Portmore Basic School Gets Generous Cheque from JCAA to Support School’s Certification Goals – Portmore Citizens News


Principal-Marlin Avenue Basic School - accepts - representational - cheque - from - JCAA's Rohan Campbell

Principal of the Marlin Avenue Basic School in Portmore, St. Catherine, Margaret Campbell, accepts a representational cheque for $809,309.31 from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority’s Deputy Director General, Regulatory Affairs, Rohan Campbell. The presentation was made at the school on Monday, April 3. The cheque will be used to assist the school in achieving full certification under the Early Childhood Commission 12 Operating Standards for Early Childhood Institutions. Photo credit: Contributed Photo/JIS


On Monday, the Marlin Avenue Basic School in Portmore, St. Catherine received over $800,000 in financial aid from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). The gift will boost the school’s efforts to achieve full certification under the Early Childhood Commission’s (ECC) 12 Operating standards for Early Childhood Institutions (ECI).

According to a release from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), on Monday, April 3, Deputy Director General of Regulatory Affairs at the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Rohan Campbell, presented the cheque valued at $809,309.31 to the principal of the School, Margaret Campbell, to assist in the certification process.

“We saw it as a great opportunity to assist. As an organisation that values Jamaica’s development, we have always had a great interest in supporting education. We are in the business of regulation and, therefore, appreciate the need for standards in early-childhood development,” Mr Campbell said.

The elated principal, Mrs. Campbell, was close to tears as she accepted the much-needed donation.

“We were strapped for cash and this injection will assist us to achieve certification. We are so grateful for the help of the Early Childhood Commission team and others who offered their support,” she said.

The funds will be used to improve lighting in the classrooms, establish a playground and repaint playground equipment and the school building.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South, Fitz Jackson, who contributed the perimeter fencing for the school, added his support for the early-childhood standards.

“It’s a universally accepted fact that preparation of a child at the early-childhood level bears significance at the primary and secondary levels,” he noted.

Marlin Avenue Basic School was opened in 1979 and has 28 students enrolled and five members of staff, including two trained teachers.

The school has, so far, met 72 per cent of the operating standards required for certification by the ECC.

The 12 Standards for the Operation, Management and Administration of Early Childhood Institutions cover the areas of staffing; development and educational programmes; interactions and relationships with children; physical environment; indoor and outdoor equipment; health; nutrition; safety; child rights, child protection and equality; parent and stakeholder participation; administration and finance.




3000 BPO Jobs Coming to Portmore; Conduent Takes Xerox BPO Business


Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), breaks ground for the development of 150,000 sq. ft. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space at the Portmore Informatics Park in St. Catherine on February 16. He is joined by (from left): President and CEO of the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), Professor the Hon. Gordon Shirley; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang; PAJ Chairman, Ambassador Nigel Clarke; and Portmore Mayor, His Worship Leon Thomas. The US$23 million project is being implemented by the PAJ and will create 3,000 jobs. Photo courtesy of JIS.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness broke ground at the Portmore Informatics site yesterday (February 16) to start the construction of a new Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) company in the Portmore Area. When completed, the 150,000 sq. ft space is expected to provide 3000 jobs.

According to a release from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) the US$23 million project, being implemented by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), is expected to be completed in one year.

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony at the Park in Portmore, St. Catherine, Mr. Holness said the commencement of this project represents the Government’s commitment to cutting through dense bureaucracy for the fast-tracking of critical programmes.

“My job is to reach into that deep pipeline of projects and rip them out…to cut through the dense bureaucracy that sometimes becomes self-serving and get to this point,” he added.

The Prime Minister further said the Government remains committed to the expansion of the BPO sector as one of the faster ways to create employment.

“The aspiration and the ambition to get Jamaicans employed is a serious one and the Government must move with alacrity, determination and instrumentality to provide employment for our people,” he said.

“Employment is the greatest tool in fighting crime and the greatest tool in bringing prosperity to our people. Employment is independence in our hands and that is what I am here to do,” Mr. Holness added.

