Week 49 (2001)


Water at last for George's Valley Basic School

The water woes of students and teachers at the George's Valley Basic School in Manchester have finally come to an end after over thirty-seven years. Thanks to Member of Parliament for Central Manchester, the Hon. John Junor, the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Lions Club of Mandeville, which spearheaded a project valued at $42,000 to install pipes from the main to the school and a 600-gallon water drum. The water system was presented on Friday November 30 during a brief ceremony held at the school. Joan Cato, principal of the George's Valley Basic School, recalled that for several decades, parents and teachers and sometimes students had to make it a routine to take water over three hundred meters to be used at the school and according to her this proved to be very inconvenient at times. She continued that the availability of running water at the facility does not only improve its physical plant but also enhances the level of comfort of both staff and students. The Georges Valley Basic School was founded in 1930 by the late Mavis Saunders, O.J. The school began at her home with three students and after the population grew several years after, a building was constructed at its present location on lands donated by her father. In 1994, the school was refurbished. Project Co-ordinator, Bingroy Elliot, said that the water project was undertaken as part of the Lions Club's mission to serve. He praised the other agencies and individuals who participated in the project for their assistance and urged those present to exercise care towards the facility. Minister of Health Hon. John Junor, highlighted that children spend approximately thirty hours per week in school, and noted that they spent the most time at home. "It is therefore important that parents realize their enormous responsibility to reinforce respect and discipline and emphasize sound principles in bringing up their children," he said. Education officer at the Ministry of Education, Joan Smith, commended the teachers at the Georges Valley Basic School for the tremendous job they have been doing in producing outstanding students and implored the parents to support the school in order to further enhance its performance. Editor's Note: If they are any other basic schools without a proper water supply, please let us know. Congratulations to all.


To What Avail?

While most Jamaicans, and for that matter the rest of the world, continue to bark at flying birds in response to an ineffective world economic order, a profound statement by the head of the Federal Reserves of the richest country on earth, USA, Edward Greenspan went largely unnoticed which questions the basic thrust of our global diplomatic initiative. If our diplomatic initiative is merely to ensure that because we are at the table, to safeguard that minuscule percentage of development aid which continues to reach our shores, does this restrain us from speaking up on global issues such as globalization fearing some form of retribution, do we not realize that we have powerful global allies? Back to Mr. Greenspan, the goodly gentleman recently bemoaned the fact that during the years of unprecedented growth in the USA, the nineties, the poor did not benefit, so when is the poor to expect some benefits, in a recession? So who is growth helping and why? Even on the face of it, can't we not see that something is radically wrong with the present global economic system, does anybody care? What have we really achieved? With all the technological advancement up to today, millions of children die each year from starvation, the disparity between the rich and the poor continues to widen resulting in Latin American and the Caribbean the richest 5% consuming 46% of the resources of the region. When last have you heard any discussions on those dubious statistics, so what do you think is causing our economic problem?


A Champion speller in the making

Ten year old Chevelle Hall, a student of the Harry Watch All-Age School in Manchester took her first step to becoming a champion speller on Friday November 23, when she finished fourth in the Annual Parish Spelling Bee Championship held at the Church Teachers' College in Mandeville. She was one of only two girls in the running for the first runner-up female prized. Chevelle who acknowledged the assistance of her family and her teacher in preparation for the competition, said she is satisfied with her performance. She recalled her mother whispering, "have faith in god," and her teacher saying." you can do it," just before she began the competition. The "little star" said that she would continue to enter the competition in preparation to achieve one of her main goals to enter an international championship.


National A.I.D.S. week recognized

The Manchester Health Department recognized A.I.D.S. Week 2001 last week with a series of activities culminating with a street parade on Friday November 30, one day before World AIDS day. Between January 1982 and June 30 2001, 5545 cases of A.I.D.S. were reported to the Ministry of Health, one hundred and fifty-eight of which are from the parish of Manchester. The theme for world A.I.D.S. Week this year was" Men and AIDS, I Care, Do You?" Newton Wynter, Behavioral Communications/Reproductive Health Officer at the Southern Regional Health Authority, explained the relevance of the theme. He said that commonly, men have more than one sexual partner and were therefore more at risk of contracting the deadly Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV). The Virus, which results in Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). According to Mr. Wynter, with the national and global increase in the number of AIDS cases the respective Health Ministries are challenged to intensity their effort against AIDS. In Manchester, he said the Health Department has intensified its public education programmes in schools, community groups and at the health centres throughout the parish. Between 1995 and 2001 there were 114 deaths caused by H.I.V., while between January 2001-September 2001 44 new cases were reported (19 males and 25 females). The officer said that statistics have shown the majority of those infected with the virus are aged 10-19. Among the activities staged in the parish of Manchester in recognition of AIDS Week 2001 were motivational talks at the Mandeville and Christiana Taxi Parks, condoms use demonstrations, and a poster competition depicting topics related to A.I.D.S. Over five hundred persons participated in the activities.


