and President of the Small Business Association of Jamaica, Dalma James; Lawyer and President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Milton Samuda and CEO of Cari-Med Ltd., Glen Christian, exchange ideas at the reception.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
Rainy day in Mandeville
Rain and fog caused by a Tropical Depression restricts visibility at the intersection of New Green and Caledonia Roads one recent afternoon.
June 21 - 27, 2010
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
PCJ consultant says switch to LNG is timely
he Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica's (PCJ) Consultant on the Government's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Joseph Fossella, has said that it is an opportune time for the country to take advantage of the abundant supply of the "cost effective" energy alternative. The Ministry has been working to source cheaper alternative fuel, primarily LNG, and is in the process of implementing an LNG Project, aimed at diversifying the country's energy source and improving energy efficiency and security. Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Energy and Mining, New Kingston, on Monday (June 14), Mr. Fossella noted that there was a shortage of LNG in 2005/06, but the situation has since changed, with reserves currently in abundance. "It is timely for Jamaica now that supply is available that wasn't available beforehand, at a competitive cost. So what we are looking at, is grabbing on to that supply in the short-term, so that we can get a long-term, energy security for Jamaica," he said. Mr. Fossella said that the Atlantic Basin - Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, North Africa and West Africa - are the areas that are being looked at, as they are rich in LNG. He also cited Nigeria, Angola and Algeria as well as Peru, because of the opening up of the Panama Canal enabling larger ships, as additional LNG sources. "So we have a fairly rich mining
field to look at LNG supply, with the international oil companies, portfolio managers and, in some cases, commodity traders. We are looking at a whole portfolio of potential supplies and traders, so that we can get the best opportunity and the best price for LNG, on a long term basis, for Jamaica," he said. Mr. Fossella said that, in addition to the cost of LNG, an 'attractive" aspect of the project is the benefits accruable to Jamaica through infrastructural re-tooling for power generation.
Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. James Robertson, who also pointed to the
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abundance of LNG suppliers, disclosed that the Ministry is currently piloting a procurement process for the fuel, which is expected to be completed "very soon." In addition to being a cheaper source of fuel, LNG is odourless, colourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. Jamaica began exploring the possibility of natural gas as an alternative fuel in 2001, under an initiative spearheaded by the then Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology, Phillip Paulwell.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
MOE embraces Centres of Excellence concept
he Ministry of Education is seeking to help increase the number of preferred high school places, by creating Centres of Excellence, with at least six such model institutions slated to be in place by September 2011. "For those schools that are performing below the accepted standard of the Ministry, we will bring them under the concept of the Centre of Excellence. We have one such centre operating now, which is Belmont Academy," Mr. Holness explained at a press conference, held at Jamaica House on June 21. He pointed out that all new schools will be operated under this scheme of management. "The Principal and administrative leadership
of the schools will be placed under a performance based contract. This is a new thrust towards improving the performance of our schools, so that we can create more preferred spaces to accommodate those students who are improving their performance at GSAT and who deserve a preferred place in our education system," the Minister said. The legislative authority for Centres of Excellence has been completed, and is to go to Parliament for approval. The schools to come under this concept include three existing high schools, which are among the 30 that have already been evaluated by the National Education Inspectorate, which operates out of the Ministry.
Meanwhile, three new schools, including Mansfield High (St. Ann), will be opened in September, and two others to be sited in Manchester and St. Catherine, are scheduled to come on stream in September 2011. Mr. Holness said that the "failure" or "failing" of a school is defined through an objective evaluation of the schools, carried out by the Inspectorate. For the schools that have already been inspected, a decision is to be taken as to what kinds of interventions will be made by placing them under the administration of a Centre of Excellence. The Minister explained that the Ministry would seek to enable and assist schools that are underperforming, to manage and address
issues that might be affecting them, such as resources, lack of support, and location challenges. He stressed the importance of accountability in the schools. "For too long our education system has been based on expectations. We expect the teachers to turn up, we expect them to deliver the curriculum fully, we expect parents to play a part and we expect Principals to lead the school in an appropriate manner - but we were not really checking. Now we are examining the schools, to see what they are doing, to see whether or not they meet the standards."
PACE Canada lauded for adopting Jamaican basic schools
President of PACE Canada, Mary Anne-Chambers (second right) presents a PACESETTER Award to Grace Lyons (second left) at the organization's recent fundraising event, Strawberry Tea. Looking on are Jamaica's Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan (left) and Dr. Lola Ramocan (right) who was the keynote speaker at the event.
he Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE) Canada has been lauded for adopting 281 basic schools in Jamaica, which represent more than 10 per cent of the country's 2,125 basic schools. "PACE Canada must be congratulated for this," said Dr. Lola Ramocan, an Early
Childhood Development (ECD) Specialist. "You have been a mighty organization of ECD educators, child development specialists, concerned citizens, persons with a vision and a heart for ECD, both here and abroad," she added. Dr. Ramocan, who was the keynote speaker at PACE Canada's annual fundraising event in
Toronto, Canada, recently, said that the tremendous contribution of the organization demonstrates commitment and unwavering support for early childhood development. Highlighting some recent developments in the early childhood sector in Jamaica, Dr. Ramocan said a more integrated approach is being taken towards early childhood, as many have come to realize that the first five years of the child's health, nutrition, play and stimulation needs are crucial for childhood development. This new integrated approach has led to closer collaboration between the Ministries of Health and Education, supported by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. A national parenting policy is to be finalised this year, and will address important areas of child development, such as child shifting, child protection, child abuse, barrel children, single parenting and the critical roles of fathers and mothers, she said. The sector is also faced with many challenges, noted Dr. Ramocan, including lack of financial resources, lack of stimulating materials, lack of reading materials in the home, social and economical inequities and the high incidence of crime and violence. Immediate Past President of PACE Canada Mrs. Lorna King was acknowledged for her contribution to the organization. An evaluation of the very successful Roving Caregiver's Programme, which has received UNICEF's highest award, shows that millions of dollars could be saved if children were
stimulated early. The new president of PACE Canada, Mary Anne Chambers, noted that in its 23 years of existence, the organization has helped close to 50,000 basic school children. She thanked the non-Jamaican supporters who have helped over the years, for recognizing the importance of supporting the children of Jamaica, as well as the Jamaican supporters whose pride, love and conscience "cause us to hold the rock close to our hearts." Mrs. Chambers told the audience that it is imperative to continue the support by becoming a member of the organization, adopting a basic school or making a financial donation to a school. "If we truly care, we must invest in Jamaica's future. That is what we do when we invest in the children of Jamaica, and there has never been a more important time to invest in the children of Jamaica," she said. She introduced the 2010/2011 Board of Directors comprised of - Immediate Past President Lorna King; Diana Burke; Dr. Vincent Conville; Charmaine Denton; Totlyn Douglas; Dr. Fred Kennedy; Dr. Rosemary Moodie; Donette Chin-Loy; Ingrid Lawrence; Dr. Vandra Masemann; Mardi South; Beverley Thompson; and Christine Williams. Pacesetter Awards were presented to Grace Lyons and Laureen Lee; while the Helen Sissons Children's Story Award was presented to actress and singer Saskia Garel. Amanda Chance received the Appelt Scholarship.
Education System Transformation Programme launched
he Ministry of Education on June 23 officially launched the Education Transformation System Programme (ESTP), which will give greater focus to the reform of the systems, business processes and quality of the sector. The ESTP is to focus on supporting a modernised and transformed system of governance, management, and improved accountability within the education system so as to improve outcome. "The objective is to remove the quality gap. It is not just about talking (about) standards; we have to document standards, and part of the approach now is that everything that we do in education, there must be a standard that is set for it, documented (and) widely circulated within the Ministry, and our schools," Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, said at the launch held at the Hilton Kingston.
He said that once standards are set, the next step must be to enforce these, through accountability. "We have to move from a system of expectations to a system of accountability. For many years we took it for granted. We are looking for equity, but to get equity, we have to go through quality, standards, and then we come to accountability," Mr. Holness said. Meanwhile, Director of the ESTP, Jean Hastings explained that transformation of the education sector actually began in 2005, with the work of the Education Transformation Team (ETT), and was focused particularly on literacy, numeracy, and behaviour management. She said the work of the ETT had begun to manifest, with the establishment of the Grade Four Literacy Test as a national exam, and the up to seven per cent improvement in this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
However, she said, with the progress made in policy development and reform through the legwork of the ETT, there was need to deliver services in a particular way, to make the system work. This will be facilitated through the ESTP. Miss Hastings pointed out that since the ETT began its work, some $7 billion was spent on the reform of the sector up to the end of the last financial year, with $6 billion of that sum invested in infrastructure. The ESTP is being funded by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), along with allocations from the Government of Jamaica, with consulting support provided by the Cabinet Office. In his remarks, IDB country representative, Gerrard Johnson said that "what is beautiful about this (education transformation) programme is that it is independent of the political process, or ownership by any one interna-
tional agency. The fact that this is a programme that has spanned many years, and enjoys priority regardless of who is in power, that's worth noting." Special Representative of the World Bank, Badrul Haque, in his remarks, noted that the ESTP, along with initiatives such as the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), will ensure that the future labour force is productive and resilient in the global environment. He said that successive governments have placed importance on education over the years. "Truly, you have a bipartisan education strategy in Jamaica. From the World Bank perspective, Jamaica has made tremendous strides in education, particularly in improving access to education from early childhood to tertiary levels," he stated.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
came across this beautiful bucket of cherries while visiting a friend in Junction, St. Elizabeth recently, another example of the bounty of a parish popularly called the â€˜breadbasketâ€™ of Jamaica. Later, as we enjoyed a tall glass of freshlyblended cherry juice, my mind drifted back to a recent purchase I made in Kingston of a can of Mango juice; not because I was thirsty, but because I was amazed that someone would have imported such a product into the country from the Phillippines, which is something like 12,000 miles away, when we have the same type of mangoes stoning dog in Jamaica. In fact, we could even go one better with exotic juices like the same cherry I was enjoying, as well as others like guava, passion fruit, ripe and
green june plum, otahiti apple, sweet cup and many others. We Jamaicans do not seem to understand the principle of creating value-added products for the export market, which can ride the wave of name-recognition created by our sportsmen and women, our beauty queens and scholars as well as the two million tourists who visit the country each year. Instead, our farmers produce on waves of gluts and shortages which will forever keep them in poverty. No proper research is done to identify export markets for unique products that can only come from Jamaica or products that taste better because they come from our beloved country. We just try to grow more and more, then watch the fruits of our labour rot in the fields.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
The Auto Zone
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
Are cell towers harmful?
hey typically look like TV transmission towers but they can also resemble flagpoles, huge cactus plants and even tall palm trees. But no matter how they're disguised, they're still cell towers. And as they increasingly dot the landscape, the towers face growing opposition from critics who say they're ugly and unaesthetic misfits that drive down property values and may be harmful to one's health. With three major cell phone companies competing for market share in Jamaica, thousands of these towers are now dotting the local landscape with many more being erected as American Movil upgrades their network ahead of launching service in Jamaica. The company has been accused of moving too fast in erecting some of their towers before final approval has been given and has also come up on resistance from communities which fear the perceived health hazards of the radiation waves that these towers are said to emit. But is this perceived danger real or just irrational fear? Well, the answer to this question seems to depend on who you speak to.