The development of the Portmore Informatics Park forms part of a wider project being advanced by the PAJ in support of the Government’s vision to expand the outsourcing sector to realise a goal of 200,000 jobs within four years. A total of $4 billion is being spent on the development in Portmore as well as on work now underway in Montego Bay, St. James.

Expected BPO Services Sector Growth

Chairman of the PAJ, Ambassador Nigel Clarke, said the BPO sector is being targeted as one of its strategic growth areas in order to fulfil the agency’s mandate of facilitating development that support the growth agenda of Jamaica.

He said with the BPO services sector expected to grow by over 50 per cent, the PAJ is responding to those prospects and keeping pace with rising demand.

“Today’s ceremony represents another step towards the achievement of market leadership within the sector and it provides support to the national growth agenda,” he noted.

The PAJ has pioneered work in BPO sector development since 1987, through the agency’s Montego Bay Free Zone and the Kingston Free Zone. The agency manages accounts for some 10,200 employees within the outsourcing sector in  Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, urged all Government agencies to collaborate in leading the charge to expand the BPO sector, which he said provides a diverse set of professional options.

He said the Government is committed to ensuring that Portmore and other similar communities can be involved in the growth of the sector and gain meaningful employment.

Portmore Informatics Park…. finest BPO Destination? – Dr Chang

“Portmore is an ideal area…with a huge population of educated, capable Jamaicans looking for jobs and if we provide the opportunity and the training, they can in fact, make Portmore Informatics Park one of the finest destinations for Business Process Outsourcing,” Dr. Chang said.

The new BPO company will join two other BPOs already operating within the growing Portmore commercial district– IBEX Global, which now occupies 10,000 square feet of space in Portmore Pines Plaza, owned by Mount Royal Development Ltd, and ACS XEROX, located in Naggo Head.

IBEX Global Jamaica has two operations- Kingston and Portmore– from which it hires sales, customer service and technical support talent for its call centre operations.

Conduent -Xerox Split Leads to take-over of Business Process Services from XEROX; Staff  Dislocated in Portmore

Photo-of-ACSXEROX-building-located-in-Naggo-Head -Portmore-St Catherine

ACS Xerox, Naggo Head, Portmore


Xerox, the world’s largest printing and software solutions company with headquarters in Washington, USA hires about 6,500 Jamaicans and has been the private sector largest employer since establishing in the year 2000.

But recently, the company was in the news after RJR News announced that it had cut staff cuts at the Portmore branch. Portmore Citizens News has since learnt that the action was part of a separation between Xerox and Conduent Incorporated.

Conduent disclosed in a news release dated January 3, 2017 published on its website that the US -based Fortune 500 company had completed a separation agreement with XEROX at the end of 2016 and launched as an independent publicly-traded business processes services leader.

The move was apparently driven by Conduent as part of a major cost transformation programme which it’s CEO announced will “streamline the business, improve margins, and enable investment into growth opportunities.”

“Under the terms of the separation agreements, on the distribution date of Dec. 31, 2016, Xerox shareholders received one share of Conduent common stock for every five shares of Xerox common stock they held as of the close of business on Dec. 15, 2016, the record date for the distribution,” the Conduent release stated.

It was not clear whether staff who lost their jobs at the Portmore location would be relocated or reemployed, although when asked, a XEROX employee told this blogger that the disclocated staff would be reemployed. PCN was unable to confirm this.

Over 4,000 new jobs have been added to the BPO sector within the last three years to increase employment for about 22,000. Revenues from the industry grew from approximately US$230 million in 2012 to US$400 million in 2015.

Portmore Informatics Park is located at 7 East Trade Way and is located closest to the Maxie Department Store.



IBEX GLOBAL, Portmore Pines




CISOCA to Address Domestic Violence Tonight at Hellshire SDA’s Christian Home and Family Week -Portmore Citizens News


Portmore, St Catherine – February 15, 2017:

The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) will be addressing domestic and intimate partner violence in a presentation at the Hellshire SDA Church in Hellshire Park, St Catherine this evening.The presentation is one of a weeklong series of seminars currently underway at the Church as part of its Christian Home and Family Week.

