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Jamaica to Strengthen Technical Co-Operation with Rwanda

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#Kingston, April 16, 2022 – Jamaica is to strengthen its technical cooperation with the Republic of Rwanda in several fields, including culture, information and communications technology (ICT), health, tourism and sport.

This was disclosed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in his address at a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament on Thursday (April 14), which was held as part of activities for the three-day State visit of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame.

“We congratulate and admire Rwanda for its many milestone achievements over the past 28 years, and we believe that there is much for us to share and learn from each other,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness said the country is also looking forward to advancing both States’ economic relations through increased trade and investment prospects, particularly as it relates to logistics, special economic zones, agriculture and manufacturing.

“I also welcome the other occasions and events during this visit that will allow for us to share views and opinions on a variety of global and local issues,” he said.

Mr. Holness noted that Jamaica and Rwanda have forged a collaborative partnership since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998, and that the Rwandan President’s visit is a great opportunity to deepen both countries’ collaboration at the bilateral level and maximise the level of engagement.

“Indeed, the Jamaica/Rwanda relationship is one of kinship, and so we hope to continue to deepen our friendship, in keeping with my Administration’s goal to strengthen engagement with the African continent,” he said.

The Prime Minister stressed that Rwanda is a powerhouse of socio-economic development and advancement, and, like Jamaica, has a level of influence and impact that far surpasses its geographical size.

“Rwanda has overcome unimaginable challenges and it now embraces its rightful place in regional and global leadership. Rwanda’s rise and its status as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies has been achieved under President Kagame’s able leadership, steady guidance, built upon his fight for the country’s liberation,” he said.

Mr. Holness noted that Rwanda is now a model of the true spirit of “umuganda” – the coming together in a common purpose to achieve an outcome – adding that Rwanda is also a practical voice for environmental management and innovation and stands as a shining example in its empowerment of women and girls.

In his address, President Kagame congratulated the country on the launch of its celebrations last evening marking the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence, which he said, was “a fitting tribute to the enormous progress Jamaica has made”.

“Independence is a date in history, but it is also a mindset. The power of an anniversary comes from the opportunity to remind a new generation of the struggles that came before. Even more important is upholding the spirit of self-reliance needed to sustain and deepen what has been accomplished in the time since,” he said.

The Rwandan President also expressed the desire to strengthen ties with Jamaica, noting that several Jamaican professionals residing in Rwanda have been making meaningful contributions to the African continent.

“As Rwanda, we are also keen to cooperate with Jamaica much more closely and share experiences in trade and investment, as well as national unity and citizen development. Let’s exchange with each other directly and, thereby, honour the history that joins us, and make it a potent force for practical cooperation in the modern world,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Marisa Dalrymple Philibert; and President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson, also welcomed President Kagame in their remarks.

President Kagame’s visit is intended to deepen bilateral relations between Jamaica and Rwanda. He has the distinction of being the first Rwandan Head of State to visit Jamaica.

 

Contact: Alecia Smith

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Jamaica Rum Festival Endorsed

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#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, endorsed this year’s fourth staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival at the Aqueduct in Rose Hall, St. James, on Saturday (June 25).

Ms. Grange, who officially opened the event, noted that rum, and spirits in general, has deep cultural significance in Jamaica, spanning centuries.

“From the cane fields, where our enslaved ancestors worked, through to today, where we have the best rum in the world… we have a lot to be proud of,” she added.

For his part, Tourism Director, Donovan White, commended the organisers of the festival, which attracted a significant number of patrons, including visitors from overseas.  He said the Ministry of Tourism, through the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), was pleased to be a partner in the event that showcased top quality products by local rum purveyors.

Minister Grange, representatives from the Tourism Ministry’s agencies, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, were presented with limited edition Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.

 

Contact; Okoye Henry

Release: JIS

 

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Education Ministry Recommits to Expanding Uniformed Groups in Schools

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#Jamaica, June 27, 2022 – The Ministry of Education and Youth remains committed to increasing the number of uniformed groups in schools.  This is in keeping with its thrust to fulfill this mission under the Safety and Security in Schools Programme, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has said.  She further noted that “it is a part of our series of measures to improve discipline among students.”

Mrs. Williams was speaking during the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) uniformed groups church service on Sunday (June 26).  The service was held at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Cross Roads, Kingston.