Opponents of transmission towers will often quote a 2004 German government study which found that people living within 1300 feet of cell towers had three times the normal cancer risk. Also, a French medical study of people living within 1,000 feet of cell towers documented an unusually high level of complaints of extreme fatigue, memory loss, headaches, sleep disorders, depression, skin problems, hearing loss and cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, independent studies conducted in the USA has found no conclusive evidence that low radio frequency transmissions from cell towers at the levels that are allowed by the Federal Communications Commission actually harm people. For their part, the American Cancer Society has stated in one report, "we do not have full information on health effects..... in particular, not enough time has elapsed to permit epidemiological studies." But in today's radioactive world, Cell phone towers may be your least worry. People are oftentimes bombarded with high doses of radiation when the go to the hospital from x-ray and cat-
scan equipment, at the dentist, from power high transmission lines, from fallout associated with nuclear accidents and explosions which is picked up by prevailing winds and spread across the globe; from microware ovens and even from the increasingly popular granite countertops found in many homes today. For many persons however, it is not the radiation from cell towers that they fear the most. The eyesore that cell towers create and the resultant drop in property values is uppermost in their minds. Some mobile companies have attempted to overcome this problem by disguising their transmission equipment, but what is also required is early dialogue between the companies and citizens to find a common ground and unobtrusive locations for the installation of these towers, which facilate a service that the vast majority of Jamaicans find vital, considering that there are currently approximately 1.5 mobile phones registered in Jamaica for each and every citizen of the country. But why are so many towers needed anyway? The explosion in the erection of cell phone towers is caused by the way wireless telephone systems operate. They work on a different concept from radio transmission systems which most people are familiar with, such as television and radio stations. In most types of radio transmission systems, the object is to transmit your signal as far as possible, in order to maximize the amount of listeners or viewers you may have. In cellular systems, the object is to transmit a controlled signal. This is done to maximize the amount of channels that are given to each cellular provider for use. Cellular systems are assigned a set number of channels for a given area, usually around 400. In order to maximize the amount of calls/channels per given geographic area, they break the coverage area into a series of cells. Each cell can cover anywhere from a one mile radius from the base station in the city and urban areas, to a 10 mile radius in the countryside and rural areas. Usually an arrangement of seven repeating cells is used, with 50 or 60 channels used per cell. As you move a mobile phone between these cells, the mobile phone is 'handed off' between the cell sites and channels, being controlled by the mobile telephone switching office (MTSO), or mobile switching center (MSC). This makes use of the most important part of the cellular system, frequency re-use. There are only a limited amount of channels available in any cellular system, and this system makes the same channel available in different geographic parts of the system, to different users. Signals are sent back and forth between the MTSO and the cell site over high capacity circuits or microwave links. This is known as backhaul, or the process of bringing the signal from the switch to and from the individual cell site.
Govâ€™t, Opposition working on Crime Bills Debate in the bills started on June 2, with Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, calling on the Members of Parliament to support, what he described, as a "necessary response to a problem that has to be dealt with," even as he acknowledged that some of the measures may be contentious. One of the bills being considered, the Act to make interim provision in relation to the grant of bail in specified circumstances, proposes that a person charged with Prime Minister Bruce Golding addressing Parliament violent or certain drugebate on the six crime related offences should be entitled bills before Parliament to be granted bail only after the was postponed in the expiration of a period of 60 days House of Representatives on commencing on the date on which Tuesday, June 15 as the the person is first charged, and only Government and the Opposition if the person satisfies the court that agreed to hold talks to arrive at a bail should be granted. "workable agreement" on the Members have also raised conlegislation. cern about the move to extend the "I think it is the feeling of the powers of arrest and detention House that this would be the best under sections 50B and 50F of the position. Given the controversial Constabulary Force Act, so that a nature of the Bills, this would be the person can be detained for up to 72 best approach to give a unified sig- hours, instead of 24 hours, without nal," said Leader of Government being charged or taken before a Business in the Lower House, Hon. magistrate. Andrew Holness. It also provides for the arrest and The six Bills are: an Act to amend detention of a person outside of the the Bail Act; an Act to further locality of a curfew or cordon, if a amend the Firearms Act; an Act to divisional commander or a member amend the Offences Against the of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Person Act; an Act to amend the (JCF) at the rank of Assistant Parole Act; an Act to make interim Commissioner, is satisfied that provision in relation to the grant of there is reasonable ground for susbail in specified circumstances; and pecting that the person is about to an Act to make interim provision commit, or has committed a crime extending the powers of arrest and within the area of the curfew or cordetention under Sections 50B and don. 50F of the Constabulary Force Act.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
Local Government elections put off again L
ocal Government elections have been postponed for at least six months. The elections, which should have been held by June 30 are now to be held no later than March 30, 2011. Among the reasons given by government for the post-
ponement were: the state of emergency now in effect in the Corporate Area, which may be extended beyond the initial prescribed period; the ongoing Local Government reform programme, of which significant elements are yet to be put into effect and the proposed establishment of Portmore as the fifteenth parish, which has not yet been finalised. Speaking in Parliament, Opposition Spokesperson on Local Government Reform, Colin Fagan, stated that he was not surprised at the decision to postpone the elections. "From as early as March this year, I had said that the Government was not going to call any Local Government elections," Mr. Fagan said. Leader of Opposition Business in the Lower House and Member of Parliament for St. James South, Derrick Kellier, suggested that the establishment of Portmore as the 15th parish should not be a reason for the postponement of the elections. "Portmore being designated a Parish can take another five years. Are we saying that until that is done that reason will still stand for the continuous seeking of the postponement of the elections?" Mr. Kellier said. In his response, Mr. Montague noted that the Government is on record giving a commitment to having Portmore as the fifteenth parish. "The redefining of the electoral boundaries is not yet complete, and therefore the people of Portmore would be at a disadvantage at this time," Mr. Montague explained. Local Government elections are normally held every three years, no later than in the month of June.
