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Hope in St James

Bartlett's East Central St James Scholarship Fund helping over 300 tertiary students

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, August 31, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Member of Parliament Edmund Bartlett says that the East Central St James Scholarship Welfare Fund he conceptualised some 20 years ago now holds the distinction of now supporting over 300 tertiary students in every university across Jamaica and the Caribbean.

And as western parishes hog the news with high crime statistics such efforts at creating a balance is welcome.

“ And I want to make that point, and I say it without equivocation or any fear of contradiction, that East Central St James is perhaps, arguably, the only constituency where we have students in every single university in Jamaica and the region,” Bartlett, who, is also tourism minister, argued.

“I must tell you that I am very proud to advise you that the first student who will get a scholarship support to Asia is going to be awarded this year, as one of ours who got a first degree through our programme is being awarded a scholarship to go to China to do his master's degree.”

The MP was addressing the more than 100 new tertiary students who received support from the scholarship and welfare fund this year as part of a $10-million package during an awards function held at Iberostar Hotel in St James on Sunday.

Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer West that, without any political bias, the East Central St James Scholarship and Welfare Fund has been assisting students in his constituency from the primary upwards to the tertiary level for two decades.

He pointed out that from this year's $10 million over 160 GSAT students were awarded scholarships to assist them in entering secondary school for the new academic year.

“In almost every high school in western Jamaica, and some in Kingston, we have been able to give support to students (from St James East Central),” Bartlett said.

Additionally, grade six and grade four primary school students have been issued with textbooks and vouchers to purchase school items, such as uniforms among other school supplies.

“Central to this programme of textbooks is an award for $500,000, separate and apart, for the grade six and the grade four students of the 14 primary schools in the constituency,” Bartlett noted.

He also shared that the programme is funded through the Constituency Development Fund as well as the benevolence of stakeholders.

Bartlett added that the latest partner is Lorna Johnson, a St James native who now resides in California.

“I am proud to tell you that Miss Lorna Johnson has awarded two students; one doing law and another doing medicine,” he revealed.

He indicated that the assistance he has been able to render to needy students in pursuit of their studies has been the highlight of his four decades in public life.

“My life in politics has not been about pecuniary rewards. This is the 40th year that I am in public life and I have been in both Houses of Parliament for 35 of those 40 years. And I have served in five Cabinets to date. And I have received recognition from both my country as well as from the Kingdom of Spain. But no recognition has given me greater satisfaction than that from a child who we know his or her parent was not able to make the educational process complete,” he argued.

Meanwhile, Paige Gordon, who received a special award for $200,000, described the programme as phenomenal.

“What he (Bartlett) has managed to do for the past 20 years with this programme has been nothing short of amazing, and really has changed many lives for the better,” she said.

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