8.6% increase in tourism revenue for 2018

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica saw an 8.6 per cent increase in tourism revenue in 2018.

He told a news conference, held at the Ministry’s New Kingston office yesterday that, the preliminary figures from the Jamaica Tourist Board on the performance of the industry, has shown a new record for the industry, in terms of arrivals and spend.

“At the end of December 2018 Jamaica had 4.31 million visitors, which represents the second year in a row that the county has had over 4.3 million visitors in a single year. But, the earnings is the area of greatest performance for us in 2018 because we had an 8.6 per cent in earnings from three billion in 2017 to 3.3 billion in 2018,” said the minister.

He further outlined that: “This means that Jamaica had 40 years of tourism earnings to make its first billion, which came about in 1995. The second billion was earned in 2010 and the third came in 2017. This year we are 300 million in pursuance of the next billion. This means that we are in line with the projections made to earn 5 billion dollars from tourism within the period that we’ve indicated.”

The minister also highlighted that the increase in earnings has had a great impact on the local economy, primarily to the small and medium tourism enterprises.

“Tourism is growing at a phenomenal rate but because the retention of the dollar is hovering at 30 per cent we can say that there is more than US $1 billion in circulation across Jamaica coming directly from tourism. The impact of this is seen in the growth of the small and medium enterprises, who are more involved in the industry than ever before. The dollar is being retained because more and more of our people are supplying against the demands of the industry,” he said.

 

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Source: Caribbean News

Prime Minister Visits Five-Year-Old Letter Writer

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on January 8, took time out to visit a five-year-old child, Makai McLawrence, who sent him a letter during the festive season with a request for him to visit his school, Small Treasures Child Care in St. Andrew.

The Prime Minister posted a copy of the letter on his social media pages, which said: “Dear Most Honourable Andrew Holness. My name is Makai McLawrence. I am five years old. I attend Small Treasures Child Care, which is close to Jamaica House. I am inviting you to visit my school, to meet with the K3 students. We learnt about Jamaica’s motto, anthem, national heroes and you, our Prime Minister. We need a photograph of you”.

The PM said it is important for our children to understand the structure of the Government, to understand civic affairs, and to be able to express themselves.

 

Prime
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), hands a gift to five-year-old Makai McLawrence (right), who wrote a letter to inviting the Prime Minister to visit the school.. At left is Isaac Whyte, who also received a gift from the Prime Minister. The handover took place at Small Treasures Child Care in St. Andrew on Tuesday (January 8).

He also made reference to a letter from another child, Layla, sent to him by her mother during the festive season, which read: “Dear Santa. For Christmas and the New Year 2019, I would like there to be less crime in Jamaica and no more children going missing and also no more fires in Children’s Home. Next year, my brother will be taking PEP and he has been working very hard. I would like him to have a very relaxing Christmas and all his Christmas wishes come true.”

“What she asked for was not what a typical child would ask Santa Claus. She was asking for peace. I found that to be very, very touching,” Mr. Holness said.

After the Prime Minister’s comment, he visited Makai’s classroom and gave him the gift of a book.

Beaming with happiness, Makai and his classmates hugged and thanked the Prime Minister for taking the time to visit them.

“Thank you for responding and taking the time to visit us. We’re excited to have you. Thank you for coming,” Makai said.

By: Ainsworth Morris

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Source: Caribbean News

Morgan Heritage thrills Kenyan fans at New Year’s eve celebrations – as part of Africa Jamaica Tour

After stopping performances in Zimbabwe on December 21, in Zambia on December 24, in Ghana on 28th Dec, Morgan Heritage,the Grammy-winning siblings and Royal Family of Reggae have arrived in Kenya, as part of their announced 2019 “Africa Jamaica Tour” (#AJT2018) that will also see them perform in Ghana, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with more dates to be added (see flyer below).

Mojo Morgan spoke about the tour saying, This Africa x Jamaica tour is the beginning of something great for us as a group and a family of African decent. For years our fans in Africa has been asking us to perform more because they only get to see us on video. So as we prepare to release our new album we will give them what they want as the great Burning Spear would say.” 

