Week 51 (2001)


Peace And Love, Please

By all accounts, the homicide rate in Jamaica for 2001 will surpass the previous year; our society has become extremely complex as a result of a deadly mix of cultural penetration, the illicit trade and a struggling economy. Christmas time in Jamaica is now basically a time to make money, from the itinerant vendors to the established merchants who must survive the bleakly January to April period. Thank goodness that there are still thousands of Jamaicans that not only think about themselves and continue to share and care, not just at Christmas but all year long, you know who you are, bless you. Let us show our appreciation to the many unsung heroes in our midst, our teachers, clergy, nurses, doctors, police force, fire service, postal service, garbage collectors etc. who, by and large, toil not just for the money, but out of a genuine desire to serve. A Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to our loyal readers and advertisers who have supported us week in and week out, we appreciate the support, let us not despair, where there is a will there is always a way, peace and love, please.


Sarah Sutherland honoured

Veteran educator, Sarah Sutherland was honoured for her thirty-eight (38) years of dedicated service to the teaching profession in Jamaica during a function of appreciation held on Thursday December 6, at the McIntosh Memorial Primary School, in Manchester. The colourful balloons neatly arrayed in the hall, the attractive decorations and soothing music created the perfect ambience for the celebrant evening. Beaming with pride, the humble retiree listened intently to the kind descriptions of her by several speakers at the function. Chairman of the McIntosh Memorial School Board, Rev. Caswell Burton said that Mrs. Sutherlands' calm personality and impeccable lifestyle were noted qualities worthy of emulating. Educational Officer, at the Ministry of Education Region Five, Elrett Gooden described Mrs. Sutherland as a charming and dignified lady who has made significant sacrifice for education in Jamaica. "It is unfortunate however that contributions like these often go unnoticed," she lamented. Mrs. Gooden continued that the retiree is a reliable, punctual and disciplined individual who always strived for perfection and discipline. Mrs. Sutherland first served the teaching profession in 1963 as a pre-trained teacher at the Mount Olivet Primary School. She became fully upgraded and moved on the Chantilly Primary and the Mandeville All-Age School now Mandeville Primary and Junior High. In 1980, Mrs. Sutherland began teaching at the McIntosh Memorial Primary School, where she rendered outstanding service to the development of countless individuals up to her retirement earlier this year. Regional Manager of Jamaica Teachers' Association, (JTA) Mr. Juno Gayle, pointed to the overseas demand for Jamaican educators and noted that this was as a result of the excellent professionals they are." It is undoubted that Mrs. Sutherland is among a group of individuals referred to as "excellent professionals" said Mr. Gayle. Keynote Speaker, Rev. Zerel Williams said that "if a teacher is prepared to go forward, he or she must be prepared to deal with challenges." Rev. Williams encouraged the teachers present to continue educational upgrading in order to become even more efficient in the rapidly changing global environment. In her reply, Mrs. Sutherland related that in 1963 when she entered the teaching profession she was uncertain whether she would be able to effectively perform the role of an educator, however she said before long she became confident that she could be an excellent educator. "I learnt that if you are responsible and accountable then your career would be successful" she said, adding that while there were disappointing periods in her career, the rewarding moments of her students successes far out-numbered those dismal moments.


Give a Book at Christmas

The Central Jamaica Reading Council, a voluntary organization promoting reading, is encouraging everyone to read and to include books as gifts this Christmas. The following stores throughout the central region are supporting the idea of including books as gifts for Christmas by offering customers a discount on the purchase of books, cassettes and tapes during the month of December
* Mandeville Book Store - 3 Hotel Street
* Acorn Book Store- Shop 8, Villa Plaza
* Source of Light- Shop 6, Caledonia Mall
* Levy's Books and Gift Shop-Christiana
Mid-Island Educational Supplies Ltd.
Grove Court Shopping Center
* Godandi Books - 2 C Fernleigh Ave., May Pen
* Sports and Books- 44 Main Street, May Pen
* Chapleton Bookshop- Chapleton
St. Elizabeth:
Kay-Bee's Book and Stationery Supplies-Shop 11, Hayles Plaza Santa Cruz.
It is hoped that other parishes will join in the effort this Christmas to give books and encourage Reading.