House names MPs to undertake review Whistleblower Bill
he House of Representatives has) named the eight Members of Parliament, who will sit on a Joint Select Committee to review the Protected Disclosure Bill. The members are: Daryl Vaz, Michael Stern, Gregory Mair, Clive Mullings, Phillip Paulwell, Peter Bunting and Dr. Morias Guy. They
will sit jointly with a similar committee appointed by the Senate, to consider and report on the Bill. Commonly referred to as the whistleblower legislation, the Protected Disclosure Bill is part of an overall initiative by the Government to eradicate corruption, promote accountability and transparency, and reduce improper conduct in the
workplace. Justice Minister and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, at the June 18 sitting of the Upper House, informed that the Government, at the appeal of the Opposition, decided to refer the Bill to a committee of Parliament on so as to facilitate public participation and input. She said it is the Government's intention to have the legislation passed into law by the end of July. The members of the Upper House, who will sit on the Joint Select Committee, are: Senators Lightbourne, Dwight Nelson, Arthur Williams, Warren Newby, Camina Johnson Smith, K.D. Knight, Navel Clarke and A.J. Nicholson.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda (right), responds to a question raised by a member of the media, during a press conference at his St. Lucia Avenue office, in Kingston, on June 15. At left is Executive Director of the Bureau of Standards, Noel Osbourne.
Gov't to probe cement price rise T
he Government has ordered an investigation into the 3.2 per cent increase in cement prices introduced by the Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL), recently. Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, told journalists at a press conference at his office, St. Lucia Avenue, New Kingston, on June 15 that the Government was extremely concerned about the reasons for the increase and would be conducting a thorough investigation into the matter. "So concerned am I, as the Minister responsible for protecting the interests of the consuming public, that I have, to date, instructed the Permanent Secretary to formalise with the Fair Trading Commission, a process that will lead to an investigation of the cost structure of the Caribbean Cement Company," he said. "We will be going in there to investigate the pricing structure and how they arrive at their pricing, because what we are seeking to do is avoid any abuse of the dominant position that the company may hold," he expanded. He stated that since the company holds a central position in the market, it is the FTC's responsibility to ensure that it does not abuse this position. The Minister also told reporters that the announcement of an increase by the sole manufacturer of Portland cement in Jamaica came as a shock and disappointment, because all other
indicators suggested the stabilisation of prices rather than an increase. "What is even more disappointing are the reasons given by the Cement Company for the increase," he added. He noted that CCCL said the price increase is to offset higher operational costs, as well as address the issue of stockpiling. Mr. Samuda said the Government was made to believe that the recent expansion and improvement in the operations of the Company would have led to a more efficient organisation, which would in turn lead to reduced costs. "It was on that basis that they were given the kind of encouragement and incentives from the Government that they received. And to learn, at this stage, when all the signs are going in the right direction to contain costs, which we have seen in the retail area, where prices have stabilised considerably and are going down, the Cement Company is going to the opposite direction!" he exclaimed. In the meantime, the Minister warned that he would also be watching the movement in the prices of imported cement to ensure fair competition. "It cannot be that, coincidentally, their prices increase at roughly the same rate as the Cement Company has proposed and at the same time. We will be watching very carefully because we don't want any 'tucking in', we want true competition to exist and we want to give the consumers the best price," he said.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
Without vision: the people continue to perish
he first line of the article Afrikan 'Call for Communal Self-Help' by the Editorial Collective of Self Help News, caught my attention and has forced my pen out of its hiatus - a pause which was brought about in an effort to reflect on some of what has transpired over the past fifty odd years in Jamaica and to try and answer the question “How did we come to be in this crisis?” as the events of recent months unfolded. The sentence said “African communal self-help processes must now be refreshed, enhanced and massproduced…..” It seems that Africans and the people in the Diaspora are always forced to refresh, enhance and re-invent themselves almost on a daily basis, as it seems that our lives are deliberately kept in a state of flux. There was a time when I was ignorant and naïve and could not imagine that after Emancipation, persons could conspire to keep others in a state of subjugation, where they are unable to take full responsibility for their own lives and must depend on the largesse or generosity of a few in order to subsist. Many are not even conscious to realize that this is their reality-mental slavery. So the stage upon which the Dudus Drama was played out, was built over fifty years ago by visible, yet invisible hands, that knew exactly what they were doing. To illustrate my point let me take you back in time to a non-fictitious town in South Manchester. The journey underscores the point that if given the chance and if left undisturbed, Black people can organize their communities along lines of communal self-help and selfreliance. But if they are disturbed and uprooted, it becomes virtually impossible for them to settle and become independent and self-reliant. Spiritual law says you reap what you sow; so if you sow seeds of upheaval and discontent and you nurture the soil into which they have been sown; then you must reap a harvest of upheaval and discontent, however long ago you planted the seeds.
