Western News

Ed Bartlett cites educational assistance to students his greatest accomplishment

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Despite his many accolades, including the World's Best Tourism Minister award, executive member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Edmund Bartlett has singled out the provision of educational grants to students in his St James East Central constituency as the greatest achievement in his political life, which spans over four decades.

“My years of joy and satisfaction in the public service has not been as minister of tourism, my years of satisfaction and joy in tourism has not been in the executive leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party that I have served for 40 years and more; my years of satisfaction and glory has been in the lives of the young people of the constituencies that have been transformed and made better,” an emotional Bartlett argued.

Bartlett fought unsuccessfully to suppress his emotions after four tertiary-level students, during a video presentation, narrated how scholarships from his East Central St James Scholarship and Welfare Fund (ECSJWF) have assisted their educational journey, during the annual tertiary scholarship awards held at the Iberostar hotel in the parish last week.

This year some $10 million in scholarships have been disbursed by the ECSJWF, which provides assistance for students from primary through to the tertiary level.

“It's the absolutely wrong moment to ask me to speak. I really just went through a very emotional moment a while ago. I truly, truly was touched. If ever there was a sense of real accomplishment, if ever there was a sense of making a contribution, if ever there was a sense of recognition of the value of what I have tried to do the past 30-odd years, if ever there was that moment, it was a while ago,” a passionate Bartlett said, shortly after he was asked to give his remarks.

“So I tell you these things bring goose pimples all over me and a little tug of tears from time to time. But I want you to know that is why I exist. I would not be in politics this long if it weren't for you (students) and the commitment that I have to see you through, it means everything to me.”

He highlighted that the educational programme, which was born in 1980 while he was Member of Parliament (MP) in St Andrew Eastern and strengthened since he took over the St James East Central constituency in 2002, has gone uninterrupted, even when his party was in Opposition for years.

“It continued when we were in Opposition. I just wanted to make that point because some people believe that the commitment is only when you are a beneficiary of the largess of the State. But the programme continued when we were in Opposition. For the 18 years that we were in Opposition there wasn't a year that we did not have this programme for the children of Jamaica,” Bartlett pointed out.

Floyd Green, minister of state in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Agriculture and MP for St Elizabeth South Western, who was the guest speaker at the awards function during which 76 tertiary-level students received grants, conceded that he is emulating the senior politician.

“I come here to thief ideas and carry back to South West St Elizabeth. To be honest, the last time I was here, Minister invited me for his primary awards and as night follows day, when I went back to South West, I introduced my own primary awards. And we are two years in and my awards...and guess what I did this year, minister, this year I have introduced a tertiary award,” Green stated.


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