SEEPA getting assistence from IDB

The St. Elizabeth Environmental Protection Association (SEEPA) was the recent beneficiary of a grant of US$110,000.00 from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through the Netherlands Partnership Program in the Environment to strengthen the institutional and monitoring capacity of the organization to enable it to improve the environmental management of the parish. Mr. Robert Bellefeuille, IDB representative in Jamaica explained that the project was viewed by the bank as a strong complement to the overall South Coast Sustainable Development Programme, a US$14 million loan operation now under preparation with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The bank has financed a number of operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean that seek to enhance the revenue-generating capacity of tourism through historic preservation, sound environmental management and active partnership with the private sector. The effort on the South Coast broadens and deepens the bank's commitment to this important line of work. Member of Parliament for South West St. Elizabeth Hon. Donald Buchanan, praised SEEPA for its work in the parish over the years and wished the organization every success in the future. Mr. Buchanan also thanked the Inter-American Development Bank for facilitating the project in the parish and hoped that the partnership with SEEPA would be long lasting. President of the St. Elizabeth Environmental Protection Association, Anthony Freckleton thanked the IDB and the Netherlands Partnership Program for their much-needed support and promised that the benefits of the project would be spread across the parish.


Celebrating Clarendon Youth

The Rural Family Support Organization USAD/Change Project and, Hope Enterprises staged two community gatherings under the theme "Celebrating Clarendon Youth" on Wednesday December 12 and Friday December 14, at the May Pen Anglican Church Hall, and the Vere Technical High School in the parish where the recently completed Adolescent Assets Based Survey was presented and attendees shared their ideas for developing community-based activities that support positive youth development. In July/August of this year, 1000 Clarendon teens between the ages of 12-16 years were interviewed with the purpose of identifying factors within the home, community and school that protect teens against risky behaviour such as early unprotected sex, violence, drug and alcohol use and suicide. The dissemination of these findings back to the community of Clarendon represents an important step in the residency-youth development approach to tackling adolescent risk behaviour. Instead of focusing on risk factors, the research identifies those factors that have a protective effect on adolescents. On identifying these protective assets (already present in the community) programmes will be designed to strengthen particular areas that support youth in their development. It is expected that the community members will generate ideas for these intervention activities for the upcoming 2nd phase of this Adolescent Reproductive Health Project. The CHANGE Project of the Academy of Educational Development (AED) is funded by USAID. It is one of the collaborating agencies committed to improving the health of Jamaican adolescents and works together with Youth Now. The Futures Group, Margaret Sanger Centre International (MSCI), Dunlop Corbin Communications (DCC), JHPEIGIO, the commercial Market Strategies Project (CMS) and Family Health International (FHI) The CHANGE Project has been partners with the RFSO (Rural Family Support Organization) in Clarendon in this first phase of research activities and will continue the working relationship as it moves into the intervention phase and expands to involve other active neighbouring community youth organizations.


Man's Body Found

The body of a 26 year old man was found on the Leeds main road in St. Elizabeth on Friday December 13. The dead man has been identified as Ricardo Salmon of Rockland District in the parish. The CCN's St. Elizabeth Liaison Officer reports that about 10:00 p.m. residents reportedly found the body and summoned the police. On the arrival of the police, Salmon's body was seen lying on the road with a wound to the back of the head. The body was removed to the morgue for a post mortem. The Santa Cruz Police are investigating


AOC committed to Enhancing Human Resources

The Association of Clubs (AOC), an umbrella movement of several community groupings in Westmoreland, has recommitted itself to fulfilling its mandate of carrying out people empowerment and social change, education/training, culture and sports are the key elements of this mandate. At present the organization is conducting a computer literacy programme with Miss Virginia Turner, journalist and computer expert, as trainer. This is in response to the expressed wish of the members of the community to learn computer science as part of their desire to be equipped and ready for the challenges of the 21st century. Sixteen participants are now doing the introduction to computer training. Part of the objective is to make the trainees more aware of the critical role information technology will play in the changing world. "In addition, we consider that if people are to move forward in the 21st century, information technology has to be an important vehicle that will drive the community to become more aware of its potential and utilize its creative and cultural initiative," said Matthias Brown, facilitator and convenor of AOC. The course, which is of three month duration, is free of charge. After the initial training the participants will move on to the internet. The whole concept is to use the computer to encourage participation in the programme. Last year the association conducted a training programme called Civil Society Programme (CSP), some 45 persons were trained in script writing; Ms. Sarah Manley was the facilitator. Thirty persons received training in advocacy through Ms. Rachel Kranz, a journalist from U.S.A. Twenty were trained in the art of video animation by Mr. Matthias Brown and twenty trained in editing conducted by Mr. David Wilson.