“Healing in the Home” is the theme of the nightly series which started on Saturday, February 11 and continues into the weekend with more interesting presentations all geared toward disseminating Bible-based guidance for improving spousal and family relationships from a Christian perspective.

Host pastor Mervin Morris, who is also a trained family therapist and counselling psychologist is the main speaker. In his lead presentation on Sunday night, he addressed issues such as adultery and how couples should maintain intimacy in their marriage.

Tuesday night’s presenters were husband and wife team, Norma and Oswald Morgan, the church’s Family Ministries Directors who spoke on the topic “Reclaiming the Family Altar,” addressing the importance of parents cultivating and following Christian lifestyle and worship habits in the home.

Asked why the topic of domestic and intimate partner violence is being specially featured this evening, Mr Morgan noted that including the topic in the line-up and having CISOCA present was a deliberate move to bring community awareness to the issue which has dominated the public and media spotlight recently.

“We were looking at different families and we know that domestic violence is one of the issues families are agonising over and yet not talking about although it’s there. We believe that people need to be aware of the trigger factors to help them identify domestic violence in their relationships as this would help them identify the potential for violence that exists and tell them if the relationship is moving in the right direction.”

“And not only theirs but maybe a neighbour, family member or friend. So we hope that with education, the community can also reach out to other families experiencing domestic and intimate partner violence. We felt it would be good to bring CISOCA in to share in this week’s seminars because of the high level of experience the Agency’s leadership has in partner violence,” he stated.


Pastor Damian Chambers scheduled to speak to youth in Sabbath sessions as Christian Home and Families Week winds down this weekend. Photo Credit: CJC

Another featured speaker billed for the rest of the week is Director of Communications, Health and Assistant to the President for Evangelism at the Central Jamaica Conference, Pastor Damian Chambers.

Pastor Chambers will speak to the youth through the first of two presentations beginning Friday evening, February 17. He will speak again on Saturday at the 11 a.m. mid-day service. These presentations will take on a youth focus as the church celebrates its Youth Day.

The nightly sessions begin at 7:00 p.m. nightly.

Parents, couples and families of the Portmore and Hellshire community are invited to attend these presentations.

See the flyer for more details.



Join Hellshire SDA and CISOCA for domestic violence seminar this evening at 7:00 p.m. Flyer Credit: Jovan Munroe

For directions to the church, view the Google map below and plot your travel route here.



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Greater Portmore North Councilor, Michael “Fisha” Edwards laid to rest




The late Michael ‘Fisha’ Edwards, Councilor for Greater Portmore North Division and businessman was laid to rest on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

Hundreds of persons, both politicians and constituents from the Portmore and St Catherine municipalities, along with representatives from the Opposition and ruling party hierarchy, friends, family and well-wishers turned out to pay their last respects and celebrate the life of the well-known public servant and Portmore resident at the funeral service held at the Portmore Seventh day Adventist Church, 7 Port Henderson Road.

Mr Edwards was eulogised by fellow councillors, PNP party representatives and family members in numerous tributes as a consummate professional and a peace-loving and amicable individual with a ready smile. One of the most moving tributes was reportedly delivered by Member of Parliament, Fitz Jackson who shared many fond memories of his friendship with Mr Fisher. The homily was delivered by Pastor of the Portmore SDA Church Pastor Sean Hamilton.

Mr Edwards reportedly died from a stroke on January 6. Family members found him unconscious at home and rushed him to the Spanish Town hospital where he was pronounced dead. A close friend and political peer, MP Fitz Jackson revealed that Mr Fisher had been hypertensive and diabetic. He had also reportedly done brain surgery a few years ago, but had “showed no signs of illness up to the time of his death.”