Morgan Heritage were among headliners at Kenya’s Wasafi Festival held at Uhuru Garden on New Year’s Eve, where they put up a massive performance, serenading to their Kenyan fans some of their beloved Morgan Heritage tunes like “Nothing to smile about”, “Down by the River” and “I’m coming home”.

They also performed their latest successful hit single “Africa X Jamaica” alongside Diamond Platnumz who is featured on the song.

They later joined Diamond Platnumz on stage, during his set, and together they once again blessed the crowd with one of Africa’s biggest songs from 2017—their mega hit “Hallelujah”.

It was the first time in Kenya and Africa for Morgan Heritage and Diamond to perform together.

Comprising of Mojo, Gramps and Peetah, the group led the enchanted audience in near-choir sessions, as thousands of revelers sung along to all their songs word for word.

Towards the end of their performance, in a hilarious twist of events, Peter Morgan engaged the crowd in recording a message declaring Kenya’s mangoes as the sweetest.

While in Kenya, which has been their base many times while they visit Africa, Morgan Heritage will be meeting with various African artists and recording new collaborations, set for release in 2019.

#AJT2018 Tour is part of Morgan Heritage’s mission to unite sounds from Africa and the Caribbean through powerful music and cultural crossings.

“Africa Jamaica” is the lead single off Morgan Heritage’s upcoming album set for release in 2019.

By: Elorm Beenie

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Source: Caribbean News

Waterhouse FC, Phoenix Academy executives donate $750,000 to JCS

On Sunday, December 30, last year hundreds of fans packed into the Waterhouse Stadium for the charity game between Premier league leaders Waterhouse FC and Phoenix Academy All Stars.

The Premier League leaders won the game as both teams treated the fans to some good football. The true purpose of the game, however, was to generate donations for the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) to assist children living with cancer.

The effort generated $750,000 from six key donors – Tankweld Metals, Bruce Bicknell, Donovan White, Craig Butler, Leon Bailey, and Kyle Butler.

In a presentation to Yulit Gordon – CEO, Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS), at their Red Stripe Monday Night Football game on January 7, Bruce Bicknell and Craig Butler handed over the cheque for the sum raised and committed to continue to work with the JCS.

“Cancer has affected somebody we know and it feels good to be able to make a contribution to the Jamaica Cancer Society to help them to do more in helping those suffering from the disease” Bicknell said.

The Phoenix Academy and St Andrews FC (Malta) president, Craig Butler, said they are committed to helping the children.

“Cancer is not a death sentence for those who can afford to get proper treatment. I live with cancer and it is painful and heart breaking for an adult much less a child. This initiative came through the experience it has brought on my own family, my uncle died two years ago, and my wife’s second child Tamya died at nine years old, and I now face it daily. My sons and the academy came up with the idea to give back to children suffering with cancer and dedicated our winter camp and what was to be this friendly game proceeds to children fighting cancer and enlisted the Waterhouse team to join us in the initiative.

Feel privileged

“We trust that the Jamaica Cancer Society will dedicate these funds to help children in need and facing the disease,” Butler continued.

During the last year, Waterhouse FC celebrated 50 years since the club was founded in 1968 and had dedicated the charity game played on December 30 to their fans after what was a solid year of achievements.

“We have had so much to be thankful for over the years, making this donation to the Jamaica Cancer Society is a blessing that we feel privileged to be able to make happen and we are committed to finding new and different ways to work with the JCS going forward, to the benefit of the Waterhouse community,” remarked Donovan White, president of Waterhouse FC.

JCS’ Gordon, in thanking Waterhouse FC and Phoenix Academy, said the funds would be used by the society to increase its capacity to expand and strengthen its cancer prevention programmes among Jamaican youth.

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Source: Caribbean News

Jamaica College Old Boys Association of Florida establish Scholarships for JC students

The Jamaica College Old Boys Association of Florida (“JCOBAFL “) has established 11 annual Scholarships for Academically gifted and socio-economically disadvantaged students attending their Alma mater, Jamaica College.

The Scholarships are awarded at the JCOBAFL Griffin Awards Breakfast in the name of Alumni who have excelled in each respective discipline.