Luana Land Development Beneficiaries Receive, Titles, Letters of Possession

Beneficiaries of the Luana land Development project in St. Elizabeth were on Friday November 30 given possession of their respective lots, developed under the Operation Pride programme after several months of anticipation. Under the programme some 400 acres of land was slated to be developed in two phases. Phase 1 consists of approximately 1,275 lots while phase 2 accounted for another 537 lots. However only 727 lots in phase 1 were ready for delivery up to the ending of November. The lots which averaged 50mx100m cost between $320,000-$350,000 and were developed over a five year period. Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Karl Blythe, said that the development was quite a costly exercise and urged the beneficiaries to "carry out their side of the bargain." He said that, "those who have not yet paid the required 20% deposit must do so as soon as possible or you'll risk loosing the lot which has been allocated to you." The beneficiaries have until December 31 to meet their obligations before the lots go on the open market. Already 100 persons have completed paying for their lots through various agencies including the National Housing Trust (NHT) and have received copies of their titles, while 77 persons have paid the required deposit and made arrangements to complete payment and have received letters of possession. Two persons have paid up in full and cleared up all their arrears and were presented with the original copies of their titles. Minister Blythe disclosed that over the next three years approximately 50,000 titles are to be processed for Operation Pride alone.


Two Firearms Seized-Four Persons Arrested

Four men were arrested for breaches of the Firearms Act on Main Street, May Pen, Clarendon on Friday Nov. 23rd. Charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition are Paul Whyte 29, Keniel Burke 18, Steve Campbell 22 and Garvell Reid 22 all of St. Catherine addresses.


Greening Jamaica Project Launched for St. Elizabeth

Reports from the C.C.N.'s Liaison Officer for Clarendon are that about 5:30p.m., a grey Nissan Sunny motor car registered 6275DH with four men aboard was stopped on Main Street in May Pen. During a search of the vehicle by the police, two firearms, a semi automatic pistol serial #R36288 and a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver serial #DF29319 along with 42 rounds of ammunition were seized. The men were subsequently arrested and charged and are scheduled to appear in the May Pen Residents Magistrate's Court. The May Pen Police are investigating.

The St. Elizabeth 4-H clubs in association with the Elim Agricultural School 4-H club launched the Greening Jamaica project in the parish recently with a tree planting exercise at the school. The Greening Jamaica project is an initiative of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, which is aimed at establishing some 300 acres of different kinds of trees across the island. Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs Mr. Lenworth Fulton, noted that since the project began in August of this year approximately 55 schools have benefited. He continued that the project is in response to the need to plant more trees. "The 4-H Clubs will be paying special attention to the environment, which is a new concept in agriculture, " he continued. Noting that presently the Jamaica 4-H Clubs funds the project, Mr. Fulton disclosed that the organization would be seeking funding from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica to continue the project. The 4-H Executive Director also highlighted the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and the Ministry of Agriculture's Forestry Department for their assistance to the programme. Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Roger Clarke reiterated the need to attract young farmers to the agricultural sector. He said that "We must find ways and means of engaging our young people in positive activities," adding that "the 4-H movement has a duty to do so.' Minister Clarke pointed to the availability of markets in England for products such as breadfruit; however, he said there is not adequate supply to meet the demand. Minister Clarke continued that there is also market for otahieti apple, sweetsop and naseberry, however, the supply is low. "The things we have market for we are not planting" he said.


Nurse Ruby Gunning Honoured

Nurse Ruby Gunning was recently presented with an award of excellence for outstanding service to the Darliston community at a ceremony hosted by the Darliston Primary School. Nurse Gunning has served that community for almost 25 years. After studying in England, Nurse Gunning came home to Jamaica and began her career at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, working as a staff nurse. In 1977 she was sent to the Darliston Health Centre. In 1985 while at Darliston, she started and completed the Nurse Practitioners' course and has worked as a nurse practitioner until she left the service last year. At Darliston, particularly during the earlier years when there was a scarcity of adequate health facilities, nurse Gunning had to travel around the entire eastern hills from Whitehouse, Leamington to Bethel Town. Those were challenging years, she recalls; oftentimes, due to the absence of a resident doctor, it was left to her to decide which patient to send to the hospital. In addition, she was the Parish co-ordinator for diarrhoeal diseases. Many community members turned out at the ceremony to applaud the sterling contribution of the awardee to the people of Darliston. Former Member of Parliament, Mrs. Euphemia Williams said nurse Gunning has touched the lives of every family in the community; the first recipient of the award, Mrs. Hortense Evans, spoke of her as a principled individual who has given unflinching service to the people. The compassion, love and patience exhibited by Nurse Gunning were extolled by Mrs. Joyce Buchanan, the guest speaker for the occasion who further remarked that her life was an example for others to follow. Staffers at the Darliston Health Centre joined in extending words of appreciation to Nurse Gunning. The school choir rendered cultural items before the reading of the citation by student Kimone Lewis. The award, a beautiful plaque with the schools motto "only the best is good enough" engraved, was then presented to Nurse Gunning by the principal, Mr. F. Beckford. Responding, a smiling Nurse Gunning expressed joy and happiness at the honour. She said thanks to all who have contributed to her success but made the point that it was all possible through divine guidance.


