KINGSTON, Feb. 27 (JIS): It was a day of cultural extravagance and celebration at the Norman Manley High School in Kingston on February 27, as the institution hosted the official ceremony to mark Jamaica Day 2015.
The Maxfield Avenue School was alive with excitement, as ecstatic students and teachers showcased aspects of Jamaica’s rich and diverse cultural heritage through dance, music, drama and poetry.
Special emphasis was placed on the country’s friendship and historical bond with its Caribbean and Latin American neighbours, such as Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Cuba. This was highlighted in the theme – ‘Celebrating Jamaica: Celebrating Regional Friendships from Boukman to Bolivar’.
There were also booths mounted by several organisations, including the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); City of Kingston Credit Union; Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS); and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who brought greetings at the ceremony, told the students that Jamaica Day is an opportunity for students and the wider society to focus on what it means to be Jamaican and to promote those qualities.
“We have a lot to be proud of as Jamaicans. Jamaica has provided a home for many like Bolivar and an inspiration for many like Boukman. Our people have also contributed to the socio-political and economic development of other countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.
“We helped to build the Panama Canal, and we helped to broker development in Costa Rica. We have cut cane and built roads in Cuba, and we started the sugar industry in Colombia. We are a people who go many places and carry our distinctive strength,” the Minister added.
He said Jamaica Day is also an invitation for Jamaicans to look beyond the confines of their own island and to learn more about the friendship and similarities of “those who surround us in the Caribbean region.”
In his remarks, Minister of Finance and Planning and Member of Parliament for East Central St. Andrew, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, told the students that they must remain mindful of the fact that they are a part of a regional community, and that they have a role to play in the upliftment of the entire human race.
“If there is anything that marks our history, it is that we are a people that have been conscious of our responsibilities to the rest of the world, and who have benefited from the support and assistance of other countries. As we have received, so have we tried to give,” he said.
For her part, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angela Brown Burke, said that Kingston has played an important role in Jamaica’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, which can be traced as far back as 1923, when the council was first established.
“Kingston is known as the cradle of culture, not just in Jamaica, but across the entire Caribbean, and we have been home to many (renowned figures), including Simon Bolivar, liberator and national hero of Venezuela,” she noted.
Mrs. Brown Burke said she is eagerly looking forward to the redevelopment of downtown Kingston and the repositioning of Kingston as a cultural and creative city.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of Venezuela to Jamaica, Her Excellency Maria Ortega Mendoza, said she was honoured to celebrate with the students of Norman Manley High, not just Jamaica’s rich legacy, but also regional friendship and togetherness.
“It is also an honour to pay tribute to our heroes – Boukman, Bolivar, Marcus Garvey, and Norman Manley,” she said.
This year’s Jamaica Day activities at Norman Manley High also included the development of a peer mentorship programme, in which senior students of the school will mentor students from Maxfield Park and Rousseau Primary Schools.
Volunteers from the high school will also implement projects with the Maxfield Park Children’s Home.
Jamaica Day, which started in 2002, was celebrated in schools across the island.
Over 68,000 STAYED HOME in Bahamas Elections; We have BEST and WORST for Voter Participation
#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – The just-concluded General Election in Bahamas has presented a new shift in governance. The former ruling part, Free National Movement, lost nearly all the electoral seats it secured in the 2017 general elections. However, this seems a swap of the Progressive Liberal party’s score in the 2017 general elections in which the former ruling party (FNM) won nearly all the parliamentary seats.
68,000 STAYED AWAY
While the FNM secured 35 out of 39 seats in the 2017 ballot, leaving only four slots for the Opposition, the 2021 elections presented “new day” with the Opposition clinching 32 parliamentary seats, leaving the former ruling party FNM with only seven slots.
However, the election results showed a significant drop in voter turnout compared to the 2017 election results. Out of 194,494 registered voters in The Bahamas, only 126,414 voted, translating to 65 per cent voter turnout.
PREVIOUS ELECTION HIGHER
This was different from the previous election in which 160,407 out of 181,543 registered voters cast their ballots, translating to a remarkable 88.36 per cent voter turnout.
Being the first election in the island nation since the Covid-19 struck the Caribbean; the dismal voter turnout could be attributed to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in The Bahamas and the current countermeasures taken by individuals to avoid contracting the deadly virus.
It could also be voter apathy.
BEST IN SHOW
Despite coronavirus prevalence in the country, North Andros & Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and Mangrove Cay & South Andros constituencies recorded an impressive voter turnout of 77.99 per cent, 76.11 per cent and 73.06 per cent respectively.