Cross Keys could easily have been described as the capital of South Manchester in its halcyon days; a time during the war years and before the political machinery as we know it today was designed. Today this town, like so many other once vibrant rural towns, can only be described as a sleepy little hamlet, trying valiantly to enter the twentyfirst century. Some of the factors that led to the demise of this and other rural towns are the coming of the bauxite companies; rural migration to foreign lands and to Kingston seeking job opportunities; the now strong reliance on foreign foodstuff and poor political decisions. The decisions were only poor because the majority of the people did not benefit from them, but the few benefitted tremendously. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that where there is no vision-the people perish. Based on what has transpired in Jamaica these past months, it is fair to say that our political, public and private sector leaders never had any vision for the vast majority of the people, as far as their upliftment and progress are concerned. Mr. Virtue, a very senior citizen who has lived all his life in this community and who I interviewed, recalled that Cross Keys was selfsufficient and you could buy from a pin to an anchor. He described an intricate form of marketing and networking that interlaced two parishes. The one truck would leave for the town of Alston in North Clarendon and laden with higglers with Clarendon grown foodstuff would wend its way back to Manchester. The higglers would set up a market in Newport and stay there for about two hours, selling what they produced and buying what they did not produce. They would close this market at the appointed time and make their way back to Cross Keys in South Manchester and they would repeat the same scenario. They would close that market and move on down the hill to the coast and conduct a market in the fishing village of Alligator Pond. By late evening all their produce would be sold and they would be laden with fish and foodstuff not grown in their section of the island along with dry goods to fill their needs. They would return home and look forward to next week's adventure, when friends would meet and trade and exchange stories and labrish, Mr. Virtue said the town had a market and other thriving businesses, as it was also a centre and meeting place for market trucks and delivery vans plying the south coast road from Savannah-la-mar to Kingston and back. In those days he said, many vehicles did not have engines that could challenge the steep and treacherous Spur Tree Hill, so this road was easier on
man and vehicle. By the early 1950s, the environment that had nurtured and fostered farming, especially among the landless peasants began to change. Small farmers leased or rented parcels of land from the few large land barons. However, when bauxite was found in economic quantities, these land barons found it more convenient to sell thousands of acres of agricultural lands to the then prospecting foreign bauxite companies. These multi-national corporations found it necessary to fence and enclose these huge parcels of land, even though it would be years before any of it would be mined. The bell began to toll for this way of life. Without land to rent or lease, many small farmers could not exist and they were forced to drift from the country life. As if by coincidence, the developed world needed an increase in their labour force and there was an exodus out of Jamaica to these foreign lands, as people looked for opportunities that were not afforded them in their homeland. Those who did not go to “foreign” migrated to Kingston and for the most part, swelled the housing stock left vacant by a middle-class that was moving upwards into the newly established suburbs of Kingston, as cars and gasoline became more accessible. Those not fortunate to rent a room in what was once a onefamily home, or a tenement yard, lived in shacks which developed into slums or shanty towns with names like “Back-o-wall” (this one was bull-dozed, reconstructed and renamed Tivoli Gardens.) In his article “Lessons from the saga of Dudus in Jamaica” Horace Campbell opens up the possibility of revealing the full extent of the corruption of the politics in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Our political leaders, especially since 1962, have only one vision; which is to see themselves as wealthy as our former colonial masters and living in the great houses and with their 'slaves' living in 'slave villages' they constructed, now called “garrisons”. To achieve this wealth, they have knowingly become puppets for the visible, yet invisible hands, as they collaborate with the intelligence, commercial and banking infrastructure of foreign powers and the ruling class. Due to their lack of vision for the masses, they are unable to lift their people as they climb the social ladder. Instead, they have created a situation where the loyalty of entire inner-city communities can be bought by anyone prepared to provide basic welfare services that should come from taxes collected for the central state. This urban plight has been exploited through 'gangsterism' and violence over the years by politicians who were able to deliver 'safe' seats for their political parties. Later on this 'job' was taken over by enterprising and highly intelligent young men, like Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who emerged as community dons. This sociology of oppression, backed by bricks, mortar and guns can be read in Horace Campbell's book 'Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney'. Due to our so-called leaders' lack of vision, the people continue to per-
ish in a struggle that has now reached proportions that are similar to the period of enslavement. As Campbell points out, the struggle in Jamaica and the Caribbean is a struggle for a new form of society. To achieve this, once again we have to become as enterprising as the generations described earlier in the article. As someone who is deeply interested in community redevelopment and empowerment, maybe that is why the sentence “African communal self-help processes must now be refreshed, enhanced and mass-pro-
duced…” resonated so loudly in my head. It is imprinted in our DNAthe will to survive and thrive and we must now dig deep to bring it to the surface, in order to save ourselves from leaders who are only wealthy but not rich (big difference) and who, because they lack vision, cause their people to continue to perish. Website: www.ubol.com Self-help News - “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” Valerie Dixon (M.B.A.)
