PACE TV News Bits
The Past Students Association of McIntosh Primary School is embarking on a drive to construct a tuck shop for the school. Located in Williamsfield, Manchester, the students have been excelling academically and last year out-performed most other schools in the parish which participated in the GSAT examinations. The school lacks a proper playing field and other recreational facilities which is hampering its progress in other areas. Parents and students are crediting Principal, Mrs. Sheron Anderson with the dramatic improvement in the schools academic achievements.
President of the Past Students Association, Mrs. Wendy Freckleton is calling on all who can help the school and by extension the students with improving the facilities to do so. Persons wishing to help may call the Principal at 963 4626.
Hampton High School in Malvern St. Elizabeth, is far advanced in its plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary in March. Watch Pace Television next week for the schedule of planned activities. Hampton is also seeking continued contributions from well-wishers to complete the rehabilitation of its hurricane damaged buildings and the construction of an auditorium. According to one member of staff, when Hampton needs to put on a major function, it has to be held at Monroe College.
In the meantime, the repairs to buildings damaged by hurricane Dean are just about completed. Some first year students expressed thier happiness to be given the opportunity to attend the 150 year-old institution. They were particularly impressed by its excellent history in the field of academics.
Some Parents of Victor Dixon High School in Mandeville are very upset about what they allege is some unusual activities at the school two weeks ago. One parent said that during the school’s 'Week of Prayer' some students appeared to have been possessed by unknown forces and were acting strange. One student said students were rolling on the floor while others were beating their heads against walls and screaming.
As a result, ministers of religion had to be called in, the student and parent told Pace TV. They objected to being told that they had to be baptized by the pastors. Victor Dixon High School is a private institution known for its excellence in academics with highly respected teachers.
Mayor of Mandeville, Mrs. Brenda Ramsay addressed members of the Rotary Club of Mandeville recently during the club’s weekly meeting at the Golf View Hotel. She expressed a desire to make Brooks Park, which was one of the region’s premiere sporting venues, functional once again along with other concerns. The mayor said she was not satisfied with the condition or the manner in which the park is being managed.
Well known Mandeville attorney Keith Smith, was recently appointed to the seven member board of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority. Mr. Smith who was last year appointed as a Notary, served on the boards of a number of organizations in the past and is well known for his community service particularly as a Rotarian..
It is hoped that the members of the local Fire Brigade will now be better able to handle bush fires and implement prevention programmes after attending a two day seminar at the Golf View Hotel, January 21st and 22nd. The workshop, which dealt with all facets of bush fires, was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Fire Brigade has come in for a lot of criticism by residents, particularly farmers for its seeming inability to contain bush fires in the parish.
Mayor of Black River, Mr. Jermy Palmer has successfully got the St. Elizabeth Parish Council to defer making any further increase in building fees until there is an island wide fee structure in place. Mayor Palmer contends that parish councils arbitrarily increase fees without the people being able to see the fees as justified. Mayor Palmer was speaking at the last sitting of the St. Elizabeth Parish Council.
The Catholic Community is still mourning the loss former Bishop of Mandeville, Paul Boyle. Bishop Boyle, who retired and went back to the United States approximately 2 years ago was well loved by the entire Mandeville community. He transcended denomination and was dubbed the all denomination Priest. He is remembered for his frankness and his great sense of humor which endeared him to all who knew him.
Alpart in Nain St. Elizabeth is basking in its achievement of operating 5 million man hours without an accident last year. It is not the first time the alumina company has made significant strides in operating without an accident. In 2004 Alpart won the Department of Mining’s award for best safety record in the mining sector. A very pleased Lance Neita, Alpart’s public relations officer, said the company employs over 1400 persons and operates in Manchester and St. Elizabeth..
El Instituto de-Mandevilla held its second annual Founders Day two weeks ago to the delight of parents and students. The occasion is also used to pay tribute to the school’s founder Mrs. Audrey Salmon. Custos of Manchester Doctor the Honorable Gilbert Allen, said the school is an example of“excellence” which is reflected in the conduct and the academic achievements of the students.
After being forced to move from his long time vending spot on the Winston Jones Highway by the Manchester Parish Council, days before the last Local Government election, the Melon Man is now located across from the Melrose Hill bypass Yam Park.
He told Pace that business is not as good at his new location. He also said that security at the Yam Park is of great concern to him. The Melon Man (not real name) has been a fixture at the New Green and Winston Jones Highway round-a-bout for well over twenty years.
Although Mandeville and surrounding areas have been having regular rainfall, the town continues to suffer from the non-supply of water from the National Water Commission (NWC). One resident told Pace that it is full time the entire NWC work force be disbanded as they are just wasting taxpayers' money. The irate resident, who operates a business in the town, contends the NWC has become nothing more than a resting place for its employees who show little concern for the people’s need for water. He said all the “hapless NWC” does, is go to the Manchester Parish Council month after month with the same excuses for not supplying water. He said the short term solution is to “send the entire bunch home and privatize the operation”.
Some workers at the office of the Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA) in Mandeville are expressing fear that there may be a wholesale loss of jobs at that office. An employee told Pace that his, un-official information, is that some persons at the top are not pleased with the present RADA structure and mode of service delivery to farmers and want the employees to go. He also said there allegations that some new Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Government appointees to RADA are of the opinion that too many of the present employeeshave PNP leanings.