Mrs. Williams remarks came against the background of what she said were “heightened concerns” in recent months over incidents of violence in schools across Jamaica and calls for a more concerted effort to provide civic and character education for students.  She noted that several initiatives within the Ministry to address these concerns were being expanded, among them support for uniformed groups in schools.

“The Ministry has been supporting uniformed youth groups in the development of a Three-Year Strategic Plan and [Memoranda of Understanding] with individual groups which will, at one and the same time, advance the missions of the groups and the mandate of the Ministry to these groups,” Mrs. Williams added.

The Minister pointed out that these cohorts, including Girl Guides, Brownies, Boys Brigade, Cub Scouts, Cadets and Pathfinders, “have played an invaluable role in shaping the character and awakening the social conscience of our young people for decades.”

“It has been well-established that students who participate in clubs are more out-going as they are engaged in activities that support socialisation with their peers. These students tend to be more comfortable in group settings where communication and team-work are necessary. This is a valuable asset as it will also benefit these students outside of the school setting,” she stated.

Mrs. Williams said the activities engaged in at meetings also complement classroom learning and emphasise social, emotional, and physical development.

Additionally, she said they provide opportunities for informal learning and life experiences.

“Uniformed youth groups represent a cohort of the nation’s youth that is organised around a set of core values, such as honour, discipline, service, loyalty, commitment, integrity, perseverance, industry and spiritual fortitude,” the Minister emphasised.

She noted that while most are based in schools, units may also be organised at church and community levels.

“Indeed, we know that the church has been a main source through which many new members are recruited. There is a challenge, however, and that is, over the past few years, there has not been as robust an interest in these groups as in previous decades,” Mrs. Williams indicated.

She said it was acknowledged that the society’s youth now have many more interests and distractions, “but we should still try to encourage them to see the value in participating in groups such as these”, while citing an “urgent need” for volunteer adult leaders.

The Minister also noted that older and more traditional groups, such as Boys Scouts and Girl Guides, are international in scope and maintain linkages with the worldwide movements.

“Support from these fraternal organisations has, however, diminished over the years, and local organisations must find the resources to sustain operations and pay the required affiliation fees. So once again, it is important that we, in the local community, pitch in to provide the needed support,” she added.

In this regard, the Minister commended members of the uniformed groups and CVSS for ongoing efforts to forge long-term alliances that facilitate mutual support and joint action.

Further, she said, for representing the concerns of the social sector, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, at the regional and international levels.

“We, as a collective, continue to dedicate ourselves to creating a supportive and safe environment for our students to learn and experience as much as possible to become productive members of society,” Mrs. Williams stated.

 

Contact: Douglas McIntosh

Release: JIS

 

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Anguilla Economic Affairs Minister Quits; calling it a conscience move

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#Anquilla, June 27, 2022 – After penning a three-page resignation letter to Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster, the Minister of Economic Development, Commerce, Information Technology and Natural Resources, Kyle Hodge has officially resigned from the Anguilla Progressive Movement (APM).

“I am submitting this letter of resignation because my conscience and commitments to the people of Anguilla no longer permit me to serve as a member of the Anguilla Progressive Movement and minister of government in your administration,” he wrote.

Included in his letter are his reasons for resigning and that entails his concerns on Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is scheduled to come into Force on July 1, the lack of organised leadership, and the lack of party structure.

“I believe that my dissenting vote on the Good and Services Tax (GST) marked the initial fraying of our relationship; since then we have not been on the same page. There is a mutual lack of trust and understanding and most importantly, our goals for the Anguillan people have fully diverged and there is little common ground,” said the resigned minister.

He also shared his concern regarding the approach and tone of the government towards Anguillans.

“Politics in Anguilla must change and it actually started when the people demanded more of use and I am very comfortable with that demand. You deserve nothing less,” said Hodge in a Facebook post. He also thanked the people who have supported him in his decision to resign.

Hodge added that he will continue to serve the people who elected him since he will still be a member of the House of Assembly.

He said, “my resignation today does not mean GST disappears, so let us continue to unite our efforts to either make it more palatable or find other ways to collect the revenue that is needed to run the country. I wish the entire government a healthy and prosperous term in office. I also take this time to commend you for the relief package granted to the people of Anguilla as we deal with hyperinflation in Anguilla.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as Minister of Economic Development, Investment, Commerce, Natural Resources and Information Technology. I wish you the very best politically and otherwise.”

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