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Now that we found love…

Jean
Lowrie-Chin

Monday, July 01, 2019

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As two of Jamaica's greatest friends, the USA and Canada, celebrated their national milestones here last week, and outlined their continued support for our development, I reflected on the welcome words of Prime Minister Andrew Holness earlier last month when he declared that there had to be an end to 'donmanship' and garrison politics.

At the celebration of the 243rd anniversary of his country's Independence last Wednesday, US Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Eric Khant noted, “Our partnership with Jamaica is built on shared values and interests. They include strong security cooperation, building disaster resiliency, expanding economic ties, bolstering democracy and human rights, and making health and education a priority.”

Our Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) came in for special mention: “At the recent Southern Command Chiefs of Mission Conference our military leaders commended the professionalism and effectiveness of the Jamaica Defence Force, and expressed their commitment to continue working closely with the JDF to enhance security in the region. Our law enforcement agencies collaborate with Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC), Financial Investigations Division, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and other Jamaican partners to counter transnational crime that harms both our countries.”

Over US$1.2 billion has been invested by both the American private sector and the US Government towards the development of cleaner and affordable energy sources. Going forward, said Mr Khant, “We expect to see more US investments in the energy sector, small and medium-size enterprises, especially those owned by women, and in many other areas.”

In the areas of disaster preparedness and health, the US has invested heavily, involving the District of Columbia's National Guard, collaborating with Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), JCF and JDF, and HIV/Zika programmes with our Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Chargé Khant, and his wife Halima, have been movers and shakers for Jamaica, travelling throughout the country to affirm their support for Jamaicans from all walks of life. As Khant's tour of duty in Jamaica winds down, we thank them for their steadfast support not only in security, health, energy, and disaster preparedness, but also for an education enrichment programme which has assisted us in surpassing our millennium development goal in literacy at the primary level.

Last Thursday, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie Peters celebrated Canada Day, the country's 157th birthday. Peters gave us a snapshot of our countries' long-standing relations: “Over 300,000 members of the Jamaican Diaspora live in Canada and make valuable contributions to our society; some 405,000 Canadians visited Jamaica last year to enjoy this beautiful country — the number two source country for tourists; some 3,500 Jamaicans are studying in Canada; over 9,000 Jamaican workers participate in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Programme every year and benefit from the recently extended 10-year validity of biometrics; over 1,700 members of the Jamaican military have received training with our support through Jamaica's centres of excellence; there are over 35 memoranda of association between Canadian and Jamaican academic institutions.”

We appreciate Canada's support of the modernisation of our justice system and the upholding of women's rights. “In the pursuit of equality for women and girls, and equity for small states in the global system, Canada and Jamaica are on the same page,” Peters noted, “Our global leadership, via our Feminist Foreign Policy and Feminist International assistance Policy, calls for equality in all our cooperation efforts…Prime Minister Trudeau recently appointed our first ambassador for Women, peace and security.”

She said that Canada's Department of Defence has “fully commissioned the Operational Support Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean (OSH-LAC) in Port Royal. This 'camp in a box' will support countries around the region in the wake of natural disasters”.

She acknowledged Jamaica's leadership, congratulating Minister Daryl Vaz and Senator Matthew Samuda for activating our single-use plastic and styrofoam ban, noting that Canada will follow suit by 2021.

In the matter of defence co-operation, she applauded the work of former JDF head now police commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, and announced that, “Building on more than 50 years of defence cooperation, we established this year the Canadian Defence Unit at the High Commission.”

Today, the Canadian High Commission launches their call for proposals for the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). Local organisations should seize the opportunity to submit proposals to fund programmes in gender equality, peace and security, climate change adaptation, and environmental protection.

So, Jamaica, here we are, enjoying all this support from our northern neighbours. To quote, Third World, “Now that we found love, what are we gonna do with it?” We keep talking about a holistic approach to peace and justice — let us get more homework centres opened, more social workers on the ground, more trained counsellors, closed-circuit television cameras in volatile areas, and swifter consequences for criminal activities.

Our good neighbours have equipped us well. Politicians now need to prove that they will no longer consort with the underworld, and we call on the National Integrity Action (NIA) and Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) to engage the public on this urgent matter.

 

Congratulations

Warmest congratulations to founder Dennis Lalor, the board, management, and staff on the 50th anniversary of the Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI). Through its strategic acquisitions, the company is now a market leader in the region, serving clients in the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St Maarten, St Kitts & Nevis, Turks & Caicos, and Trinidad & Tobago. Theirs is an exemplary and inspiring journey. Best wishes to ICWI for many more successful years!

 

Proud of our Reggae Girlz

We followed our Reggae Girlz for two matches vs Italy in Rheims and vs Australia in Lyon. Our fun-loving group of three generations representing our motto, 'Out of Many One People' decked ourselves in our national colours, which earned lots of compliments from passersby. We screamed ourselves hoarse and were overcome with joy when Havana Solaun scored that precious goal against Australia.

We were the youngest team on our first outing, and the fighting spirit of our young women was evident from beginning to end of each match. To paraphrase our Special Olympians, “We did not win, but we were brave in our attempt.” Congratulations, Reggae Girlz!

 

Special needs centre at Chetolah Park

The lovely children at Chetolah Park Primary School glowed as they enjoyed the learning tools and books at Chetolah Park-Mel Nathan Assessment Centre, which was opened last Friday. State minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge lauded the children on their sparkling performance and the principal, staff and parents for their dedication. The centre, which has four classrooms, high-tech learning tools and ramp accessibility, was funded by the Digicel Foundation and will serve special needs students in the West Kingston area.

 

lowriechin@aim.com

www.lowrie-chin.blogspot.com


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