Former Deputy Mayor and Councilor for the Mandeville division, Mrs. Sally Porteous is calling on residents to support the police in their efforts to solve crimes in the parish. Councilor Porteoeus is also pleading with persons who may have information pertaining to the recent gun slaying of two persons, a security guard and a pump attendant on Brumalia Road, to call the police and tell what they know. She said the crime level in the Mandeville area is of grave concern and everyone will have to play a role in reversing the current trend.
Haughton’s Pharmacy, which was for more than a half a century was a fixture in the heart of the town, has faded away into retirement without much fanfare. The Haughton’s Pharmacy, for years, was an example of service to community. There is hardly a family in Mandeville which has not been served by the Haughton family through Haughton’s Pharmacy in one way or the other, with the last being Stafford Haughton. Mr. Stafford Haughton, a former member of parliament, past president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Justice of the Peace and a Pharmacist by profession, is also known for his many contributions to the welfare of both the well-off and the poor and was instrumental in the survival of the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital .
The Spur Tree landscape, like many other areas in Manchester, has not escaped the mining bulldozers which have left behind some very dangerous holes, rocks and the like. Resident s of the area are calling on Alpart to return the mined out land to some semblance of what it once looked like. They told Pace the huge holes left behind pose a hazard to motorist and animals, especially when it rains as they are very close to the heavily traveled Spur Tree main road. They said Alpart has always responded positively when residents raised concerns about its activities so they expect the same in this instance.
The town of Newport in south Manchester is fast becoming one of the ugliest rural towns in the region . Ground was broken to expand the town on land donated by the bauxite company, Alpart, four years ago but to date nothing has been done. However, a number of unregulated auto repair stations have taken over the southern part of the town giving it the appearance of a junk yard. One businessman told Pace it is time the Manchester Parish Council take a close look at the activities taking place there before it gets out of hand..
Pedestrians and motorists using the roadways in the heart of Mandeville are finding it easier to move around, this after a new permit parking system went into effect last month. Persons parking on certain sections of Ward Ave, Manchester Road, Park Crescent and other adjoining areas must have a parking permit displayed or face having their motor vehicles immobilized by a big and heavy yellow clamp. Once clamped , the owner will have to pay a fee of more than two thousand dollars to have it removed. Failure to pay may result in the vehicle being impounded at an additional cost.
The new permit parking system seems to have solved the decade old problem of taxi men blocking up the roadways, one the police and the politicians could not find a solution for.
Permits can be purchased at a number of locations in the town, so before you park get a permit or pay more later. Call the Manchester Parish Council for more information @ 962-2278-9.
The Grovetown Primary School in south Manchester is probably one of the most unusual schools in the parish.When Pace visited the school last week, it found an unusually high percentage of its students excelling in mathematics with most of them expressing a love for math. There seems to be no explanation for the unusual liking for the subject except for the input of the teachers.
Teachers at Hatfield Primary and Junior High School continue to call for parental and community help in dealing with students at the School. The school is plagued by boys who display a lack of parental control with a high number of them adding to the police crime numbers. A teacher showed Pace Television a boy, who the other students claimed is the “most efficient thief “ in the parish. One student said the young man operates like the jewelry thief in the movie “The Cat Burglar”, stealing anything he can get his hands on at nights . It is reported that he was spotted as late as three o’clock in the morning breaking into a store. Other boys fight other students with little regard for gender.
In the meantime, the teachers seem to be doing reasonable well with those students who want to learn. A female student said the major problem is that parents do not care about what happens at school as long as the students are away from home during the day.
Other students were observed with no lunch money, with one teacher having to dig in her pocket to pay for lunch for at least four students while Pace Television was there.
The recently opened branch of First Global Bank on Ward Ave in Mandeville is doing quit well, offering an array of financial services. When Pace Tv visited the Bank last week, the staff was extremely friendly and there was no everlastingly long lines which have become the norm at other such institutions. The facility was clean and very customer friendly and looked like a bank . If you have not visited First Global yet, maybe it is time you do, it may just be the bank you need.
Central Manchester member of Parliament, Peter Bunting is proposing to implement skills training for young persons of his constituency, according to a report from his Manchester office. According to the report, Mr. Bunting will be seeking the help of I-T entities and HEARTin the training process. Bunting, who was selected to head the House Economy and Production Committee, said he will be looking into the effects of bauxite mining on the communities in which the mining companies operate.
He also disclosed that Bellefied district in Manchester will be having a new primary school built at a cost of 209 million dollars . The new school will accommodate 840 students. He did not however indicate when work will begin and expected completion date.
A similar announcement was made last year to have a new high school built near Villa Road Primary and Junior High in Mandeville. However, to date not even a block has been erected much less the school.
The National Water Commission (NWC) was blasted by residents of the parish for having the nerve to be seeking a forty four percent increase in water rate during a public forum at the Cecil Charlton Hall recently.
The forum was put on by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) and the NWC to get a feedback from the public. Things did not go well for the NWC, which was told by the residents that they are in no way prepared to pay more for water which it (NWC) has not been able to supply. The residents including a former mayor, Leo Porter contends the NWCis an inefficient organization which has shown no ability to meet the demand for water in the parish for the last thirty years. They claim they have been hearing the same excuses year after year. The OUR did not receive high marks either as the regulator and watch dog.
National Commercial Bank (NCB) has completed the building of its multi-million dollar headquarter on Perth Road in Mandeville. The new headquarters is expected to be opened to the public well before the middle of this month (Feburary).