Michael Edwards, a chartered accountant by profession, entered local government representation in December 2007 when he joined the Portmore Municipal Council. Up to the time of his death, he was the sitting Councillor for the Greater Portmore North Division. He also served as Chairman of the Planning, Development and Climate Change Committee in the Portmore Municipal Council. Prior to that, he served as  Chairman of the Finance Committee at the St Catherine Parish Council. The late Portmore native was a St Georges College Old Boy and the owner/operator of Fisha’s Sports Bar located at the Portmore Pines Plaza.

Mr Edwards was interred at The Dovecot Memorial Gardens.

He is survived by his widow, Sophia and children.


Below are photo highlights of the final rites.

Disclaimer: All photos were curated from the results of Facebook Search and the public domain. Credit is hereby given to the respective original owners.


PNP leaders pay tribute to the late Portmore Councilor Michael Edwards.

St Catherine South MP, Fitz Jackson (centre) shares his fond memories of the late Michael ‘Fisha’ Edwards. He is joined in tribute by MP, Greater Portmore East Yvonne McCormack (left) and Opposition leader, Portia Simpson Miller (right) at the funeral service held this past Sunday at the Portmore SDA Church. Sitting in the front row (back to camera) is PNP Chairman, Robert Pickersgill.




Former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, other government representatives and family of the deceased listen attentively during the funeral service.                                                                                                                                                           Photo Credit: Kenisha Allen




Section of the funeral crowd who turned out to pay respects to the beloved councilor at Sunday’s funeral.   Photo Credit: Arnaldo Brown


The interment scene at Dovecot Memorial where Councilor Fisher was laid to rest



Cecile McCormack, Manager-Implementation & Logistics, Community Renewal  at the Jamaica Public Service Co. shares a light moment with  Julian Robinson, PNP Member of Parliament  for South East St Andrew at Sunday’s funeral service for their fallen comrade. Photo credit: Cecile McCormack



From Jamaica Labour Party Councillors Kenisha Allen(Spanish Town Division), Theresa Turner(Hampton Green Division) (2nd right) and Jennifer Hull (Horizon Park Division) (far right) grabs a friendly photo with PNP MP Denise Daley (2nd left) at the funeral service of the late PNP Councillor, Michael Edwards.                                    Photo Credit: Kenisha Allen




Former PNP Minister of State/ Portmore MP, Arnaldo Brown shares a light moment with two of his constituents at the Dovecot Memorial Park.                                                            Photo Credit: Arnaldo Brown



Sophia Edwards, widow of the late Michael Fisher Edwards (centre) caught in a candid moment by the graveside at Dovecot Memorial Gardens.              Photo Credit:


Photo of Councilor Fisher with wife Sophia Fisher

Councilor Edwards and wife, Sophia in happier times. The couple had recently celebrated their 13th anniversary. (Photo taken from Mr Edward’s Facebook page)


Report compiled by Karen Taylor Bennett

Portmore Woman Among Six Arrested for Scamming American retiree

scamA Jamaica Observer report yesterday identified Christiana Curtis, 22, customer service agent of 34 Coral Gable, Independence City in Portmore, St Catherine as one of six persons who was arrested in a police operation last week for lotto scamming.

Curtis is believed to be part of an island-wide syndicate operating out of Westmoreland and St James. According to a police report cited by the newspaper, the arrests were made during a series of operations carried out by the Counter-Terrorism and Investigation Branch (C-TOC) between January 3 and 9 in Westmoreland, St Catherine, and St James, following allegations that they defrauded a 56-year-old, retired United States citizen of over $3 million.”

The 22-year old and the other five who are from Westmoreland were charged under the Law Reform Act but were subsequently released on station bail. They are Landique Woodbourne, 25, of Cambridge, St James; Fabian Ramsey, 27; Viviene Duncan, 39; and Gideon Wright, 22, all of Lambs River in Westmoreland; and Danny Williams, 31 of Darliston district in the same parish.

They are scheduled to appear in the St James Parish Court on February 1.


