Thursday, January 18, 2018
Old Harbour News

Old Harbour News

Koncept Appliances and Furniture says it will be extending its special sale to October 15.

The decision was made after bad weather put a huge damper on Thursday’s grand opening of its second and newest store located on South Street, Old Harbour.

Related Article: A new Koncept for Old Harbour

Only a few persons were bold enough to face the wet weather amidst an islandwide flash flood watch issued by the national Met Service.

But shoppers need not to think that such a grand opportunity has been washed away, said Rohit Gangwani, store owner.

“Not many people came out because of the rain, which is understandable,” said Gangwani. “But so as not to disappoint our customers and those persons who wanted to be present for the grand opening, we will be extending the sale on all items, with up to 50 per cent discount on some items.”

He added: “So from now until next weekend, which is October 15, you can still visit any of our two stores located at Gateway Plaza and on South Street and purchase items at discounted rates.”

Akeliah Dussard is one lucky winner after her ticket was randomly selected for the top prize in a raffle organized by the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of the Marlie Mount Primary and Infant School.

The winning ticket, number 5529, was selected during last Friday’s grand draw on the school’s ground where four other persons also won prizes.

Dussard has the option of taking a round trip to the US city of Miami or a touch screen laptop computer.

Patrick Lennon, the second prize winner, won a 32-inch LED Smart TV, while third prize – a two in one tablet – went to Diane Dawson in a draw conducted by Courtney Campbell under the supervision of PTA president Alaphiah Byfield and principal, Calvin Harris.

The fourth prize, a smart watch, went to Ashante Ellis, while Marshalee Williams – the fifth placed winner – won a standing fan.

There were loud cheers from the students – numbered in the hundreds – for every winning ticket valued at only $100.

An elated Dussard, who purchased only one ticket, told Old Harbour News: “I wasn’t expecting to win anything. I was just supporting it for the case of just supporting a cause because I have a niece attending the school.”

Asked which one of the options she has taken, she said: “I took the second option because I am one of those persons who just never badda fi tek out nuh passport. But I’m glad for the laptop because I will be starting school soon so it comes at the right time.

Principal Calvin Harris (left) and Alaphiah Byfield, PTA president display the winning ticket belonging to Dussard.

“I will be going to look about my passport for sure now because I might win something like this again,” she ended, laughing aloud.

Support for the raffle was excellent said Byfield after the original draw date had to be pushed back due to popular demand. Over 3,000 tickets were purchased, with the proceeds in aid of restoring the infant department play and learn area.

“The raffle was an initiative of the Marlie Mount Primary and Infant School PTA. The staff of the infant department bemoaned the current state of the playground, while reinforcing the benefits of play and learn.

“The initial funding for the raffle came from other fundraising efforts, for example, a bake sale and a sports day paraphernalia fundraising activity from the class of 2017 prefect body.

“With the support of teachers, parents, community members, students and many other well wishers, the current PTA body staged our first major fundraiser. We raised over $330,000.00. In the coming months we will start the renovations of the infant play and learn area. We continue to crave the support of all well-wishers and donors as we continue to enhance our school,” Byfield said.

Thursday, 05 October 2017 12:03

JN Foundation launches disaster relief fund

The JN Foundation has launched a campaign to raise funds that will assist Caribbean islands which were devastated by the recent Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The campaign, called “Help Our Caribbean Neighbours,” was launched recently.

Onyka Barrett-Scott, partnerships and development manager, JN Foundation, said the devastation to several Caribbean islands caused by the hurricanes is heart-rending.

“This is a sad and difficult time for many persons across the Caribbean Region; and we stand in solidarity with everyone affected by these disasters. There are many needs that now exist, therefore, we’ve chosen to respond by raising funds to assist with the response and recovery efforts,” she said.

Barrett–Scott said that the generosity of donors will help to meet some of the hurricane-related needs; and support the recovery plans in the affected countries in the region. The target for the relief fund is US$10,000.

“I urge everyone to support the many families and children in need by giving to this Disaster Relief campaign; and please donate whatever you can. A little can go a very long way,” she added.

Persons can donate to the fund by visiting the ISupport Jamaica platform at www.isupportjamaica.com and clicking on the donate button; by using JN Live; or by visiting the nearest JN Branch or JN Money Shop and making a contribution to the JN Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, account number 2094267610.

Several islands were affected by the major hurricanes, Irma and Maria, which swirled across the northern Caribbean leaving a trail of physical and human disaster behind.

