Kudos to Supreme Ventures Foundation

Editorial

Kudos to Supreme Ventures Foundation

Monday, February 10, 2020

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Sadly, down the years Jamaicans have become used to hearing of fires at State-run children's homes — facilities which are all too often dilapidated and overcrowded.

The most tragic occurred close to 11 years ago, on May 22, 2009, at Armadale Juvenile Correctional Centre in St Ann. Seven teenage girls died as a result of a fire which destroyed the facility which was said to be housing 70 wards when its capacity was listed as 40.

Then, in January 2018, two girls — 12 and 16 years old — died when fire engulfed Walker's Place of Safety on Lyndhurst Crescent in Kingston.

There have been others, including last August when a blaze destroyed the upper floor of National Children's Home in Papine. Thankfully, there were no deaths or injuries in that instance.

Against all that this newspaper joins well-thinking Jamaicans in applauding Supreme Ventures Foundation (SVF) for its partnership with the Government in providing fire alarm systems for children's homes across the country.

We are told that the project falls under a $30-million fire safety memorandum of understanding between SVF and the Ministry of Education and Youth.
A number of children's homes have already received systems with the first year of the two-year project set to be completed soon.

The latest to benefit is Maxfield Park Children's Home which, we are told, now has a newly installed $2.8-million state-of-the-art fire alarm system.

Says SVF Director Ms Heather Goldson: “Our goal posts are set high, and we have deliberately set them that way in order to achieve maximum impact in a relatively short period of time. The project will see 30 State homes across the island receiving fully upgraded fire alarm systems, training from our partners, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, and in some instances perimeter fencing by February 2021. We set out to pump over $30 million into this project, and we are on budget and on target.”

Ms Goldson is right on target when she tells us that, “When emergency situations arise, a fully functioning alarm system and well-trained staff can prove to be the difference between life and tragedy.”

We are at one with junior minister for education Mr Alando Terrelonge as saying the Supreme Ventures Foundation's partnership with government agencies represents a prime example of corporate Jamaica “stepping up to the plate” to help deal with problems and challenges facing the wider population.

In terms of the danger posed by fire, we suspect all is not hunky-dory at various adult State-run facilities, including prisons, homes for the elderly and infirm, and perhaps even hospitals.

In that respect, the Government would do well, if it has not already done so, to seek more partnerships along the lines of the one with SVF in making all such State-run facilities more secure.


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