Fledgeling, New Entrant Cedar Grove Academy is Portmore’s Top Performing CAPE School

cedar grove high 2

6th Form students of Portmore-based high school, Cedar Grove Academy escorting former minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites during a June 2015 visit. Photo Credit: jis.gov.jm


Fledgling Portmore-based high school, Cedar Grove Academy, which entered a six form cohort for the first time in the 2015 sitting of the national Caribbean Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) examinations has outperformed a number of local and national academic stalwarts to emerge as the top performing Portmore-based school based on data published by education think tank publisher, Educate Jamaica.

The publication, CAPE (Pre-University) Rankings 2016 was released by Educate Jamaica last week. This post is a disaggregation of the data by outandaboutportmore.

Placing 34th among 103 schools with a 54.1 percentage pass rate, the two-year-old institution and “new entrant”to the exams has outperformed and outranked prominent Portmore flag bearer, Bridgeport High plus numerous other prominent national and Corporate area Caribbean Secondary Education (C-SEC) and CAPE high-flyers.

A Quality Score of grades i-iii (1-3) in 2 or more CAPE subjects (units) was used as the benchmark to rate the schools, Educate Jamaica has explained to justify its ranking methodology.

Cedar Grove Academy was ranked just behind neighbouring Jonathan Grant High (another unexpected achievement) located 10 minutes away, in Spanish Town.

Traditional High Performers See Downward Slide

The school outperformed three other Portmore area schools, namely Bridgeport High which slipped two places down to rank 48 this year with a 34.9 % pass rate and Ascot High which saw marginal improvement over the previous year but still ranked 69. Ascot was assigned a 18.3 % pass rate. Cumberland High, also a first time CAPE entrant, received a 0% pass rate and placed second to last in the Educate Jamaica rankings.

Cedar Grove Academy also outperformed traditional C-SEC/academic ranking high-flyers such as Manchester High, Munro High, and York Castle High (new entrant) as well as a number of prominent Corporate area schools such as St George’s High, Calabar High and Jamaica College, all of which slipped noticeably in this year’s rankings, having failed to meet the quality of passes criteria designated by Educate Jamaica to make the cut for Top Performing Schools.

Top 10 Performing CAPE Schools

Only 10 percent of the island’s secondary schools made the top 10. Over 83 percent of the candidate cohort from these “top tier” schools met the Quality Score assigned by Educate Jamaica. New entrant Montego Bay High with a 100 percentage pass rate, unseated Campion High to claim the top spot in this year’s CAPE rankings.

A further disaggregation of the newest Educate Jamaica CAPE rankings places St Jago High, with 68.4 percentage pass in 18th place,  as the top performing St Catherine school, followed by St Catherine High, which ranks at no. 30.

First batch, First time

According to this JIS report, the Cedar Grove Academy opened its doors in September 2013 to 86 Grade 7 students. The school also started with 35 sixth formers in two faculties, the Humanities and Sciences, with strong emphasis placed on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum.

The current rankings would have been generated by the school’s first batch of six formers who sat the 2015 CAPE exams.

EDUCATE JAMAICA (educatejamaica.org) which describes itself as a social enterprise education entity, also publishes C-SEC and GSAT performance rankings for the island’s schools.




Weekend Conference to Tackle Infidelity in Marriage


FEM FB Cover Photo and Web Banner


Can there be Forgiveness and Reconciliation after Infidelity?

She was 17, a little more than a child bride, and eight and a half months pregnant at that. He had just turned 18. With their parent’s consent, they got married. Seven years into a love-filled marriage, it happened. He committed what in many wives’ eyes would be the unforgiveable: an extra-marital affair.

An outside child was born. The days that preceded his revelation to his wife were filled with bitter pills of despair, shame and fear. Even suicide seemed like a viable way out. How Maureen and Philbert Bailey survived those dreadful moments when the bottom fell out of their marriage 33 years ago is a story of the power of a praying wife, an enduring love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and second chances; a compelling story with practical advice from hard-learned lessons any couple struggling to find hope after infidelity will want to hear.

