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Scotia offers $12.5 in 'Sandy' relief to schools, farmers

Friday, November 09, 2012    

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THE education and agriculture sectors are to receive $12.5 million from Scotiabank towards recovery efforts from damage sustained during the passage of Hurricane Sandy last month.

Norwich Primary School in Portland, which sustained extensive damage to its grade one block, is to receive $3 million to rebuild three classrooms, while five schools in St Mary -- Highgate Primary, Carron Hall Alll-Age, Carron Hall Infant, Bellefield Primary and Zion Hill Primary -- are also set to receive support from the bank to repair roofs, bathrooms, poultry houses and other structures damaged during the category one hurricane which affected the island two weeks ago.

St George's College in Kingston which had its library flooded during the hurricane is also earmarked to receive support, bringing Scotiabank's total contribution to schools to $8.3 million.

"We have partnered with the Ministry of Education to identify where they feel the greatest needs are and we have taken those and are underwriting the cost to repair these six schools," said Scotiabank President Bruce Bowen at a press briefing at the company's headquarters in Kingston on Wednesday.

Bowen also announced that the company was partnering with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and has set aside another $3 million to assist small farmers with seeds, pesticides and fertiliser. He said branch managers would be working with RADA to identify and respond to the need arising from damage by Hurricane Sandy, especially in eastern parishes.

"We will be assisting dozens of small farmers across our entire branch network in consultation with RADA to help resuscitate their farms, to ensure that they have got some extra resources to rebuild their lives and help support the agricultural sector," he explained.

Head of RADA Harold Spaulding expressed appreciation to Scotiabank on behalf of the farmers who will benefit.

"What we are able to do at RADA, we wouldn't be able to cover all the needs, so the more help we can get, the merrier. We commit ourselves to working with Scotiabank in these three parishes to see how best we can pool resources for our farmers," he said.

Spaulding added: "I am convinced that the farmers will recover; we have been this route before and we will recover."

Scotiabank has also partnered with the Salvation Army to donate $1.2 million to purchase and distribute mattresses to families in Pumpkin Bottom, Hanover whose homes were flooded when the Maggoty River overflowed its banks last weekend.

"They (Salvation Army) have indicated that they have an urgent need for mattresses to get out to people who have been most affected and we'll be working with them to get out at least 100 mattresses immediately to persons most in need," Bowen said, adding that Scotiabank volunteers would also be supporting other projects across the island.

Scotiabank has also activated a $500-million fund which will be made available between November 9 and December 28 designed specifically to provide loans to home owners and businesses to fund expenditures arising from hurricane damage. The loan will be available at reduced rates of 9.75 per cent and 11.75 per cent.

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