The countries affected include: Barbuda where more than 1,000 residents had to abandon the island, as it was deemed inhabitable; Dominica, which had 27 deaths and the majority of its infrastructure destroyed; the US Virgin Islands and the British

Virgin Islands where most people are still without power; St Maarten, which had a third of its buildings destroyed; as well as Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Jamaica Broilers Group has donated tools, equipment and supplies valued at about $1 million to the Jamaica Defence Force’s contingent which left the island this week for Dominica to assist storm-ravaged neighbours.

In addition, the Group will be shipping food items and clothing over the next few weeks, valued millions of dollars, to selected islands in the region to assist hurricane victims.

“We see it as our responsibility to help those who have been affected and this is just the start of the support we intend to give our Caribbean neighbours who have been dislocated and are without food, water and basic amenities,” said Conley Salmon, president – Jamaica Operations, Jamaica Broilers Group.

“I want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for its quick and positive response to our request for an export permit to allow us to ship relief supplies of food, including Best Dressed Chicken products,” he continued.

“We are also in discussion with our customers who have been left destitute, to see how we may assist them individually. Jamaica has benefited from the kindnesses of people around the world when we have been affected by storms and hurricanes, so it is our turn to show God’s love and care.

“Our members of staff locally and regionally will be playing their part by conducting a clothing drive to assist the hurricane victims. This is how we intend to show love to our neighbours,” Salmon said.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 14:16

A new Koncept for Old Harbour

Imagine you are saving to buy a piece of furniture for $90,000 only to learn that 65 per cent of the original price will suffice and the product is yours. Imagine at that same store on one particular night, you will able to pay only 50 per cent of a particular item and the item is yours owing nothing in the process.

That's what shoppers can expect during the grand opening of Koncept Appliances and Furniture store on October 5, 2017 - dubbed Fashion Night Out.

In less than two years principal director Rohit Gangwani will open a second store in Old Harbour because business has been so “excellent”.

In celebrating his new branch – a sprawling 5,000 square feet of space located on South Street, Old Harbour – Gangwani is keen on taking customer satisfaction to unbelievable heights never before seen at least in this part of the island.

“On the opening night we’ll be giving up to 50 per cent discount on some items. Like I have a dresser for $60,000, I will give you for $35,000. Fridges for $95,000, I’ll give that for $65,000. And say a 32-inch TV is for $35,000 I will drop that for $27,000,” Gangwani discloses during a sit down chat with Old Harbour News at his first branch at Gateway Plaza where shoppers were noticeably streaming in and out every 10 minutes on average.

Having left Mumbai, India five years ago Gangwani has been in the furniture and appliances business long enough to understand what customers want.

Koncept Appliances and Furniture new branch at South Street, Old Harbour

He spent his first few years doing business in Spanish Town, the parish capital, located 12 miles east of Old Harbour. While at Spanish Town, Gangwani noticed a particular trend.

The decision to set up shop in Old Harbour was an easy one, he said.

“When I was in Spanish Town, most of my customers were from Old Harbour,” he stated. “Then the way Old Harbour is developing with so many houses being built it was the right decision. Business is so excellent right now.”

Keeping customers happy is very important, he stresses, a character trait he lives by.

“We offer warranty on our products, do free delivery and installation at a discounted price. For example we give three years warranty on fridges and five years on AC units. We also sell industrial and commercial items. We have been supplying a lot of businesses in Old Harbour like Kaluga and Andre Russell’s Restaurant,” Gangwani said with great pride.

“We believe in excellent customer service. Old Harbour never had a good place like this before. Now the people don’t need to go to Spanish Town or May Pen to shop for furniture and appliances”

At the grand opening shoppers will experience 14 hours of rock bottom prices with business scheduled to open between the 9:00 am and 11:00 pm.

It's an opportunity of a lifetime for shoppers.

But should one unfortunately miss out on the grand opening, Gangwani is confident his new concept of offering quality products at cheap price, top class customer service, along with a host of spectacular offerings will set him apart from the competition.

“Our interaction with the customers is amazing and we take care of them so much they don’t need to go anywhere else. The prices are cheaper than anywhere else,” he said

A group of Jamaicans living in the United States of America donated more than 150 pairs of sneakers to aid the development of young basketball players in Jamaica.

The kind gesture was largely driven in part by Barrington Bonitto, Gary Thomas and Michael Williams with the bulk of the footwear going to the Old Harbour Basketball Academy (recently renamed the Kevon Godfrey Basketball Academy) and Jamaica College.

It was borne out of a discussion among great friends Bonitto and Thomas, who took the initiative to reach out.

“I coordinated it with my good friend Gary Thomas,” Bonitto recalled in an interview with Old Harbour News via Facebook. “His daughters came to my summer basketball camp in Long Island.

“There was a young man from Old Harbour High school that was attending. Gary's wife is Jamaican, we started talking about Ricardo (Edwards) and Mike (Michael) Williams and the great job they do with the kids out in Jamaica.