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
Christiana Potato Co-op building greenhouses in North East St. Catherine
Workers putting the final touches on a greenhouse situated in the North East St. Catherine community of Top Mountain, which was constructed by the Christiana Potato Growers Assn.
s part of a Protected Agriculture Project in North East St. Catherine, a greenhouse was officially opened in the community of Top Mountain, on Thursday, June 10. The greenhouse is one of four constructed by the Christiana Potato Growers' Association in the Pear Tree Grove and Top Mountain communities at a cost of approximately $6 million, through funding by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development
Authority's (RADA's) office in St. Catherine, the 'greenhouse cluster' project in Top Mountain involves the cultivation of tomatoes and sweet peppers by four farmers selected from the community. Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Top Mountain Church of God, Member of Parliament for North East St. Catherine, Gregory Mair, explained that the farmers had to go through a selection process. After selection, they underwent intensive theoretical and practical training in the utilisation, management, and successful operation of
greenhouse facilities. He told the farmers that they now had the responsibility to ensure that other farmers are inspired to take the next step in doing farming in a different way. "This (greenhouse farming) is going to be the platform from where we are going to start changing the way we do farming, all the way through North East St. Catherine," he asserted. He said the green house has not been given to the farmers, but is being provided under a lease agreement. "They are going to be paying back the cost of this investment, over time at a very reasonable rate, because the whole idea is that it will go back into a revolving fund and then other farmers will have an opportunity to sign another lease agreement to go ahead and do another greenhouse," he explained. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, commended the farmers whom, he said, have been given an opportunity to ben-
efit from the use of modern technology that will add value to their farming. "In a sense, all eyes are on you, because you now have the most modern technology in agriculture in your community, Top Mountain, and you are the drivers...you are the catalyst, you are the ones who will either make it work or make it fail. If you make it work, you will be surprised to know the spin-offs it will have on your community," he said. He advised the farmers to teach others what they have learnt about greenhouse farming, noting that it is important to transfer best practices, so that others can benefit. The farmers who have benefited from the project are: Colin Green, Wesley Lambert, Leroy Hyde and Erica Ferron, who in responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, said she
became interested in greenhouse farming, after being encouraged by one of her fellow recipients to become a part of a training exercise in greenhouse farming. She said the training involved taking care of a greenhouse, planting seedlings, nurturing plants, learning about different kinds of chemicals or nutrient mix, insects and diseases that are likely to affect plants and how to treat them. "We were so enthusiastic about not just what we saw, learnt and did, but also venturing into this field. My fellow recipients were already farmers, now it was my turn - I had to be a farmer; not the one we are so accustomed to seeing in an open field, with a fork, machete, etcetera, but a greenhouse farmer," she declared.
Light bills to fall with higher J$, lower oil C
onsumers are set to see a reduction in their electricity bills within the coming weeks. Minister of Energy and Mining, the Hon James Robertson, says that given the decrease in fuel prices and the revaluation of the Jamaican dollar, customers across all tariff groups will see a marginal reduction in their energy bills for the month of June. He said that he expects the downward trend to continue throughout this quarter. The reductions come despite the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) granting the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) an annual inflation adjustment of 1.9%, in accordance with JPS' 2001 licence. In a press release on the matter, the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) said that customers should see decreases of up to 2.35 percent in their electricity bills in July. The JPS explained that, although the OUR made an annual inflation adjustment in keeping with the company's 2001 licence, the adjustment is expected to be offset by decreases in fuel charges and the revaluation of the Jamaican Dollar against its US counterpart. "When combined, the inflation adjustment, the lower fuel charges and foreign exchange rates are expected to result in a decrease of
about 1.34 percent on the bill of a typical residential customer, using 200 KWH per month. A typical large commercial customer will see a reduction of approximately 2.35 percent on the July bill, compared to bills received in June. June's invoices will also reflect a modest decrease relative to May," the JPS said. The company also pointed out that, unlike other businesses, as a regulated entity, it cannot unilaterally change its prices, but must submit an application to the OUR each year for the inflation adjustment, outside of the years when a complete tariff review is done. Under the 2001 licence, the JPS is entitled to a rate adjustment every five years, with the next one due in 2014. The annual inflation adjustment is applied to the non-fuel portion of electricity bills. Looking to LNG The Ministry of Energy and Mining is actively on course to diversify Jamaica's fuel source to include Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), in a bid to reduce energy costs before the next rate adjustment is due. Conservative estimates suggest that, if LNG had already been brought on stream, the annual savings would be in the region of US$ 900 million.
Over the past week, the Ministry and the JPS have engaged in consultations with representatives of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association (JHTA), the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), the Jamaica
Manufacturers Association (JMA), the Consumer Affairs Commission, as well as Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, arrive at a consensus around the government's policy of energy diversification through the introduction of LNG.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
Scholarships for students from bauxite parishes
Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson (left), and representative of Glencore International, Steven Blumgart sign the agreement for the establishment of the $17 million Glencore Scholarship Foundation, which will be managed by the Bauxite and Alumina Trading Company (BATCO), of Jamaica. Observing the proceeding, which was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on June 15, is Managing Director of BATCO, Coy Roach.
eginning in the new academic year, three students from the island's bauxite parishes who wish to study in the field of science, technology or sport, at the under graduate level, will benefit annually from scholarships tenable at any local university.
