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Ocho Rios Orchid Society gives back

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Ocho Rios Orchid Society gives back

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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The Ocho Rios Orchid Society is still basking in the success of its 27th Annual Orchid Show which it described as a delightful family event.

The show, held earlier this year, featured “breathtaking orchid displays complemented by dance items, fashion show and several booths showcasing a wide array of craft, clothing, jewellery and myriad plants”, the society said in a news release.

Known for making donations to various organisations from the proceeds of the show over the years, the society allocated funds from this year’s event to:

* Our Lady of Fatima Church Feeding Programme;

* Exchange All-Age School;

* Ocho Rios Baptist Church Feeding Programme;

* Mustard Seed Communities; and

* St Ann’s Bay Hospital.

President of the Orchid Society Andrea Davidson stated that she and her members were pleased to be able to make the contributions and “will continue to do so in the future”.

“Through these donations the members hope that they would have made a positive contribution not only to these organisations but to the people that each one serves,” the society said, and expressed thanks to the patrons who continue to support the show annually and whose patronage has helped to make the donations possible.

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‘A gift from God’, says Digicel ‘Free Mobile Service for Life’ winner

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‘A gift from God’, says Digicel ‘Free Mobile Service for Life’ winner

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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AFTER simply upgrading to a free Digicel LTE SIM, Andrene Holness, a 53-year-old cook, later found out that she will no longer need to buy credit for the rest of her life.

Holness is the first winner in the Digicel ‘Free Mobile Service for Life’ promotion.

She received the best Valentine’s Day gift ever when she accepted a call from a local radio station confirming that she had won the prize.

Still in disbelief when the Digicel team, led by Public Relations and Communications Manager Elon Parkinson, visited her workplace at the Old Harbour Bay Primary School recently, an elated Holness cheered: “This is a gift from God!”

Holness recalled, “When I first got the call from Irie FM telling me I won, I honestly thought it was a prank, even though the person who called insisted it was real. It’s only after the call ended and someone told me they had heard me on the radio that I fully accepted it. I feel so special that God chose me for this prize,” she recalled.

The school’s Acting Principal Tineke Parker-Gordon, Holness’s daughter Treshagaye Bryan, and several of her co-workers joined the celebration – all agreeing that the prize was well-deserved. Treshagaye remarked, “The whole family is happy for her. First and foremost, my mother is a woman of God; she loves the Lord and she is active in the church, so it is not a surprise the Lord chose her for this blessing. She is an excellent mother and I believe she fully deserves it.”

Principal Parker-Gordon also conveyed her best wishes: “All of us were happy when we found out about Miss Holness’s prize. My colleagues and I were just as surprised to hear that one of our own had been chosen. We congratulate her and we are very happy she has received this.”

Presenting the symbolic giant SIM card to the long-standing Digicel customer, Parkinson noted, “This is a true double-bonus for Miss Holness. After almost 19 years with Digicel, paying to top up her phone will be a thing of the past, plus, she now enjoys a superior service experience with her newly upgraded LTE SIM. We wish Mrs Holness a lifetime of happiness while being always connected to friends, family and the things she loves.”

The Digicel ‘Free Service for Life’ promotion runs until June 17, 2020 and is available to all Digicel prepaid and postpaid customers who qualify to convert their non-LTE SIM to an LTE SIM for free and get a free gift of 12GB of data worth $5,750 at any Digicel store.

Winners in the Digicel “Free Mobile Service for Life” promotion will receive $20,000 monthly in credit, or $20,000 monthly towards a postpaid bill for 50 years.

Ten lucky customers will be chosen, one every two weeks.

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Better news, but concerns linger for education inspector

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THE chief inspector’s findings of the National Education Inspectorate (NEI) report for the period September 2015 to June 2019 have indicated improvements across all the performance indicators, but there are few areas that remain issues of concern.