The awards are focused on currently matriculated students who aspire to careers in the disciplines for whom they are named. The recognized disciplines include, inter alia, Journalism, theatre, medicine, law, business, and engineering. Accompanying the awards is a monetized disbursement aimed at defraying the attendant costs associated with pursuing the respective delineated discipline. Each Scholarship would be in an approximate amount of J$40,368.

Fifth anniversary

The annual Griffin Award Scholarship Breakfast is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The next Jamaica College Old Boys Association of Florida Annual Griffin Awards Breakfast will be on February 9th, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Woodlands Country Club 4600 Woodlands Boulevard, Tamarac, FL 33319.

Entertainment at the event will include internationally acclaimed saxophonist Mark Bunney, Jamaican Tenor extraordinaire Steve Higgins, and multi-talented percussionist Cornell Burton will be a Special Guest at the event.

The awardees will be announced at the breakfast.

The following are the scholarships for 2019:

  • Dr. Jason Scott Hamilton Engineering/ Robotics Scholarship 2019
  • Dr. Donald Dixon Science/Medical Scholarship 2019
  • Dr. Paul Kahn Science/Medical Scholarship 2019
  • Louis Hoyes Law/Humanities Scholarship 2019
  • Karl Marshall Business/Accounting Scholarship 2019
  • Danny Williams Business/Accounting Scholarship 2019
  • Steve Epstein Business/Accounting Scholarship 2019
  • Hugh Osborne Business/Accounting Scholarship 2019
  • Basil Bernard Business/Accounting Scholarship 2019
  • Ricklann McCalla Journalism/Education/Theatre & Visual Arts Scholarship 2019
  • Franz Hall Journalism/Education/Theatre & Visual Arts Scholarship 2019

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Source: Caribbean News

Grange signs historic sports cooperation agreement with China

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has described the sports cooperation agreement which she signed in the Chinese capital today (Friday) as “historic and extremely beneficial”.

Minister Grange and the General Manager of China Sport International Company (the state-owned sports cooperation agency) Mr Lu Guoguang officially signed the agreement which will see more than 400 Jamaican athletes travelling to China for training over the next three years.

Minister Grange said it was the first time that so many Jamaican athletes would benefit directly from a bilateral sports cooperation agreement.

“Our athletes have natural abilities but need assistance and the Government of Jamaica can only do so much, and so we sincerely thank you for the current project and we believe that the benefits are of tremendous value to our athletes,” said the Minister.

Although the signing of the document took place only today, implementation of the programme began in January of this year when a contingent of Chinese coaches and administrators arrived in Jamaica to assess certain national teams, collaborate with local coaches and administrators, and prepare for the first batch of 138 Jamaican athletes and coaches to arrive in China. The first batch — representing seven disciplines: Synchronised Swimming, Gymnastics, Swimming, Badminton, Women’s Volleyball, Women’s Football and Women’s Basketball — is currently completing 60 days of intense training at specialised facilities across China.

Mr Lu (speaking through an interpreter) said the Jamaican athletes made tremendous strides during training:

“In the two months we have made great improvement.  The first (main) improvement is the record of your athletes and in the two months together, the athletes from Jamaica and China live, eat and train together and have built a great relationship between each other.”

Ahead of signing the agreement in Beijing, Minister Grange travelled to some of the training centres in the cities of the Changsha and Kunming to observe the facilities, receive progress reports on the athletes from their Jamaican coaches and Chinese trainers, and to hear from the athletes their impression of the programme.  They all reported that the first year of the programme has been a success.

Minister Grange said:

“I’m happy to see first hand the vast improvement in the skill level of our athletes and to tour the facilities.  Our athletes have now been exposed to world class training facilities and to world class coaching and we will make sure that your investment is not wasted. We want to ensure that the infrastructure is in place for them to do well when they return to Jamaica and so we want to look at the development of our national stadium, for example.”

Under the agreement, the Chinese government will also donate equipment to the seven sporting disciplines.  The equipment is to arrive in Jamaica this year.