North Andros & Berry Islands had 2,126 out of 2,569 registered voters cast their ballots, followed by 1,255 out of 1,622 in Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, and 1,706 out of 2,164 registered voters in Mangrove Cay & South Andros.
VERY LOW SHOW
The bottom three constituencies in terms of voter turnout include Bamboo Town, which had 3,436 out of 5,838 (58.63 per cent) registered voters cast their ballot, followed by Garden Hills with 3,033 out of 5,287 (57.09 per cent), and Central & South Abaco falling at the bottom of the list with 1,844 out of 3,271 (55.96 per cent).
COVID Works programme launched by Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development
#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – The Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, the Honourable Akierra Mary Deanne Missick and the Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development team are pleased to announce the launch of the COVID WORKS Programme, that went live on September 1, 2021.
The Programme seeks to support many who have lost jobs and livelihoods, while providing labour intensive work for economic exchange opportunities for persons to be engaged.
Works are set out in three (3) levels and comprise a variety of categories example, cleaning, road works, demolition and general construction to name a few.
Level 1 – value $1,500 – $9,999
Level 2 – value $10,000 – $39,999
Level 3 – value $40,000 – $70,000
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Hon. Missick said, “We are very much mindful of the impact that restrictions introduced by Government in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, has had on the islands, many continue to experience financial hardship. Whilst, the hospitality and construction sectors in Providenciales have rebounded well, as an Administration, we cannot rest knowing that other industries are still limping along.
As a result, during the remainder of this financial year, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government has now launched the COVID Works Programme to provide an opportunity for Petty and Small Contractors to assist the Government in the enhancement of our communities, through programmed works, to the benefit of all of us as residents”.
The Minister went on to note, “This Programme is set to the tune of US$5,000,000.00, and works will be rolled out across the Islands in batches, as we have to ensure that we do not go beyond the allotted expenditure and that financial oversight and transparency are maintained.”
The initial batch of works for South Caicos, which comprised the following, was returned and evaluated on Monday, September 13, 2021 and included:
Demolition- Queen’s Shed
Demolition- Distribution Concrete Tank
Demolition- Old Clinic Building
Demolition- DECR Building
Demolition- Library Building
Repair of Water Cistern
Works for Grand Turk included:
Demolition- Blood Bank Building
Demolition- Geriatric Ward Building
Demolition- Kitchen Building
Demolition- X-ray Building
All returning bids must be sent to the COVID Works email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kindly note that as of Monday, September 20, 2021, the following works are planned to be released:
Beach Cleaning (Eastern portion of Grand Turk)
Street Cleaning (All areas)
Beach cleaning (Areas of Shore Club and Five Cays)
Street Cleaning (All areas)
A number of other works for Middle & North Caicos, as well as Salt Cay will be released shortly. This is a six month program that will spread throughout the TCI and we encourage persons to continue to register via email@example.com or the local Public Works Department and District Commissioners’ offices, to be eligible for this opportunity.
These works will continue on a monthly basis and the programme will come to an end in March 2022.
BAHAMAS: Nine new Cabinet ministers sworn-in
#TheBahamas, September 21, 2021 – Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis today introduced the first set of new Cabinet ministers with portfolios covering the Attorney General, Foreign Affairs, Education, Works and Public Utilities, Health and Wellness, Government Affairs, Agriculture, National Security and Legal Affairs.
The nine ministers were sworn-in on Monday 20 September 2021 by Governor-General the Most Hon. Sir Cornelius A. Smith during ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Center.
“They are the initial members of a Cabinet which will reflect the breadth and depth of the competencies and characteristics of our team: experience combined with innovation; expertise combined with a willingness to see things anew; integrity and a strong sense of purpose,” said Prime Minister Davis.
“They are receiving these appointments because of their determination to get things done.”
- Senator the Hon. L. Ryan Pinder, Attorney General;
- Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service;
- Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Education, and Technical and Vocational Training;
- Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Works and Utilities;
- Dr. Hon. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness;
- Senator the Hon. Michael Halkitis, Minister of Government Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate;
- Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs;
- Hon. Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security; and
- Hon. Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs.
“I am confident that these first-appointed members of our Cabinet team are ready to deliver on the promise of a New Day for our Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Davis pledged to move with urgency to address the economic and health crises that are faced by The Bahamas.
Many thousands of Bahamians are out of work, people are losing too many loved ones to the COVID-19 virus and Bahamian schoolchildren are falling behind, said Prime Minister Davis.
“I want to be clear: we are not here to tinker at the edges of these problems,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are here to meet them head on.”
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