Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 11:48

PCC Health Fair: Giving back to Old Harbour

The weather may have put a damper on things but it certainly did not stop organizers of the Portmore Community College Health and Wellness Fair from putting on a show.

There were lots of booths and plenty to sample at its Old Harbour Campus on October 27. From delicious edibles to getting a well overdue facial from the Shades of Elegance team.

The health and wellness mantra is hot topic not only in Jamaica but globally.

“It is important to us as a college to give back to the community as an area of our corporate, social responsibility. So we are trying to give back to the community and to also make our presence be felt in the community… and to see the services that we can offer as well as what other companies can offer,” said Andrea Nickle-Higgins, acting vice-principal at the college.

“Out of this we are saying that there are a number of persons in the Old Harbour community who probably cannot go and find these services themselves."

Throughout the day the public enjoyed free blood pressure and glucose testing, cancer screening such as papsmear, HIV test, counseling session, and doctor’s advice among several other health tips in accordance with its theme “empowering the nation through sustainable healthy lifestyle practices”.

“The response has been great. However, the rain has hampered some of our sponsors. Because of the rain they thought that we would not have continued and so they did not show up. But most of them have turned up,” Nickle-Higgins added.

All students from its nursing faculty were also out in droves, playing a lead role which will contribute to their overall grades at the end of the semester.

Student nurse Sonia Thompson was kept busy before pausing to talk to us. “It helps us how to really get a feel of how to deal with the clients that we go out to meet on a daily basis,” she told Old Harbour News.

Thompson’s colleague Shadae Biersay, a fellow student nurse, says being outdoors has a positive effect.

“In the hospital it’s a different setting. In the hospital you tend to find patients sad, while out here everybody is up and active and interacting… so it’s a better feel,” Biersay said. “I am happy to serve people because I like to see people healthy and happy.”

And even a few nurses got the time to enjoy a little pampering on the day. Vanessa Dayes had no intention letting this opportunity pass, telling Old Harbour News “the truth is usually, I don’t get it done at all”.

After getting all dolled up a chirpy Dayes said: “Everything is going good so far; it’s a great experience. I don’t start my duty as yet, so I’m just enjoying the moment.”

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Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) is the flagship programme at the Old Harbour Campus of the Portmore Community College.

And one could see why that is the case during their April 20 grand official reopening of its Hospitality and Tourism Centre, refurbished at an estimated cost of over $2 million – all funded from the schools’ tuition purse, conceptualized and managed by the HTM final year students.

Though it was a difficult task initially, the students will leave the college with a great sense of accomplishment, says Latoya Williams, one of the chief planners.

“At least we have left a mark. We did something to market the school even more,” Williams, who is among a batch of 38 students, told Old Harbour News following the conclusion of the official ceremony and a tour of the facility.

She added: “We didn’t have to depend on government to do it, which would not have been a bad idea, but at least we can work off what we had. It’s a lot of work… we didn’t have tiles in place, now we have tiles. The only thing we need now is an awning to bring it off, but we will get there. Hopefully we will get some sponsorship.”

Photo: Contributed

The renovated facility comprises a flat, a restaurant which has been operating since January offering takeout and dining services, and a bar. All things being equal, a mini conference room will be added.

The project was used as a practicum for the students, which provides an ideal setting in preparing them for the world of work in the hospitality and tourism sector.

“It speaks to commitment, dedication, hard work, and that goes for everybody: students and staff both present and past. It speaks to a spirit that is embodied in Portmore Community College in that we work together to make things better. It is more than just a job. It is a commitment to excellence. It is a commitment to allowing persons who might not have been able to access tertiary or post-secondary education to get a degree that is recognized and accredited,” said PCC principal Corrine Richards.

For the moment the restaurant is open once per week, providing students with invaluable real work experience. According to Richards, the college prepares its students for the global marketplace and is already looking to strengthen its foreign language programme to give each graduate a competitive advantage.

Photo: Contributed

Such an advantage could be realized sooner and closer to home here in Old Harbour, with key stakeholders working towards establishing the area as a community tourism destination on the island.

It is a vision that the PCC unreservedly supports.

“I’m a big believer in community tourism. Our rural communities are rich in heritage, rich in culture, and personally I think that we (Portmore Community College) need to focus a lot more on that as we go forward,” said Richards.

Special commendations were reserved for Williams and the event management team, teacher Omar Frith, and Sheril Ramsaroop who is the campus director.

School board chairman Karl Henlin and former principal Karen Hewitt-Kennedy participated in the symbolic ribbon cutting exercise.