The findings, shared last month, state that many of our teachers continue to demonstrate weaknesses in the enactment of student-centred pedagogies (teaching methods and practices); classrooms are generally not conducive to student-centred learning activities; there is inadequate integration across subject areas in lessons; and teachers’ lesson evaluation and reflections are generally missing or inadequate.

In responding to the issue of weakness in the enactment of student-centred teaching methods, NEI Chief Inspector Maureen Dwyer explained that the National Standards Curriculum is predicated on teachers teaching differently.

“They should take a constructivist approach to the curriculum and ensure that the learners at all times are at the centre of the learning experience. You should have more collaboration in classrooms, you should have a lot of research going on — trying to bring out the children’s critical thinking skills and so on,” Dwyer said. “So the classrooms should look different from the teacher-centred classrooms where the teacher is always at the front talking, to a more collaborative sort of environment where children become involved in their own learning.”

But, according to Dwyer, the inspections revealed that there are impediments to implementation of that sort of pedagogy.

“What am I talking about? You have some teachers who in real terms don’t know how to enact this sort of collaboration, so they mistake group work for collaboration. But there are instances where the classrooms are not conducive. Too many students are in one classroom. It’s more difficult to put them.in groups, it’s more difficult for students to move around the classroom to do other activities, so there are some impediments to getting the learner-centred pedagogy going in the Jamaican classroom,” she explained, while explicitly stating that the revelations are not about embarrassing schools, rather, stating what needs to change and providing the necessary support for the change to occur.

In relation to inadequate integration between subject areas in lessons, Dwyer said it’s simply a matter of getting children to see the areas of commonality across subjects, however, at times this is missing.

“At the primary level for example, what is strongly recommended is that teachers integrate the subject areas at grades one to three. We expect that in teaching, for example, a maths lesson teachers would be using things like music, they would be using things like science, they would be using areas out of English language. In other words, it is a joined-up kind of approach to teaching and learning. So, you’re not going so much into distinct subject areas but looking for areas of commonality across the subject areas and teaching the children to appreciate and to express themselves in those ways,” she said.

She added, “I can say for myself as a teacher of geography, when I used to do certain topics in geo like scales, measurements, contours and map readings — that is strongly mathematical. It’s good when you can point out to the children that there is synergy between and among the subject areas, so it is strongly recommended that at grades one to three an integrated approach is used. In fact that’s what the curriculum says. We look out for that too and there are times we don’t see that to the extent we would want to see.”

Regarding the concern about lesson evaluations and reflections missing or being inadequate, Dwyer explained that while a lesson can be taught without a plan, having one in place allows you to understand the issues within the classroom and plan better to overcome them.

“The excellent teacher who knows his or her students will want to tailor a plan around the needs of the learners, regardless of the topic,” Dwyer said. “You want to see in a lesson plan and in the examination of a lesson that the teacher understood that not all the students are going to be learning at the same pace and learning in the same way. The reflective teacher is a teacher who would include, as much as possible, activities that will engage the different types of learners in the classroom. But we’re not seeing that, and each lesson plan has to be evaluated.

“After you teach you must look back to say what went well and what should have been better. We are not getting those kind of reflection and that’s the kinds of reflections that helps to build quality in teaching and quality around the school — because it’s really about the children. You really want to see a body of work that says ‘ok, I taught this topic, but I believe I could have done better by doing so and so. When I did so and so they really got it, so I need to go back to include so and so’. Or, this came up in my lesson and I believe I am going to have to re-teach or teach something more about that’. This kind of reflecting on your work shows that you are immersed in it and that you have the interest of the learners at heart. We’re seeing more of it but we’re not seeing enough,” she charged.

For Dwyer, while some teachers or schools may have these in place, she wants to see it enforced right across the length and breadth of our schools.

“Remember when you operate a school inspection framework what you’re doing is pushing the areas of importance to your system — things that will make your schools better. The fact that few people might be doing it, or some might be doing it, that’s not good enough. We want to know we’re pushing the system towards that space where most people are doing it,” she said.

