The Port Antonio Hospital, which is experiencing a shortage of equipment, and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), which is yet to achieve university status, are among the priority projects that Ann-Marie Vaz will be taking on as she commences her tenure as Member of Parliament. “An issue [at the hospital] is the [absence of] a kidney dialysis centre, something that I am going to pursue within the first year of me being MP for East Portland. People have to spend three, four days out of Portland because the dialysis machine is in Kingston. I intend to change that,” she says. “And I am pledging my commitment to ensuring that CASE becomes a university. The truth is we send our children abroad to university, [but] Jamaica has the climate that is conducive to education all year round, and we should actually look at capitalizing on education here.”
>> Tributes pour in for Sir Alister McIntyre
The passing of Sir Alister McIntyre, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and a stalwart of regionalism, has met with a wave of glowing tributes from academic and political leaders. “He was an outstanding Caricom secretary-general as we moved from a Free Trade Association into the Caribbean Community. His mastery of the complex technical issues pertaining to trade, finance and the development agenda provided the backbone for the ACP [agreement] throughout the Lome negotiations,” recalls former Jamaican prime minister P.J. Patterson. His close friend Sir Shridath Ramphal couldn’t agree more: “The region’s debt to Alister is payable only in a new enlightenment that makes Caribbean oneness the reality for which we lived.” A Grenadian by birth, McIntyre passed away in Jamaica last Saturday. He was 87 years old.
For this year’s raft of activities being planned to mark Labour Day (May 23), special emphasis will be placed on the safety of the nation’s children. So says Minister (with portfolio responsibility) Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange. According to Grange, Workers’ Week (which starts on Sunday, May 19) and Labour Day come at a critical period for our children and other vulnerable road users, as they take place during Child Month and just before Road Safety Month. “We thought that the evolution of road safety onto this national community-based platform,” says Grange, “would deepen the impact of the existing public-private road safety campaign led by the National Road Safety Council, Ministry of Transport and Mining, Ministry of Education, the JN Foundation, and UNICEF Jamaica, among others.”