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Sunday, 06 September 2015 21:21

Mears provisional winner amid Miller boycott

Businessman Rudyard ‘Kippy’ Mears was this evening announced as the provisional candidate for the governing People’s National Party (PNP) in St Catherine South West despite his rival Dr Keste Miller belatedly boycotting the election.

The selection exercise went ahead nonetheless with Mears trouncing the former Government Senator 567-10.

But the official announcement will be made at the PNP headquarters in Kingston tomorrow following a review of the process with General Secretary Paul Burke and other members of the party hierarchy.

Despite Miller’s late decision not to participate in the democratic process, today’s election to decide who will challenge the Jamaica Labour Party’s Everald Warmington, was “free and fair”, Denise Daley, chairman of the PNP Region Four, told Old Harbour News.

“Comrade Keste Miller has explained from morning that he would not want to be a part of the process, so we cannot use the 10 to determine how many amount of votes that he got. However, we will be going to the secretariat to have a proper result to be able to give to you and the constituents so that you will be able to give your support,” Daley declared after announcing the results which she referred to as “preliminary”.

The process was also overseen by PNP Vice President Noel Arscott, who called for unity inside the party amid an unusual high amount of internal elections.

“What we know is that a unified People’s National Party cannot be stopped. Unity is what we are about,” Arscott told scores of supporters. “I’m sorry Comrade Miller is not here because we want to fix up the business of the PNP side and deal with the JLP.”

“Old Harbour, today has been a good day for the People’s National Party, we expect unity, we expect solidarity and we expect victory. I’m going to see the party leader tomorrow and I am going to tell her that the people of south west St Catherine is ready for the People’s National Party,” he added.

With his status of being the caretaker of the constituency almost assured, an elated Mears also called for unity.

“Comrades, I officially thank you for your support but we have a task ahead and we don’t need just the support here, we need the support of the others who didn’t support me in this selection. We need the support of this constituency who is looking on at us, the way we conduct ourselves, the way we conduct our business… and I want to appeal to you that tomorrow morning it must be one love for the People’s National Party in south west St Catherine and in Jamaica.

“Comrades, we have work to do, but we have to embrace (each other) for one purpose and it’s to defeat the Jamaica Labour Party in south west St Catherine and in Jamaica,” said Mears, who defeated Miller 90-35 last year in the race to become chairman of the constituency and was also retained unopposed for the said post a few weeks ago.

Old Harbour News understands that prior to the proceedings which got underway at 10 o’clock this morning; Dr Miller expressed dissatisfaction with the voter’s list, claiming that some of his supporters were not listed.

Except for a handful of supporters who hang around to hear the verdict, neither Dr Miller nor any member of his inner circle was seen when Old Harbour News got to the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus.

And although she believes that the process can stand up to scrutiny, Daley was disappointed in the manner the Miller camp went about the issue.

Daley said: “The process was free and fair based on the list that we got from the general secretary of the People’s National Party.

“There were about 10 groups of people that were not on the list based on Comrade Keste Miller, who is one of the aspirants, (argument). But I was told that up to Thursday (last week) he had agreed with the list which was being distributed from the People’s National Party. And I was told that both candidates signed off on the list. I was then surprised that they were some concerns with the 10 groups. However, I met with some of the supporters of Comrade Keste Miller. I met with a group this morning who expressed the view that they were not able to vote as a result of not being on the list and I promised them that if they register today I would take the names to the People’s National Party headquarters and make sure that they were either eligible or not eligible to vote, and if they were eligible to vote we would fix a date and give those persons the right to vote and at that time we would count the total amount of ballots.

“They rejected it outright so I had no other choice more than to proceed as plan. I’m very disappointed overall that as a party we know how to communicate and to make sure that we get it right before today. And in my view if on Thursday you send a nominee and we did a walk through and you decided that everything was okay, even though the 10 groups were not there, in which he said he would love for them to be on the list, but they would proceed.

“I’m very sorry that everybody did not take part in the process, because his name was on the ballot and his photograph was on the ballot and persons still came and gave support in the way they thought.”

A total of 1200 delegates were eligible to vote.


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Adrian Samuda, interim president of the Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce (OHCC), says with the police having rid the streets of vending, stakeholders must shift their focus towards helping vendors operate in an environment that’s conducive to ply their wares.

In a communiqué to its members, Samuda commended the Old Harbour Police for its zero tolerance approach towards street vending but also noted the importance of the work of vendors to the macro and micro economy of the town and Jamaica in general.

Said the Chamber President: “The Old Harbour Chamber of Commerce supports growth and development of the business district and the wider communities. The Chamber’s position is that all government bodies have a role to play in Old Harbour realizing sustainable development and growth. The market place is more competitive as improved roads have drawn businesses outside of Old Harbour closer.