Further, she said the findings serve as a point of reflection for the education ministry and everyone who wants to see improvements in the education system.

“Principals were very happy to get their school reports and very happy that education officers were focusing with them around the areas for development. Essentially, we have a good bunch, we just have to continue to support them,” she said.

Acknowledging that change will not happen overnight, Dwyer also said she is hopeful we are moving in the right direction and offered that once individuals understand the benefits to be gained, greater efforts to change will come.

“When they see the results and when they understand the benefits to be gained, I know that we will begin to see the change that we want,” she said.

 

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One dead from Fesco fire; investigation continues

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One dead from Fesco fire; investigation continues

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — One man has died as a result of the fire which damaged Heaven’s Fesco service station here on Friday, his relatives have said.

The man was identified by relatives yesterday as Daniel Farquharson, a businessman of this south-central Jamaica town.

Today would have been his 60th birthday, his son Tyrone told the Jamaica Observer from his base in New York, United States.

“Daddy is someone who doesn’t celebrate but he would recognise his birthday. He was a laid-back, cheerful person who worked hard. He operated Danny’s Garage; he is also a pig farmer.

“We are distraught. I am in New York, my other siblings who are in Jamaica and Japan are also distraught because we are a close-knit family. I was told he suffered burns to 80-90 per cent of the body.

“When he was taken to hospital last night [Friday], I spoke to him and reminded him how much I love him, and he said ‘me love you too’,” Tyrone said, holding back tears. “Daddy was everything. What a tragedy, my God.”

Daniel Farquharson was due to visit his son in New York in May.

“I was so excited to know that he was coming up, because I hadn’t seen him since 2014,” Tyrone said.

Four other persons remain in hospital, as the Jamaica Fire Brigade intensifies its investigation into the blaze which occurred at the intersection of Perth, Manchester and Caledonia roads, which also resulted in extensive damage to a section of the service station and 12 vehicles which were parked on the property.

Deputy superintendent at the Jamaica Fire Brigade Rohan Powell told the Jamaica Observer that an investigative team was to examine the scene yesterday afternoon.

“The remainder of the investigative team from Kingston which are on their way to finalise the investigative process, after…a preliminary report will be done to make the findings known and then we will follow up with a final report on the incident,” he disclosed.

“Twelve motor vehicles were damaged [and] five civilians injured; two persons received critical burns up to second-degree level and three individuals received minor burns. A 17-year-old child involved in the situation received minor burns to her face,” he went on.

Up to mid-afternoon yesterday a section of the roadway near the service station remained cordoned off by the police as they diverted traffic away from the scene.

A relative ⁠of a 62-year-old man who is one of the injured individuals, told the Sunday Observer on Saturday, “His two hands were severely burnt, and his face. Him just buy gas, drove off the pump, and came out the car to do something when the fire started. The doctors say he received thirty-five percent burns. We are hoping for the best and are thankful that he is still alive.”

An eyewitness who captured when the fire started on video said gas was pouring from one of the pumps at the petrol station before the blaze started.

The fire which started sometime after 5:00 pm had sent persons in the busy town panicking. Several vehicles were also damaged as a result of motorists rushing away from the scene.

Three fire units put out the blaze.

Mayor of Mandeville and chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation Donovan Mitchell has reiterated his concern about the location of the town’s fire station.

“Where the fire station is situated is right in the town centre itself, so it would have posed problems for them [firefighters] to get out of the space where the station is, but I know that there are some plans in the further development of Mandeville. We are hoping to see how best we can, through the Ministry of Local Government,…have another fire station or put the fire station at a better location. I think we still need more manpower and units for this town,” said Mitchell.

Kasey Williams contributed to this story

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Damaged, not destroyed by fire

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Damaged, not destroyed by fire

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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Yesterday’s Page 4 story was headlined, in error, that the Fesco service station in Mandeville was destroyed by fire. While the service station was damaged by a fire, it was not destroyed.