Dr. Philbert U. Bailey and Bishop Maureen Bailey, co-pastors and family counsellors of Pentecostal Gospel Showers are among a team of featured speakers who will share their story at this weekend’s Faithfulness: The Essence of Marriage Conference in the hope of inspiring couples looking for practical, professional and Bible-based advice on how to safeguard their marriage against infidelity and move from recovery to reconciliation.

Here are the event details

WHEN:          December 12, 2015; Time: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

WHERE:       Conference Room, Manpower and Maintenance Service Ltd, 1 Eureka Rd, Kingston 10

WHAT: The Faithfulness: The Essence of Marriage conference will be facilitated by a team of married couples who will bring practical experience to an extensive body of understanding of the dynamics of the marital relationship. The event is specifically targeted for couples in troubled marriages looking to recommit and fortify their marriage. It is also for those couples in otherwise solid, loving relationships who want to further enrich or ‘rekindle the passion’ and safeguard their marriage against infidelity.

WHO:  Presenters’ Schedule

10:30 -12 noon       Safeguarding your Marriage Against Infidelity

Presenters: Family Life Ministries Counselor, Kevin Bailey & Mrs                                   Muriel Bailey

1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.    Overcoming Infidelity in Marriage

Presenters: Pastors Paul and Dorrette Blake

3:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. The Importance of Recommitment and                                                              Reconciliation

   Presenters: Philbert and Maureen Bailey

Break out Session4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. (Husbands and Wives separate)

5:20 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Renewal of Vows Service (Open to all couples wishing to recommit)

WHY: Data contained in the most recent edition of the Demographic Statistics, which is published by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) indicates that Jamaica’s divorce rate has increased while its marriage rate is decreasing. In 2014, 2,410 divorces absolute were granted. The divorce rate in Jamaica is 13 in every 100 marriages. More than a half (53 per cent) of divorces granted were to persons who had been married for between five and 14 years. The data also indicates that 78 per cent of the persons who got divorced were married for fewer than 20 years. No doubt, Christian couples are among these statistics.

Organiser/Convenor of the Faithfulness, the Essence of Marriage Conference, Keisha Ann Thomas, thinks reconciliation is a better and possible option to divorce. Hence, the theme and purpose for this year’s staging: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

She notes that attendees at this weekend’s conference can expect practical, professional and Biblical advice on how to accomplish reconciliation after infidelity. She hopes that the event will renew couples’ faith in their marriage and help them gain a fresh start. “What I most want to see is a birth of healing and forgiveness for those whose marriages are damaged and who feel it’s over; for those whose marriages are working, this conference will also show them how to safeguard it against unfaithfulness,” she noted. To register for the conference, couples can call 934-1300/524-1103 or 442-2288. Single registrants are also invited.

Registration Cost: $2,500 per couple; Single married attendee: $1500

Light Lunch is  included in registration fee.




Braeton Church taking healthcare to the community with mobile medical unit

Photo credit: Damian Chambers, Central Jamaica Conference

Side view of mobile medical and dental clinic commissioned into service by the Braeton SDA Church on Saturday’s unveiling. Photo credit: Damian Chambers, Central Jamaica Conference

The Braeton Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Saturday unveiled its first mobile medical and dental care unit, promising to take its health ministry to the community, and particularly residents unable to access these services due to financial reasons.

According to the Central Jamaica Conference’s website post from which this story originated, the clinic is built within a 20 feet container that sits on a 23 feet flat-bed truck. It has its own electrical generating and water systems and contains 3 offices: two for basic medical services and one for Dental. The project was spearheaded  by Elder Randall Williams, Health Ministries Leader of the Braeton Church, and partly funded by members.

The clinic will be staffed by volunteer doctors and nursing staff from the church’s Health Ministries Department and partners it frequently works with from neighbouring health care facilities in and out of Portmore.

