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Sherry-Ann Pryce: Lucky Number Seven

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“No is not never. Just keep trying.”

 

#Jamaica, November 15, 2023 – Those were the sentiments expressed by Sherry-Ann Pryce, one of the newest homeowners at the NHT’s Hummingbird Meadows (Phase 2) located in Clarendon.

The 33-year-old said it was her seventh time applying for one of the NHT’s units, but she had hope and confidence that the seventh time would be her breakthrough because, after all, ‘seven is God’s perfect number.’

The Senior Teacher at Jonathan Grant High School, St Catherine, admits that her faith kept her resilient and focused. She said that though she applied and was not selected on six different occasions, she had no intention of giving up.

“NHT will always be there. So, there will always be developments. There will always be land. When I didn’t get through, I said, perhaps I need more points, so I worked a little longer and continued to apply,” she said.

The Clarendon native said receiving the call that she was shortlisted for one of the one-bedroom units of the development’s 406 housing solutions brought such joy and excitement to her. When asked what she looked forward to doing the most now as a homeowner, she said,

“You know, I feel like I am in a dream. I haven’t processed it. I am the first person in my family to get a house as a single person. I did not apply with anyone else, I did not build with someone. This is my house.”

Her childhood experience of living in different communities, she said, has shaped the woman she is today. She noted that those experiences were an additional push in ensuring she had a place of her own, offering her a sense of security and stability. Sherry-Ann hopes her achievement will be an additional boost to her siblings in their own pursuits of homeownership.

Humming Bird Meadows is a two phase development which consists of five-hundred and fifty-six (556) housing solutions, with phase one accounting for the remaining 150 solutions. It was one of two schemes that the National Housing Trust (NHT) handed over on Friday (November 10).

The other development, Monymusk Country Estate, Phase 2 in Hayes, Clarendon consists of three hundred and fifty-one (351) housing solutions.  That housing scheme consists of one hundred and thirty-two (132) one bedroom units, eighty-eight (88) two bedroom units and one hundred and thirty-one (131) Serviced Lots.

 To those contributors who may feel dismayed, Sherry Ann had this to say,

“Your time is your time. There will always be other opportunities, whether it be land or house, there will always be opportunities. So, apply, apply, apply.”

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Homestead Primary Gets Smart Room

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#Kingston, December 10, 2023 – Students attending the St. Catherine-based Homestead Primary and Infant School  now have access to a smartroom, which is equipped with information and communications technology (ICT) devices to enhance learning.

Digicel Foundation retrofitted an existing space to accommodate the smartroom, which represents an investment of US$60,000.

It boasts 12 laptops, 12 tablets, a smart board, a printer, air-conditioning units and is furnished with desks and chairs. There is also a smart lock for safety, and the school installed a camera system.

The room can accommodate 24 students at any one time.

Teachers received several days of intensive training on how to use the smart board.

Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, who delivered the keynote address during Wednesday’s (December 6) opening of the facility, said she was pleased that “a private corporate entity has reached out to another of our public educational institutions to help with its infrastructure and teaching and learning programmes”.

“We are also happy for this project, as it fits right in with our focus in introducing Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics  (STEM) education and technical, vocational education and training in a more expansive way at the lower levels of the system than we now do,” she noted.

Minister Williams said the rapid technological advances and the move towards a knowledge-based society require a reassessment of the content and delivery of education to better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century.

As such, she said that children must be provided with a good foundation that will enable them to perform with confidence in the digital age.

Social Development Consultant with the Digicel Foundation, Miguel Williams, in his remarks, informed that the company has invested more than US$630,000 in the establishment of 10 smartrooms in primary schools across the island by 2024.

He noted that the smartroom initiative forms part of Digicel Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics  (STEAM) project, which is  aimed at helping to bridge the digital divide.

“We believe that by investing in education, particularly in STEAM, we are investing in the future leaders, scientists, engineers, and creative minds who will drive our nation forward,” he noted.

“The world is rapidly evolving, and it is imperative that our young minds are equipped with the skills and knowledge that will empower them to thrive in an ever-changing landscape,” Mr. Williams said.

Principal of the school, Sophia Deer, noted that the smartroom will not only advance STEAM education but support the institution’s special education programme.

“We are really grateful,” she said.

Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South Central, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, said that the investment is good for the school and the community and urged the students to make good use of the investment.

“We are advancing the education process at Homestead, and this smartroom falls in line with the Government’s commitment to establish smart communities and promote greater appreciation for technology,” he said.