We regret any inconvenience caused by the wrong headline.


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Bernard Lodge squatters get regularised

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Over 100 squatters within the 2,000 acreage of the Bernard Lodge Estate destined for re-development, are being relocated into a new area of Portmore to facilitate the project.

According to the head of the implementation committee, Joseph Shoucair, over 40 of those squatters have already been removed to the relocation area, close to Grange Lane, and have been upgraded from squatters to property owners.

“There is no more squatting, and in the four months since they have been there, look at what they have been done. I am proud of this,” Shoucair told a crowded Vision Apostolic House of Prayer in Dunbeholden, St Catherine as he pointed to a map of the new relocation area for squatters.

The residents were also joined by Member of Parliament for St Catherine Southern, Fitz Jackson; Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) representative, Rev Welton Shettlewood and Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott for the Community Sensitisation Meeting addressing the benefits and details of the recently approved revised Greater Bernard Lodge Development Master Plan (GBLDMP).

Shoucair, who also heads the main developer, the Sugar Company Holdings (SCH) Limited, owners of the Bernard Lodge Estate, said that there were over 270 lessees, including the 104 affected by the relocation. The affected residents have each received two-acre pieces of land for relocation as the new owners.

“We have to accept that people don’t like to move. It is a natural human instinct, but once we overcome that problem, then we can make better of the move, than we have now,” he told the crowd.

He said that nine out of 10 of the squatters have not been paying rent, but those who pay have cash crops which will be valued and they will be reimbursed with cash payments, as well as other costs including irrigation tools and sheds, to ensure that nobody is worse off.

“They will be charged a concessional rent for the first year of relocation, so that they can re-establish themselves,” he added.

“What I want you to believe is that we are going to be actively engaged in your communities, because we want to build a good relationship with you,” he told the gathering.

Shoucair also denied that the project is about developing a new town, as has been suggested by some critics.

“It is a fallacy to believe that the Greater Bernard Lodge area is a new town. It will not be a new town. It will have an urban component, but it will be 56 per cent agricultural production and for the rest of 5,400 acres for housing and some commercial buildings and social services and a ‘retention pond’,” he stated.

A retention pond runs adjacent to, tributaries, streams, lakes or bays to protect against flooding and, in some cases, downstream erosion and to retain water for use in drought periods.

He said that a master plan is being developed of all the community sewage systems currently in use in the area, which will eventually filter into a central sewage system for the communities.

He also noted that there are areas of illegal activities such garbage dumping and sand mining which will have to be addressed.

“If we leave Bernard Lodge as it is now, do you think it is going to stop? It is going to get worse, and worse and worse. So doing nothing cannot be an option. We have to do something, but we have to make sure that we are mindful of what (MP) Jackson said, that we do something to benefit all the people,” he stated.

He said that it was also critical that when construction starts, skilled persons living in the affected communities benefit from the employment that is generated.

The GBLMP Revised Master Plan was announced two Fridays ago by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, at a press conference at Jamaica House.

It is a long term (20-year) plan able to accommodate future population growth in the Kingston Metropolitan Region (KMR), while creating a vibrant and sustainable community that addresses the challenges of affordable housing, transportation and access to jobs and services.

The revised Master Plan covers a total of 5,397.02 acres out of some 21,000 acres of former sugar estate lands, with 3,026.79 acres allotted for agricultural purposes and the remaining acreage divided between residential, commercial, light-manufacturing,

Attendees also received presentations and materials from the Social Development Commission (SDC), National Housing Trust (NHT), National Insurance Scheme (NIS), HEART Trust NTA, and the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) about the social services that will become accessible as part of the development.

Two notable members of the community, Senior Pastor Joan Mattis at the Vision Apostolic and President of the Dunbeholden Football Club, Donovan Witter also addressed the crowd.

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