By: 

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Source: Caribbean News

The China Connection Part I (A Surprise Opportunity)

Since the 19th century when Jamaica began receiving Chinese migrants, primarily as indentured servants meant to fill the gap left by the abolition of enslaved blacks, the relationship between Jamaicans and the Chinese has been an interesting one. It is not uncommon to still hear some Jamaicans speak of Chinese persons negatively. Across our island, we see them owning numerous businesses namely restaurants and wholesales, and we often question their business practices, whether fairly or unfairly, based on their successes. In most recent years, there has been a mixture of praise and disapproval aimed at the Chinese as we witnessed their increased presence and involvement in Jamaica with our government and development projects island-wide. The Chinese have brought us highways that have significantly reduced travel time to far-reaching areas, but with this came questions about how land was acquired, why jobs got funnelled from Jamaicans and what the actual cost was to the country for the beautiful new roadways built.

China
My home away from home – the James Joyce Coffetel

These debates continue as do the many construction projects led by the Chinese. It is difficult to state having any specific feelings toward the Chinese personally. In my interactions with them, primarily through their businesses, I observed them to be industrious people but also quite insulated within their communities. Outside of this, I could not say much more. So, when I recently received an email that included Chinese characters in the subject line, in this age of spam and creative hacking, I immediately deleted the message without a second thought. A phone call the next day would bring to my attention that the email was in fact an invitation to participate in an upcoming seminar. Through my work, I had been selected to join a cohort of 14 Jamaican females to attend a seminar on capacity building in China… for 20 days!

An avid traveller who never needs a reason to get on a plane, I was surprisingly quite hesitant to accept this opportunity. I worried about how far away China was, what the food would be like, what the people would be like, and in general, what living in the country would be like for such an extended period. China was never on my bucket list, but now I had the opportunity to add it, and fortunately, I did. So, two weeks later I was on my way to China.

I departed on a Tuesday afternoon with luggage that I prayed would not be overweight given the cans of sardines, water crackers, Shirley biscuits, cereal, powdered milk and Chippies I had packed to ensure I had something to eat, just in case. After traversing two time zones, Kingston to New York and then New York to Beijing (technically two days of travelling), I arrived in China, stiff, exhausted and now curiously excited. Once through the standard immigration and luggage collection processes, the group gradually formed as our hosts for the trip signalled and corralled us in a waiting area in the airport. The adventure was about to begin!

We were guided to our waiting bus after quick introductions and were soon on our way to our first destination. Under the darkness of night, we drove through strange and busy streets despite the late hour, already trying to get information about what to expect from our hosts, as none of us had received a full agenda before the trip. We learnt that our workshop would begin the next day with an opening ceremony, followed by our first session. When we finally unloaded from the bus in front of the James Joyce Coffetel Hotel, collected luggage once again and awaited room keys to settle in for some rest, my mind was racing with thoughts of anticipation and residual nervousness. Nonetheless, I knew I was ready for whatever the next 20 days had in store.

*Stay tuned to Good News Jamaica for Part II – Understanding China’s Development

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Source: Caribbean News

JCF Launches New Branch to Restore and Maintain Public Order

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has increased its capacity to improve the safety of citizens, as well as restore and maintain public order, with the launch of its new Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB).

The branch, which is the result of a merger of the motorised patrol and traffic and highway divisions of the JCF, was officially launched during a ceremony at Harman Barracks in Kingston on Wednesday (August 29).

Headquartered in Kingston at the Elletson Road police complex, the branch is expected to result in improved compliance with the Road Traffic Act, reduced crime in public spaces, and increased public support to the JCF.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said that while the initial roll-out of the PSTEB’s operations will be in the Corporate Area, St. Catherine and major resort towns, it will eventually be expanded islandwide.

He noted that members of the branch have been specially trained to engage community members as they carry out their duties to deal with traffic, vending and the general population in public spaces, “which means their whole approach is somewhat different from the traditional way”.

“They have been trained to engage our public in a very positive way and restore not only public safety but build public trust and build public understanding with the police force as we go forward to ensure that the community, and members of the community, will feel safe,” he said.

The new branch consists of 700 members who had to undergo training in human rights and situational awareness, among other areas.