“Then I mentioned that some of the kids didn’t have sneakers to play in. Gary was touched and took it upon himself to reach out to some of his friends that coach and run basketball programmes.

“The response was overwhelming. In just two weeks we collected approximately 150 pairs of new and slightly worn sneakers.

“Presently we're in round two of the sneakers drive, and expect to deliver another 200 pairs to help other kids get sneakers on their feet.”

Ricardo Edwards, co-founder of the Old Harbour Basketball Academy is grateful.

“The students of the Kevon Godfrey Basketball Academy were elated upon receiving the sneakers from some wonderful persons living in the USA who I refer to as friends of the academy. I am happy to see the joy and hope it brings,” said Edwards, who is also coach of the Old Harbour High basketball team. “Some may say how one pair of sneakers can do that, but it opens the door for them to see the possibilities that are before them that that pair of sneakers might be the game changer in their lives.”

He added: “I am grateful to those who made it possible that may help one life saved, which may save a family, a community and even a country.”

The men are now hoping their benevolence will gain additional support to enable them to help more children, who through the sport can achieve their dreams.

“My imagination has no limits brother,” said Bonitto in response to the positive impact their charitable deed is likely to create back home.

“We intend to take it to wherever it leads us. There are so many kids that love the sport, and if they have resources, something as simple as sneakers, basketballs, facilities, etc, the possibilities are endless.”

Plans are also in the pipeline to stage in December an inaugural invitational basketball tournament to honour the memory of Kevon Godfrey, who died from cancer in August.

Godfrey, past student of Old Harbour High, earned a US basketball scholarship last year, before his untimely death.

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Ministry of National Security will be partnering to unearth and develop talent and to upgrade sport infrastructure within institutions falling under the Department of Correctional Services.

Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, spoke of the partnership when she addressed the Opening Ceremony of the We Transform Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme Competition and Expo at the headquarters of the Girl Guides Association this morning.

The We Transform Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme is run by the Ministry of National Security and was established to provide children between 12 and 17 years in correctional institutions “with the skills sets, character and support to become productive citizens.”

Minister Grange said, “In the partnership the Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will sign a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) under which the JCDC will unearth, train, expose and develop the various talents of young people in the correctional institutions.”

She said that with the direction from the JCDC such talent, including boys and girls, could be honed to participate in the 2018 Independence celebrations.

The Sport Minister said the Ministry would also work with the Ministry of National Security to upgrade sports infrastructure at the correctional institutions. “I am putting my money where my mouth is,” Minister Grange told State Minister for National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles, who established The We Transform Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme in 2016. “In the same way that the Ministry has embarked on a programme to develop sport infrastructure in communities and in schools, we will see to the funding for the upgrade of sport facilities in the correctional institutions.”

Minister Grange said she was pleased to endorse The We Transform programme and to align the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport as well as the Jamaica 55 Secretariat to its successful implementation.

She was conducted on a tour by Minister Charles of the exhibition of items produced by the wards competing in the Expo. On display were items of clothing, art and craft, jewelry and food.

Mickalia Grant, a final year Northern Caribbean University (NCU) student and first-place winner in the Red Stripe Drink Right App Design competition has been rewarded a full year’s academic scholarship, a coveted three-month paid internship at Red Stripe and bragging rights from the world’s coolest beer company.

“I developed an affinity for technology at an early age, from as far back as high school and pretty soon I was the go-to person among family members and friends for all things high-tech,” said Grant. Now at age 20, the NCU fourth year student is majoring in Information Systems with a focus on computer software and hardware. She applied the skills garnered in the programme to influence peers around responsible drinking by participating in the Red Stripe Drink Right App Design competition.

Launched on December 22, 2016, the competition saw entries from students of various tertiary level institutions across Jamaica, with Information Technology and Computer Science majors at The University of the West Indies, The University of Technology, and NCU among those vying for first place.

Supplied with only the source code for the company’s previous application, students were given one month to conceptualise and execute a completely new and appealing app design. “When I heard about the Drink Right App Design Competition I was both nervous and excited,” said Grant. “I was nervous about entering the competition because I did not believe I could finish in time for submission, while having to balance studies for my final examinations. However, with the support of my parents, friends and my faculty advisor at NCU, I found the confidence and drive to complete the app, while still passing all my exams.”

An expert panel of information technology and computer science professionals was assembled to evaluate the entries, to assess how well each met the established guidelines. The main areas of assessment included the incorporation of a blood alcohol concentration calculator that met the standard of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, an improved user interface, social media integration, an age verification mechanism, an event calendar, and a user feedback mechanism.

