Senate pays tribute to woman who found, handed over cash

Staff reporter

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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PRESIDENT of the Senate Tom Tavares-Finson says it is fitting to recognise the woman who found a large sum of money in the booth of an automated banking Machine (ABM) on East Queen Street in downtown Kingston last month and returned it.

“I think the country was impressed by her action; she could have done something different and it is always important for us to encourage persons who are on the right track,” the Senate president said during Friday's sitting.

The 24-year-old woman, Ackaisha Green, whose mother referred to her as the “stupidest child” she had, for returning all the money, concluded later that handing over the money was the right thing to do.

Noting that the invitation was extended to her mother as well, the Senate president said: “I think that the country should be forgiving for mom and just recognise mom and daughter, and ensure that whatever they achieve now is long-lasting.”

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith, said Green's action has developed a new conversation on the importance of honesty.

Senator Johnson Smith, in her commendation, said Green saw something that could have been an easy path to riches, but despite the tough choice the mother of two made the right choice.

At the same time, she encouraged Green to plan wisely and invest in her son's future.

“Thanks for making the right choice to demonstrate that honesty pays,” she said.

Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Donna Scott Mottely, said she knew of an individual who had found money in an ABM booth in Portmore, St Catherine and returned it. However, she said that Green's circumstances made the story compelling.

At the same time, Senator Mottely said Green's action should be the norm.

Green and her mother, Yvonne Jones, were later presented with gift baskets, courtesy of GraceKennedy Limited.

Within minutes of the story's publication in then Jamaica Observer, two Mondays ago, readers locally and overseas contacted the newspaper offering to help Green and reward her for her honesty.

When the Observer visited her home last month she made it clear that she wanted to pursue a housekeeping course at the HEART Trust/NTA, as she said she needed a skill that would allow her to sustain her family.

Her hope of pursuing the course at HEART became a reality as the agency not only had her fill out an assessment paper, but named her its first ambassador.

“We are going to take you around to speak to other young people, to spread the message, so when we do our professional and development sessions we are going to be inviting you to ensure that you are that beacon of hope for young people. We are truly heartened and we look forward to working with you,” HEART Trust/NTA director of employment and career services, Rayharna Wright, told Green at the agency's Oxford Road office in St Andrew.

In addition to the HEART Trust/NTA, NCB Foundation, Bank of Jamaica, and KingAlarm Limited expressed interest in assisting her. Some of the readers who pledged to help said they wanted to do so without fanfare.

Professor Donna Hope from The University of the West Indies, who was at the HEART Trust/NTA office, said she was moved by Green's story.

On Tuesday, Green was given $1.2 million for her honesty.

The reward from J Wray & Nephew (JWN) Limited will mostly go towards the education of Green and her two sons, eight-year-old Jevanie and two-year-old Joshua.

JWN said $1,000,000 is earmarked for direct tuition, while $100,000 was provided in vouchers to purchase food and an additional $100,000 has been set aside for an entrepreneurial venture and a refrigerator, which she said is badly needed.

Additionally, JWN made representation, on behalf of Green, to Nestle Jamaica Ltd, in a partnership that will see the company providing one year's supply of milk products to her two sons.

Last week, Green received a cellular phone and accessories, along with phone credit from Digicel.

Following her appearance in the Senate yesterday, Green described the experience as awesome.

“I didn't expect it. It was my first time in Parliament and I got to see what it was all about,” she said.

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