Craft Sector In Jamaica Being Injected With New Life

Jamaica's craft sector, which has faced some challenges in recent times, is being injected with new life. The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport which is responsible for the development of Jamaica's tourism product is now implementing a programme to improve the quality of local; craft, while pursuing initiatives to provide outlets for traders to sell their goods. Craft workshops are currently being held across the island in which renown Jamaican artists and artisans are teaching traders the finer points of craft development, even as plans progress for the establishment of craft-villages island wide to provide a one stop shopping experience with entertainment for visitors and Jamaicans. Giving further detail, Mr. Karl Binger, Executive Director of TPDCo, noted that the first craft village is being established in Portland and added that plans are well advanced for work to begin. "The design for the village has been completed and the contract for the construction work is shortly to go to tender. The establishment of the villages will help to organize the sector and provide a hassle-free environment for guests. There are some 14 craft sites with 2,653 vendors in the sector. Mrs. Mary-Helen Reece, Director of Standards at TPDCo disclosed that workshops are being held all across the island with some seven workshops already conducted in Montego Bay, Kingston, Port Antonio and Ochio Rios. "Some of the critical issues affecting Jamaica's craft sector include inadequate facilities at craft sites; resistance by some traders to health, safety and security standards as well as lack of understanding for consumer expectations," Mrs. Reece noted. She noted that the training by accomplished artists and artisans should have an impact on the quality of Jamaican craft. "We have held training in woodcraft with renown artist Fitz Harrock; straw training by Fitz Neil and workshops in Batik and Textiles by Karen Siyanbola, Head of the Art Department at Edna Manley College and Victor Agbeli Ghanaian Batik Artist" Mrs. Reece explained.


Timely Thoughts

"Life's Little Instruction Book" started out as a collection of hand written words of counsel which H. Jackson Brown gave to his son, Adam, as a college freshman;
* Don't waste time learning the "tricks of the trade." Instead, learn the trade.
* Put the cap back on the toothpaste
* Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
* Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.
Admit your mistakes.


Dear Andrea,

I celebrated my twentieth birthday last week and I am not feeling very happy. You see I have been living with my two younger sisters since my mother migrated to the U.S.A. I have to be the mother for my sisters whose ages are thirteen and 11 years. My father is dead and my other sisters' father left the home since mother migrated and have not contacted or cared for them. We survive off the money mother sends to us every month. I used to attend a community college but now I have to study part-time. We are not short of food or clothes; mother sends us barrels of these occasionally. The problem is that since September 11,2001 I have not heard from my mother. A friend of hers visited me recently and told us that mother is now unemployed and that she wants to come home but cannot, because she has not got her green card. What are we going to do? Christmas is around the corner and we need money to shop for food, and pay the rent. I am really concerned about my mother's safety. Her only relative abroad is a cousin whom she resides with when she isn't working. I called the number where my cousin lives and all I am getting is voice mail. This makes me even more concerned. Andrea what must I do?


Dear Frustrated,

I note all you have said, and I am really concerned about the predicament you are in. Let me hope you were saving some of the money your mom sent to you on a monthly basis. If you didn't, then you might be in for hard times. You should be putting aside some funds for sickness and times like these. Since September 11, 2001 a lot of things have been happening, jobs have been scarce, and those who have been laid off due to hardships within American families. You need to get a holiday job; firms and businesses have been employing holiday workers to help with the Christmas shopping rush. That will help you to get some money to supply your needs. I imagine what it is like taking care of your younger sisters. You have to prepare them for school and take care of their needs, when you yourself have needs. Keep on helping them and God will see you through. Hope you are attending church and getting involved in those young peoples' groups. Meetings with those groups will give you positive vibes and knowing your problems will help to allay them. Hope things work out for you and you hear from mother soon.