Red Stripe first introduced the Drink Right mobile app in 2015, where it formed part of a broader responsible drinking campaign dubbed Drink Right. Since then, the company has sought to increase the visual appeal of the app and expand its functionalities. “Our aim is to have more young adults practicing responsible drinking. It made perfect sense to recruit one of them to help us re-design this app,” explained Garth Williams, Red Stripe’s sustainability manager. “This competition has also given us an opportunity to aid in the progress of Jamaica’s future in software engineering and show the world just how talented our youth are,” Williams said.

Williams added that Che-Andre Gordon, computer scientist and co-founder of Pionic Works assisted Grant in arranging the final aesthetics of the app and making it more user friendly, but it was Grant who did the work to bring her vision for the app to reality.

In addition to her academic scholarship and a three-month paid internship at the Red Stripe, Grant shared that entering the competition was a fulfilling experience that has contributed significantly to her personal growth and development. “It was a great opportunity to learn more and channel my passion into something that could really make a difference in the lives of others. I was motivated by the possibility of my design encouraging people to drink responsibly or even saving a life,” she shared.

The newly designed app is equipped with exciting new features and is it expected to be launched later this month

Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited, a fertilizer supply company, has introduced its range of NPK blends that contain 100 per cent certified organic matter as carrier with exclusive distribution to be done by H&L Agro.

Speaking at the launch event, at Hardware & Lumber headquarters, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Hardware & Lumber, Olive Downer-Walsh shared the inspiration behind the partnership.

“We aim to better the lives of our Jamaican people, allowing them to reap healthier and more wholesome produce, as we continue to enhance Jamaica’s agricultural productivity and bolster the government’s efforts at maximum food security,” she said.

“This partnership came about naturally as H&L Agro has the footprint and direction Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited needs to get this product out to Jamaican farmers so they can enjoy better crops and a more nourishing soil,” said Daniel McHugh, managing director, Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica. “We’re excited to have H&L Agro onboard as together we strive to take Jamaica’s agricultural sector to new heights.”

At the launch, Hon. William J.C. Hutchinson, minister without portfolio, in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, lauded H&L Agro, a division of Hardware & Lumber Ltd. and Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited on the launch, and the donation of two tonnes NPK blends of Sapphire fertilizers, to the National Irish Potato Production Programme.

The minister then went on to commend the Sapphire team on their innovative move in making available to the Jamaican farmers a 100 per cent certified organic fertilizer that will serve to enhance both plant and soil health.

Commenting that Jamaica’s current food import bill is upwards of US$800 million, Minister Hutchinson elaborated on the importance of partnerships of this nature in reducing this figure and stimulating the growth of the local agricultural sector. “I welcome the partnership between H&L Agro and Sapphire Agriculture Jamaica Limited. Through this partnership our farmers will have access to a wide array of products. I believe that partnerships, whether they are between the various government agencies, or private and public sectors, are critical to the overall development of our country,” he said.

The minister noted that due to the introduction of the national irish potato production programme, the agriculture ministry has recorded an over 90 per cent self-sufficiency rate, a sharp increase when compared to the 39 per cent rate in 2008. This figure is set to further increase following the donation of two tonnes of Sapphire Fertilizer, made to the Minister by H&L Agro and Sapphire Agriculture.

Galdford Brown, a coffee farmer of 30 years who has been using Sapphire Fertilizer for the past year on his crop grown at the Blue Mountains, shared his testimonial of the benefits derived from using the fertilizer. “When I just started using the Sapphire Fertilizer, I wasn’t expecting miracles, but I must say, I have seen the difference in the robustness of my plants, I have had a wonderful harvest, I have seen an excellent improvement in my beans,” he said.

Composed of 100 per cent certified organic matter as the filler, Sapphire Fertilizer is made from a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium pellets and granules which increase the nutritional value and quality of crops and also improves the soil overtime. Sapphire Fertilizer becomes the first local fertilizer to receive international safety certification for its fertiplus which is a certified organic tested in regions such as Asia, Europe and the US.

H&L Agro is the exclusive distributor of Sapphire Fertilizer, and through its H&L Agro stores, select Rapid True Value Stores and over 200 H&L Agro dealers islandwide, the products will allow farmers convenient access.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:03

VIDEO: Hiya Flames taking it one step at a time

Upcoming reggae artiste Hiya Flames recently released his new video One Step At A Time.

The video, part of which was shot in Old Harbour, urges persons to stay focus despite all the negative energy that surrounds them. The video is produced by Brickwall Entertainment.

Born Eurlando Williams, the 26-year-old artiste, grew up in the Waltham Park area of Kingston and later Clarendon, and has been doing music for the last 10 years.

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