Braeton mobile unit tour

From left: The Honorable Fitz Jackson, MP for South St. Catherine, Dr. Patrick Rutherford, CEO of Andrews Memorial Hospital, Pastor Roy Dennis, Health Ministries Director of Central Jamaica Conference and Pastor Kevon Barnaby, Senior Pastor of the Braeton Church take a tour of the newly unveiled Mobile Clinic during the afternoon of the Launch. [Photo by Damian Chambers]

The launch which was held at the church, located along the Hellshire main road, was attended by Dr. Patrick Rutherford, CEO of the Adventist-owned Andrews Memorial Hospital, who was guest speaker at the Launch, The Honorable Fitz Jackson, MP for South St. Catherine, Pastor Roy Dennis, Health Ministries Director of Central Jamaica Conference and Pastor Kevon Barnaby, Senior Pastor of the Braeton Church.

The Braeton church has maintained an active presence in the Portmore community and hosts an annual health fair, an outreach now in it’s sixth year, which has impacted over 600 persons in the community, the church report stated.

– See more at: http://centralja.org/news-items/first-adventist-owned-mobile-medical-and-dental-clinic-launched-in-jamaica/#sthash.UXtYmfFM.cqWUSA20.dpuf

Portmore-based freelance blogger/ online writer specializing in online content, press releases, magazine articles, business copywriting and editing. Journalist since 1994. Contact me at taylor-karen@hotmail.com.

Community Faithfuls in Portmore Rally to Spirit of Labour Day ; Safety and Aesthetics the focus of Projects

Labour Day Community Roundup

Men painting pedestrian crossing (Not actual photo)

Men painting pedestrian crossing (Not actual photo)

Labour Day was observed on Monday, May 25 this year and in the true spirit of the day community faithfuls across Portmore turned out to contribute their labour and time to various projects, many of which it seems were devoted to beautification of their communities and the creation or restoration of community parks.

Here is a round- up of activities and outcomes I observed in the general Portmore area from Labour Day 2015.

Thanks to the efforts of the 2 East Sabina Citizens association, students of the Greater Portmore Primary school can now safely cross the Braeton Parkway main road that separates the 2 East and 2 West communities. On Labour Day, a group of citizens painted a brand new pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the school. They also painted the sidewalk and cleaned debris and garbage from the community park. According to Selvin Hemmings, president of the 2 East Citizens Association, the aim for creating the school crossing is to make students more visible to motorists, thus increasing the children’s safety.

Another citizen, Brian Canaan expressed hopes that the Labour Day project might instigate greater involvement of community members and the rebuilding of a community vibe.

The garbage-free community park, which was closed briefly due to the lack of maintenance, is again now open to children and adults who want to access its recreational and walking trail facilities, Mr Hemmings revealed.

Paint for the pedestrian crossing was donated by the Portmore Municipal Council.

A trek around other Portmore communities as Labour Day progressed also saw more activities unfolding. The 4 East Kensington area now has a newly constructed bridge to mitigate against flooding which according to residents at the project site, generally affects residents during heavy rains. Cement, steel and refreshment for this activity were provided by the Portmore Municipal Council.

In the true spirit of Labour day, a few Labour Day faithfuls in 3 West  also wielded their machetes and weed blowers as they attacked overgrown foliage and weeds in the community park.

The community entrance at Newton, Braeton area is looking much brighter after citizens applied a fresh coat of paint, while the folks in Bridgeview turned out in small pockets to sweep and paint curbs, and plant flowers in efforts to beautify the entrance to that community.

It was also a labour of love for the parents and teachers of the Christian Gardens Basic School who delivered on the Labour Day theme which this year focused on “Labour of Love: Nurturing Our Children.”  The perimeter walls of the school received a facelift and other beautification work was done on the property  creating a clean and stimulating learning space for the little ones.

Waterford rewarded with Recreation Park

portmore mayor

The official Labour Day Project led by the Portmore Municipal Council took place in the Waterford community this year and saw the creation of a  recreation park which will serve children and the elderly in that community. The park will also offer a green oasis to the community.

Some $2 million of the local government and municipal funds will be spent to develop the Waterford project. The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) reported that the day was spent carrying out preparatory work such as the fencing of the area, laying of topsoil and irrigation work.The project included the planting of grass, trees and construction of swings, slides, jungle gym and benches.

