Monday, 2 November 2020

NEWS FEED: New ODPEM head appointed / MPs to get $3M each for flood-damage repairs / 'One Laptop or Tablet Per Child' initiative launched

THE MAN FOR THE JOB: Leslie Harrow is the new Director-General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). Harrow, a career civil servant known for his work with the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ), takes the up the post effective November 2. In confirming the appointment, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie hailed Harrow as a fine choice for this very important job. "I am confident that his skills and experience will serve the agency and country well. He assumes office at a particualrly busy time, as ODPEM discharges its responsibilities in the midst of the current, intense weather systems," the minister said. "[Harrow] brings to the [post] over 23 years of service in the public sector."

DAMAGE CONTROL: Close to $2 billion will be spent under a newly announced programme by the Holness administration for repair and rehabilitation works to be undertaken across the island as a result of the recent flood damage. Each Member of Parliament will receive $1.5 million from the Housing Fund to assist with house repairs, while another $1.5 million [each] from the Labour and Social Security mininstry will go towards rehabilitation grants for the neediest cases identified in the constituencies. "This is the start," PM Andrew Holness told Parliament. "And as we go through and decide on reallocations, we may be able to do more." 

E-LEARNING: Eliminating [the digital] divide begins with the Government and the private sector coming together, as we are doing here, to put a laptop or tablet in the hands of every Jamaican child, especially those familiies near or below the poverty line," said Education minister Fayval Williams, addressing the recent virtual launch of the 'One Laptop or Tablet Per Child' initiative on Thursday. The Government is providing approximately 148,000 PATH programme students with devices. Still, an additional 100,000 students (not on the programme) are in need. The estimated total cost to provide the laptops and tablets is $4.5 billion.











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