This is being made possible through a scholarship foundation, which has been launched by global Glencore mining company, International, in partnership with the Bauxite Alumina Trading Company (BATCO), of Jamaica. Speaking at the launch of the $17 million Foundation recently at the
Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Minister of Energy and Mining, Hon. James Robertson welcomed the initiative. "Glencore's relationship in Jamaica goes back 49 years, to the beginning of our bauxite sector. The bauxite/alumina industry, singularly, took the hardest hit coming out of the world crisis in commodities, over the last 24 months, and for them to come back to the table to help the bauxite development communities, by helping their children, is the right signal," he argued. He expressed appreciation to Glencore for committing an additional one-time lump sum of US$50,000 (J$4.3 million) to benefit a wider range of students, including those from St. Thomas, where non-bauxite mining activities also take place. This sum will be channeled through the Ministry, and managed by the Foundation, Mr. Robertson informed. The Minister said that Glencore would not only be remembered for the thousands of tonnes of alumina that it has traded out of Jamaica over the years, but also by the students who would be chosen each year, and who would make an impact in their communities. "It is in times of crises that we
GSAT scores move higher
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness (right) confers with Permanent Secretary, Audrey Sewell (left) and Chief Education Officer, Grace McClean, prior to the start of a press conference at Jamaica House on June 21 to announce the results of the 2010 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).
he Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results are showing that students are doing better across all subject areas, including the critical subjects of Mathematics and Science. There was improvement of almost seven per cent in at least one subject. "This year is a unique year, in that for the 11 years that we have had GSAT, all subject areas showed an increase in the mean performance. It means that students are doing better right across the board," said Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, at a press conference on June 21 at Jamaica House. Giving a breakdown of the figures, the Minister informed that the
national pass average for Mathematics improved by 4.2 percentage points to 56.9 per cent from 52.7 per cent last year. "When we look at the trend, we see that it is heading upwards and we are confident that this will continue. In Science, last year, the national average was 53 per cent, this year the national average is 59.6 per cent. Again the trend for Science is upwards." Social Studies recorded the highest percentage increase of 6.7 per cent, moving from 52.9 per cent last year to 59.6 per cent, while the national average for Language Arts went up 58 per cent from 56.7 per cent last year, recording the lowest
increase of all subjects. Communication Task recorded an average of 66.2 per cent, up from 61.2 per cent. Region One, comprising Kingston, St. Andrew, and western St. Thomas had the highest average performance with 62 per cent in Mathematics ; 64 per cent in Science, 63 per cent in Social Studies, and 62 per cent in Language Arts. Region Five, comprising St. Elizabeth and Manchester, had a national average of 57 per cent in Math; 60 per cent for science; 58 per cent for Social Studies; and 58 per cent for Language Arts. According to data released by the Ministry, 64.97 per cent of students got into one of the schools of their choice, with 81 per cent placed in high schools; 10.3 per cent were placed in junior high schools; 6.36 per cent were placed in technical high schools; and 1.99 per cent of students were placed in all-age schools. A total of 32.31 per cent of students were placed in schools according to proximity.
need a hand, and this Foundation forms part of a true community outreach," Mr. Robertson added. Representative of Glencore, Steven Blumgart, said the company hoped to keep the scholarship running for many years, and "we hope to keep our close involvement and friendship with Jamaica going for many years to come." Recipients of the scholarship must be below the age of 30, have resided for at least five years in one of the bauxite mining parishes (St.
Elizabeth, St. Catherine, Manchester, St. Ann, and Clarendon); and have already been accepted for full time study, or if they are already in full-time study, should have a minimum B average. Students will not be bonded, but must make themselves available to Glencore, Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited or BATCO, for the purpose of promoting the Glencore Scholarship Fund. The applicant must also be able to prove genuine need.
Jamalco mentorship programme for Winston Jones High School
mentorship programme was launched on June 18 at the Manchester based Winston Jones High School by the bauxite and alumina company, Jamalco. Corporate Services and Government Affairs Manager at Jamalco, Leo Lambert, said that the initiative is designed to provide an environment, which will seek to embrace and to unearth the good in children. "Life is full of options and choices. We can choose to do good, or bad. The programme is about embracing the good in our children. We are here as change agents, and seeking to provide an environment that will assist in the development of our students, and help them to develop their fullest potential," Mr. Lambert said at the launch of Phase Two of the programme. A special component of the programme is an Excellence Club, which will become part of the extra curricular activities at the school. It will afford the opportunity for all participants to gain exposure in dif-
ferent areas, and a number of students who show promise, and demonstrate discipline will receive scholarships. Lauding the initiative by Jamalco, Community Relations Officer in the Ministry of Education, Charmaine Gooden-Monteith, said Jamalco was a good partner in educational development, and "implementing this mentorship programme is quite timely, as it will improve and help students to adopt the right attitude." Vice Principal of Winston Jones High School, Kitty Foster, said the programme is a welcomed opportunity for the institution to further empower students. "It will be quite beneficial to the students who participate, and the staff will work with Jamalco to ensure the success of the programme," she said. Persons who will mentor the students are drawn from the company's workforce and management team. Phase one of the Mentorship Programme was instituted at the Vere Technical High School, in Clarendon.