Safeguarding the welfare of the nation’s children was the focus of activities for National Labour Day 2015, under the theme: ‘Labour of Love, Nurturing Our Children’

The Waterford community was favoured this year because of the outstanding tax compliance of property owners in the Waterford division. It was reported elsewhere that residents turned out in their numbers, along with Acting Mayor Leon Thomas and other council officials to beautify the park that was established by the municipal council to reward Waterford for paying their property taxes. “The community of Waterford was very responsive in paying their taxes, so we reward them with this park where they can take their kids to play and have fun,” Thomas told The Gleaner.

Quiet Day

Overall, it was pretty quiet in Portmore with little traffic or persons on streets except for the few persons working in pockets at various sites.  In the Gregory Park area, the most movement seen were of young men and a few girls heading towards Caymanas Track, my taxi driver informed me, to see horses race.  In Waterford, a resident told me that the music I was hearing was a private cookout party in progress.  People treated Labour Day this year as a holiday, and  from all indications (I didn’t get to tour Hellshire to see what was happening on  the beach) spent much of the day at home.

How do we explain the unenthusiastic support for Labour Day activities this year among Portmore residents, and especially the nonchalance towards community building amongst the youth? And who or what is responsible for this? Share your comments below.

Overgrown Canals in Greater Portmore pose Health Threats

This week we had some rain in Portmore, and with a recent notice by the Ministry of Health that Jamaica is again on high alert for another another mosquito borne disease, this time the Zik-V, it is understandable why we in Portmore would be happy but concerned whenever the rain falls over here.  Rain tends to bring with it swarms of mosquitos.

With this threat making residents in 2 West Sabina and  3 East Chedwin and surrounding communities nervous, we are wondering when the Council will get around to cleaning the canals that extend from the bridge at the 2 West entrance and extends along the front of 3 West community.

The conditions for mosquito breeding are increasing everyday as there is now a build-up of sludge and water lilies in the canals creating a stagnant pit. In the 2 West section of the canal that runs between the Greater Portmore Primary and Greater Portmore High school there are now thick rushes growing 10 feet tall that needs to be cleared so the water in the canal can run freely.

I hope the Portmore Municipal Council will attend to this pronto. Those of us who got the Chik V would prefer to avoid its unwelcomed and equally dreaded cousin, the Zik-V.

People Mentions

Before I go, let me wish a speedy recovery to my good friend, Mr. Ellis, Hellshire Estate resident and a serving elder at Hellshire who is in the University hospital at this time. I hope he is listening because the entire Hellshire family is praying for him.

To his wife, Sis Ellis, daughters, Andrea and Andrene, and grand children who are missing Grandpa terribly, chin up. God is in control. Bro Ellis is a founding member, and may I say the longest serving member of the Hellshire Seventh Day Adventist church and is such a sincere and humble servant of God that you can very well understand our sadness that he is not well at this time.

Shout out and  Birthdays

Happy belated birthday to his grandson, Malique Morgan who celebrated his 7 year birthday on Wednesday last week. Special hello also  to my little friends from Newland SDA who may not have heard my shout out last week: Jevaughn Wallace, the little 11 year old fireball preacher who set the place ablaze last Sabbath at the Newland Children’s Day, Giselle Sappleton, my 96 friend Evelyn Boodal, all the children of Newland and the Merene Stanley Brown led team.

Salute  to frequent listener to this programme, Mrs Maiselyn Harris of Portmore SDA Church. Good morning Sis Harris. To all of Portmore, have a fantastic week, and keep listening.

Blogger, Karen Taylor takes you out and about the town of Portmore to get a first hand view of what and where things are happening and help you learn the culture of this young city. Go to the About Page to read more about what to expect from the blog.

Do you have an upcoming community event, citizens association meeting  or concern in your sector you’d like me to cover? Need a professional blogger to help you engage your customers? Leave a comment in the box below. Otherwise email me your advisory or request at outnaboutportmore@hotmail.com.