 

Contact: Garfield L. Angus

Release: JIS

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Ali delivers powerful speech at Essequibo amidst Venezuela conflict

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#Guyana, December 10, 2023 – “We shall never be defeated, we will be successful, no enemy, no one, no one can take away this success from us.” These are the words of Irfaan Ali, the president of Guyana as he visited the Venezuela threatened Essequibo on December 6th.

The president visited Essequibo and delivered a powerful and empowering speech to the residents as their home is threatened by the claim over the land by Venezuela.

Ali, reassured the people of Essequibo that the region belongs to them and Guyana, and no one else.

“Essequibo belongs to Guyana, Essequibo belongs to every single Guyanese,” he stated.

“No one shall [rise] over us,” he also said.

Ali starts his address as a light shower of rain fell saying, “Good morning Essequibo, good morning Guyana, there is a gentle drizzle, as we say here in Guyana, and this gentle drizzle is a reminder that we are all together under the one banner of humanity, and we are all together in this country under the one banner of Guayna, [whether we are from Essequibo, Berbise or Demerara, we are together under that one powerful concept and that concept is that we are Guyanese.”

Ali continued to initiate a call and response, solidifying the identity of his people.

“Let me hear you say that, we are Guyanese,” he maintained, as the people repeated.

President Ali expressed to the people that Guyana is responding to the issue with Venezuela by leading by example and in “love.”

He added that Guyana is responding by banding together, “connecting hands” in peace and love which he says shows the world that Guyana believes in human connection, human interconnection, human dignity and a human barrier, which peace and love are primary and important.

Ali continued to point out that their efforts, convening in Essequibo and across the country, goes beyond a physical connection.

“It is a psychological connection,” he says, adding that it serves as a reminder that Guyana is one consistent link and that the country is strongest when the people work together, and can’t be penetrated easily.

This togetherness Ali speaks of is one he says can stand against any challenge, alluding to Venezuela’s clearly expressed determination to claim Essequibo.

He says that countries and regions around the world support Guyana against the fact that Essequibo belongs to Guyanese people and not Venezuelans.

Ali chanted that Guyana is not on sinking sand but on a solid foundation, hinting at their resilience and willingness to fight for Essequibo.

“We stand on a strong foundation of truth, honour and dignity, and that truth, honour and dignity is that Essequibo is Guyana, Essequibo belongs to Guyana,” he again emphasized.

Guyana’s borders are secure and will remain so, Ali said, as he saluted those who are willing to make sure that Essequibo stays out of the hands of Venezuela by strengthening its borders, buoying up the spirits of the Guyanese people.

He called on the Venezuelan government to act on the interest of its people, the future of Venezuela as well as in the interest of “dignity” and respect the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

He further stated that Venezuela has a responsibility to every country on the globe and within the Caribbean region, later adding that Guyana and Venezuela will have to live together as neighbors as he neared the end of his address.

“No one shall [rise] over us,” he said.

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World at a Tipping Point, Mottley of Barbados doubles down on her Climate Crisis message

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

December 10, 2023 – There is an urgent need for a global methane agreement to drive the fight against worsening the climate crisis. Otherwise temperatures will continue to increase and more lives will be lost.

Mia Amor Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, known for her firm advocacy and award winning dedication to vocalising the path toward creating a safer planet, made the remark at this year’s Cop28 conference in the UAE.

With 180 seconds to speak, Mottley made powerful points regarding the needs for winning against climate change effects.

She expressed that without change in the approach to the climate crisis, the results will be catastrophic.

Regarding the global methane agreements, which she says the world needs, to help drive “concrete action,” to control methane, as the damage I can cause in the near future, exceeds that of Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

For progress to be made with methane control, she says oil and gas companies need to agree to fix leaks in their pipelines  as well as stop flaring.

Mottley highlights this against the fact that “oil and gas operations are the largest sources of methane methane emissions from the energy sector,” according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In continuation, Mottley continues to speak about other factors in relation to methane, that need reform to cater to a safe and more resilient earth in light of climate change.

The prime minister refers to farming and waste management practices which she maintained must change in order to control the level of methane that the world is seeing.

Emphasizing her argument she said, “ the science is simple, to turn down the heat, you simply have to turn down the methane, and until we accept that, we will go over a tipping point.”

Tying the issue of capital into her argument, Mottley, expressed that she has exhausted the point that long term capital is needed to stop the world leaders from choosing between people and planet. Regarding this, the attitude towards access to capital must change, she also said.

Calling attention to the Bridgetown Initiative and the Paris Plan for action, she said they all outline that the issues of methane and capital are “tipping points” that the world needs to pass.

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