Gov't taking progressive approach to disabled persons
Chairman of the National Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, Dr. Patricia Dunwell (centre), and Public Relations Manager at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ann-Marie Dobson (seated right), admire artwork at Jamaica Association for Intellectual Disabilities (JAID) booth, which was mounted as part of activities to mark Abilities Day on June 11 at the offices of the Abilities Foundation in St. Andrew. At left is Arts and Craft Officer at JAID, Altaphia Hamilton.
inister of State for Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, says that a progressive approach is being taken to dealing with persons with disabilities, as the Government moves to create opportunities for them to contribute to the society. He said the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all facets of the society makes both practical and good business sense. "We cannot build a country where 10 per cent of the population is unemployed or unengaged in any meaningful activity. The social and economic implications are far-reaching for the country," Mr. Gallimore argued. He made the point in a speech read by Public Relations Manager at the Ministry, Ann-Marie Dobson, at the opening ceremony for Abilities Day held June 11, at the Abilities Foundation of Jamaica in St. Andrew. Citing initiatives being undertaken, Mr. Gallimore informed that the finishing touches are being put on the Disabilities Bill to be taken to Parliament, shortly. The legislation is expected to influence how the country treats with persons with disabilities in Jamaica. He noted further that the Abilities Foundation, through a number of training programmes, has also been preparing persons with disabilities to match the skills sets required for the job market.
Acknowledging that, regardless of their efforts, some persons with disabilities will still require assistance from the state, Mr. Gallimore said the Government is working to increase the number of such persons enrolled on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH). He informed that the number of registered PATH beneficiaries with disabilities is currently 7,831 and that the Ministry is working to increase that figure. For 2009, the Government expended $89.4 million to persons with disabilities and the budget has been increased to $92.4 million for the 2010/11
financial year. Abilities Day is being used by the Abilities Foundation to raise awareness about the work of various organisations serving the community of disabled persons as well as the training programmes provided by the Foundation. This year's theme is 'Motivation for Empowerment'. The day featured displays, a barbecue and a lunch-hour concert.
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS
June 21 - 27, 2010
MANCHESTER & SOUTH COAST NEWS June 21 - 27, 2010
Caribbean Invasion 2010 at Dover D
espite the challenging situation the island nation of Jamaica is presently undergoing, the Jamaica Race Driver's Club (JRDC) managed to pull off a successful first leg of the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC). Billed “Caribbean Invasion 2010”, the rac meet was held on
ing on the first day before a torrential downpour put an end to proceedings followed by a full day of racing on day two, all made possible with the assistance of Seaboard Marine, LIME and Turbo Energy drink. A massive crowd turned out on the second day of the event to witness some of the most powerful circuit racing cars in the English speaking
Sunday and Monday, May 23 and 24, 2010 with most classes qualify-
Caribbean grace the 1.6 mile track. Ample provision for spectator
comfort, including 2 VIP all inclusive areas, seven covered stands and a large covered food court were in place. For those unable to enjoy the amenities at the venue, the races were streamed live on the internet at www.jrdc.org and www.ncumedia.com by the media services department of Northern Caribbean University and also broadcast live by Power 106. The man of the meet was undoubtedly “King” David Summerbell, who put his best foot forward in the defense of his 2009 Caribbean Motor Racing Championship by capturing pole position (1 min. 20.872 secs.) and winning all three CMRC races plus one Modified Production Class 3 race while finishing second in a thrilling, 7 lap final race of the day, when the Thundersport class was run concurrently with Modified Production classes 1, 2 and 3. In that race, what seemed like a cat and mouse game between Summerbell who was driving his
Total/PPG Paints sponsored Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 and veteran driver Peter “Zoom Zoom” Rae in his bright yellow Mazda RX7, went the way of Rae as the two drivers approached a back marker on the final lap with Summerbell in the lead. Rae used the opportunity to overtake both cars in a skillfully executed maneuver to the outside and held the lead to the checkered flag. Mark Maloney of Barbados driving the Rockstar Energy Drink/ Automotive Art Mazda RX3, had put up the best challenge to the Jamaican contingent when he posted the 2nd fastest qualifying time of 1 min. 22.588 secs. early Monday morning and even led the first race for a while. But the raw straight line speed, the amazing handling and skillful talents of David Summerbell took him first to the checkered flag. Guyana's Kevin Jeffrey driving the Top Power Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 finished 3rd in race 1.
Summerbell again had it all his own way in race 2 followed by Team Mobay Racing's Douglas “Hollywood” Gore who had switched cars to his Sherwin Paints/Slam Williams Condoms/Boomerang Tires/Tropical Battery Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 5, after his Evolution 10 had developed clutch problems causing him to retire on the first lap of race 1. Peter Rae was to finish 3rd. In the 3rd CMRC race, it was much the same, with a now familiar “Summerbell-Gore” 1-2 finish with Guyana's Mark Vieira in the Shell V Power/Digicel Mazda RX8 finally having a podium finish after a challenging weekend in Jamaica. Guyana's Andrew King along with Barbados' Doug Maloney both suffered from mechanical problems over the weekend and were not able to place in any of the events.