Water, Water in St. Bess

Residents of Newcombe Valley, Beacon, Bluntas, Watchwell, Billys Bay and Fort Charles are breathing a sigh of relief as a result of the commissioning of the Newell/Newcombe Valley water supply system which was officially turned on December 12 by the Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Karl Blythe. Minister Blythe reminded the residents that they had a responsibility to pay their bills on time in order that other residents in other rural communities could enjoy the privilege of piped water in their homes. Member of Parliament, Hon. Donald Buchanan emphasized that the Newell/Newcomb Valley water supply system is a part of his plan to provide piped water in his constituency on a phased basis as this would improve the standard of living for everyone. President of the Pedro Plains Water Users Association, Mr. Seymour Simpson is advising that the extension of the Hounslow Irrigation scheme is proceeding on schedule as four new productive wells have been dug in the Little Park area and the tender process is now being undertaken to effect the laying of new irrigation pipes and the restoration of the Hounslow system to be completed by the first quarter of 2003. What this will mean is that over 1600 acres of farmland will be irrigated to allow the farmers to produce regardless of drought and enable them to re-capture market share lost to importers.


Programme Accreditation, Catholic College of Mandeville

The Catholic College of Mandeville (CCM) is pleased to announce that its Diploma Programme in Primary Education has been accredited by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), the body responsible for standards and quality in tertiary education in Jamaica. Monitoring of the programme by UCJ will continue as part of the normal follow up for accredited programmes. The Diploma Programme in Primary Education was introduced at the opening of the college in January 1993, and has remained a focus among other programmes developed since that time. Courses in General Studies (college and pre-college level subjects), Information Technology, Guidance and Counselling, Theology and Technology are now offered regularly. The relocation of CCM to 66 Caledonia Road, Mandeville, has facilitated the implementation of day as well as evening classes, has provided space for the development of a new library, computer lab, classrooms and centres for home economics, woodwork and auto mechanics. For such a young college, looking forward to celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2003, this accreditation of the Primary Education Programme is a remarkable achievement! Let us give God thanks! For information and registration, call the CCM admissions office at 962-2801


Dear Andrea,

Seasons greeting to you and the staff of the Mandeville Weekly. I turned fourteen last month and I am attending high school. There is a boy going to my school who is seventeen and I love him very much, he loves me too and gives me things that proves to me that he really does loves me. He says that he wants us to finish school so we can get married and live together. Every time he tells me that I feel so excited and wish it could be right now. The other day he asked me to have sex with him, to show that I really love him. He said he would use a condom so that I wouldn't get pregnant. To tell the truth, Andrea, I really don't know what to do. I am young and I am a virgin and would like to be like that until I get married, but there are girls even younger than myself who say they are having sex and enjoying it. They talk about it at break, during sports training, on our way home, and almost everywhere. Sometimes when I leave them I imagine funny things like having sex with my boyfriend. I didn't grow up with my mother who has been living with my stepfather in Miami for the past eight years. My father died and his sister who reared me would throw me out if she knew I even mentioned the word boyfriend. So I turn to you as a older sister. Please advise me on what to do, and thank you.

Perplexed, Mandeville

Dear Perplexed,

I am glad you took the time to write me before doing something you would be sorry for later. Solomon-the wise man of the Bible wrote that there is a time for everything under the sun. Human experiences have shown how true that statement is. That is why farmers plant crops to meet the seasons in which they strive best. Sex like other things should only happen when the time is right. You have to be able to manage a horse well before you can enter a show jumping contest, or you could break your neck from a bad fall. Sex is like one of those bucking broncos you see at rodeos and a fourteen year old girl could find it very difficult to keep in the saddle when it starts kicking up. You have already started wishing you could get married and live with your seventeen year old lover. But you are just finishing 2nd form perhaps, and your mind development has some distance to go before it can cope with problems like home economics and motherhood. So you will just have to hold back your early body urges until your brain can catch up. Your young lover does not understand the kind of fire he is trying to light up when he asked you to go to bed with him. You could become so caught up in it that you become careless and get pregnant; or you could neglect your studies to pursue the pleasure and the false sense of romance you begin to experience. Worst of all, you will have to learn how to practice deception of your guardian, your teachers and others who trust you. Besides all this, the laws of Jamaica say that you cannot consent to sex before you are sixteen and if your sexscapade is ever discovered your young man could be in big trouble. Show him this column, and tell him why you would prefer to wait until the right time comes for you to share sex safely.