Dr. Chang noted that specifically, the PSTEB’s road-policing activities will concentrate on denying criminals the use of roads by enforcing the law, reducing road casualties, tracking the threat of criminal gangs operating in public spaces, and enhancing public confidence and reassurance by patrolling the roads.

He pointed out that one of the immediate tasks of the newly established branch is to assist with easing some of the traffic congestion expected for the back-to-school period, in light of ongoing roadworks along major thoroughfares.

“We expect them to have a positive impact in the back-to-school week. They are going out this week to get a feel of what’s happening out there. We expect this branch to work with the National Works Agency (NWA). There will still be some challenges, but I am confident that this team will work to ensure that the back-to-school week is much smoother than it was before,” the Minister said.

For his part, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, said establishment of the branch was necessary, as the JCF is aware that it needs to be “far more visible”, noting that through the increased presence of the police, “hopefully we can shape behaviour and not spend as much time on enforcement”.

“With high visibility, there needs to be high accessibility. So, we need to be more accessible to the public. We need to be more approachable, we need to be seen. We need to be the ‘go to’ people for whatever concerns the public has on safety issues, on security issues and, I dare say, as our presence become more and more felt out there, the public will be coming to us for just about everything,” he said.

The Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, which will feature motorcycle, motor car, bicycle and beat patrols, consists of three divisions – the Public Safety Division, Highway and Safety Patrol Division, and the Traffic Enforcement Division. Assigned officers will be easily identified in neon yellow uniforms and motorcycles. The motor vehicles are also specially marked for high visibility.

The unit’s strategic objectives are the overall improvement of public safety through strategic deployment of police assets; and a reduction in response time to demands for police service, especially in road accidents and domestic disputes.

It will also reduce crime and disorder with terrain-ready equipment, as well as targeted and sustained social-intervention strategies, in addition to which the public safety branch will be equipped with modern non-lethal equipment to assist in dealing with challenges on the roadway.

Original Article Found Here

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Source: Caribbean News

Farming with No Regrets

When Nicholas Anderson decided to venture into farming seven years ago, this was not his first career choice, but he has no regrets after taking this step into somewhat unfamiliar territory.

Through farming, which is his only source of income, Mr. Anderson has been able to sustain himself and his family as well as create employment for 18 members of his and surrounding communities.

Even though he grew up in rural Jamaica with his grandparents who reared goats, the concept of farming was still foreign to him, and it, therefore, took sheer persistence in the field until he found his footing.

“It worked itself out… it chose me,” Mr. Andersen tells JIS News.

When his first attempt at farming – rearing pigs – failed, Mr. Anderson says he was not deterred. He instead turned his next effort – a small plot of ginger – into a now thriving business.

It was this same tenacity that earned the 31-year-old, who hails from Reckfort in Clarendon, the coveted title of Young Farmer of the Year, during the recent staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show. He was also crowned Champion Ginger Farmer.

“It’s a very good feeling to know that the (recognition has been given to someone from the area I am from, which is a farming area. You never have anyone in my area who has risen to the level where I am at, at my age. So, it’s a great feeling for me. It’s a great accomplishment,” he says.

Although he now cultivates other crops, including Scotch bonnet pepper, cabbage, yam and dasheen, Mr. Anderson notes that “the real start was with ginger,” when in 2011 he heard about the Agriculture Ministry’s Export Division ginger supply programme.

This involved farmers growing and selling their ginger crops to the Export Division to supply the Japanese market.

“I started out with 250lb (of ginger) and after reaping that 250lb, I got 1,800lb and I plant the 1,800lb again and sell and make an increase again, and I (then) planted an acre,” he shares.

He continued on this trend of reinvesting in the business until he now harvests thousands of pounds of ginger during reaping season. Just two weeks ago, Mr. Anderson reaped more than 150,000lb of ginger.

The ambitious young man, who works along with his uncle, now operates his farm on 16 acres of land, a parcel of which is leased and some owned by his grandfather. He is currently seeking another 20 acres of land to expand his cultivation of Scotch bonnet peppers.

The Stacyville All-Age and Kellits High alumnus, notes that while farming has “its ups and downs”, with challenges, including praedial larceny and inclement weather, if given the option, he would again choose this source of income.

Mr. Anderson shares that since this year, praedial larcenists stole from one ginger field five times, taking 40lb of ginger the first time they struck. In total, they made away with 300lb, resulting in losses amounting to $90,000.

The undaunted farmer says he is wary of the thieves, whom he says targets his ginger crop as it is the most valuable, noting that he just has to stay a step ahead of the thieves “and dig it fast”.

He notes that while last year was a good season in terms of the weather, it has been “very rough” this year due to the prevailing drought, which has had an impact on his yields.

“That’s one of the things that really fight me the most, but, you know, I hold on. Some of the years I don’t make any money…we just get back what we plant,” he shares.

Mr. Anderson says that he is grateful for the assistance he has received throughout the years, which has helped him to improve on his farming techniques, and, in turn, boost his yields. Of note, he says, is the technical support he receives from the Government through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

He says that while he was not able to benefit from all the training opportunities the agency offers, due to his busy schedule, he is appreciative of the knowledge he has garnered from the sessions he attends. He notes, as well, that he works closely with the RADA extension officer that has been assigned to him.

Mr. Anderson has also been the beneficiary of fertiliser from the Government, through RADA. He was given a 50-lb bag of the product following Denbigh this year. He also received some fertiliser in the previous two years after the staging of the show.

The young farmer, who currently sells his produce to a processor in St. Ann, as well as higglers and hotel and supermarket suppliers, says he also harbours hopes of expanding his business and leaving a legacy for his six-year-old son.

He adds that he would love to get directly into the supermarket and hotel markets “which carry a much better price…; it would make a whole lot of difference”.

Mr. Anderson says he is happy he remained persistent and continued to cultivate the land as it has not only empowered him to help others but he has even surprised himself and proven that with true grit comes great rewards.

“Where I am at in farming now, to be frank with you, I didn’t expect it… . I am well grateful and well pleased,” he says.

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Source: Caribbean News

Fraser-Pryce Facilitates Waterhouse Scholarships

With two Olympic, seven World titles and the joint-fourth fastest 100-metre times in history, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, over the past decade, has built a legacy as one of the best female sprinters in history.

Over that same period, she has also steadily built an equally powerful legacy as a humanitarian.

Ten students from the impoverished Waterhouse community will, this academic year, benefit from academic scholarships  valued at just under $500,000, courtesy of the elite athlete through her Hugh Senior Scholarship Awards.

The money was raised from a 5K Run/Walk the athlete staged in her community on April 14 in honour of the late pastor of the Penwood Church of Christ. Senior died in September 2017.

“I speak with two different emotions; one of happiness for these kids, and one of sadness for the passing of a great man. Growing up in this church, I have always seen the efforts of Pastor Senior reaching out to help the less fortunate children and trying to ensure they get the basic opportunity of attending primary, high school or college,” said Fraser-Pryce who is still a member of the church.

“Under the umbrella of this church, many outreach activities have been established to assist community members. I will host this race annually in honour of his name and in an effort to assist those among us along the way to achieving their personal goals.”

Brent Dacosta is to be awarded a grant of $150,000 to attend the University of Technology as one of the first 10 beneficiaries. Fraser-Pryce is an alumnus of UTech.

Meanwhile, Andre Mason, Christina Hanson, Alaina McIntosh, Kayla McDonald and Amalie Thompson will receive $45,000 grants towards their high school education.

Cameron Miller, Makeba Haughton, and Dania Taylor will receive $30,000-grants towards their primary school education while Antoine Scott gets $20,000 towards his early childhood education.

The grants will be awarded at a ceremony at the Penwood Church of Christ in Waterhouse on Sunday, September 2.

The second staging of this SFP/Hugh Senior 5K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday January 19, 2019, inside the Waterhouse community.

Waterhouse has benefitted in other ways from the Fraser-Pryce’s largesse.

In May, she opened the newly refurbished Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Resource Centre that will be a refuge for more than 400 students, who will use it as a skills-training facility and play area. It will also serve as a homework and study centre.

The Digicel Foundation refurbished the centre at a cost of $5.7 million. Digicel’s sponsors the seven-time world champion.

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Source: Caribbean News

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