“The police’s role is to protect and serve the business community. Protecting and serving entails having free and clean sidewalks and roadways. Businesses will attract more customers because of less commuter frustration due to traffic. The police will be able to move freely if an incident arises.

“We must ensure that the police protect and serve. We must also realize and understand that the vendors that we want off the street are fundamental to our micro economy. They too have a multiplier effect on all segment of our economy both micro and macro. We want them in business also; therefore we must ensure that a proper space with all the necessary facility is in place for them to have sustainable businesses. We have to admit that the market condition is poor. The market is not attractive to both vendors and customers.

“Now that the streets are clean and traffic moving smoothly. Let us say congratulation to the new police commander. Let us now turn our attention to the local government bodies to create facilities for our vendors and customers. We have to ensure that all businesses survive. Let us put our minds, efforts, connections and pens together to assist the vendors. We do not need any fall out in our local economy.”

And in an effort to continue dialogue with the people the police, headed by chief commander DSP David White, will host a third meeting with stakeholders this evening at the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus.

The OHCC president is urging members of the business community to come out in their numbers for the meeting scheduled to start at 6:00 pm.

The campaign to rid the streets of vending, which although still illegal under Jamaican law is a widespread practice across the country, began since the transfer of DSP White earlier this month.

But the higglers have long argued that the market, which is owned and operated by Local Government agency the St Catherine Parish Council, is in an unhealthy state. They cite poor sanitary facility, lighting and security as reasons for selling on the streets.

In a recent meeting with the higglers, organized by the police, the St Catherine Parish Council stated that only 26 of the 300 available spaces in the market are occupied by paid-up registered vendors.


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Commander in charge of the Old Harbour Police Station, Deputy Superintendent David White will engage civil society and businesses at a meeting on August 27, starting 6:00 pm.

The meeting, he told Old Harbour News, stems from door to door interactions with other members of the Old Harbour business community, which also include Chinese business interests.

DSP White and his team recently met with members of the Old Harbour Chamber Commerce where he outlined a raft of initiatives all aim to restore law and order in one of the fastest growing towns on the island.

He said representatives from the major banks and credits unions based in the town have all indicated a desire to meet with the police to hear plans to fight crime.

Civic groups are also welcome to share their views and participate in discussions regarding how as citizens they can contribute to the process, he said.

Since his transfer to Old Harbour, DSP White has taken a zero tolerance approach to activities such as street side vending, bars operating without licence and unpermitted entertainment events – all illegal under Jamaican law.

His actions have however divide public opinion, with some persons voicing strong support, while anti-supporters say its oppressive and will ultimately contribute to a rise in criminal activities.


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The Portmore Community College hosted Hospitality Day on March 4 at its Old Harbour Campus with a series of activities to help raise awareness and highlighting the importance of hospitality to the country and its role in contributing to the economy.

Using the theme “Making your career opportunity through hospitality and tourism a reality” the institution marked the day with key presentations delivered by Adrian Samuda of Kaluga Kafe and Damion Crawford, state minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment.

Tobi-Ann Smith, who is acting coordinator for the programme at the college, says unfortunately the sector is still fighting to get the respect it deserves.

Old Harbour News was there to capture the events as they unfolded through the lens of Aaron Fogah of FogahStyles Photography.

Hospitality has been the flagship programme at the college for several years now, contributing thousands of students to the tourism sector.

See images below. Visit the Old Harbour News Facebook page to view more images.

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Head honcho of Kaluga Kafe Adrian Samuda delivered an inspiring lecture about the journey to realize his dream of owning his business.

Samuda, a 30-year-old entrepreneur, was addressing students at Portmore Community College as the institution celebrated Hospitality Day at its Old Harbour Campus on March 4.

The owner of Old Harbour’s premier chill spot, made some telling revelations about his struggles in academia, but it was his deep desire to taste success that made a massive difference in his young life.

A holder of a master’s degree in business administration, Samuda implored the over 100 students to follow their own heart but cautioned that without “preparation, planning and passion” success will remain an elusive dream.

Click audio to hear excerpts from Samuda’s lecture.

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Tourism is Jamaica’s biggest foreign exchange earner for decades now and is expected to continue playing the lead role in this regard for many years to come.

Speaking against this background at the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus State Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment Damion Crawford argued that the future of the country lies in the hands of those working in this multibillion dollar industry.

He also argued that workers in this industry are the country’s biggest ambassadors as their day-to-day interaction with some three million tourists annually is the most important factor why foreigners continue to revisit our shores.

Crawford, who was the guest speaker as the college celebrated Tourism and Hospitality Day on March 4 organized to increase awareness and the importance of the industry, urged the students to aspire to become entrepreneurs in agriculture and manufacturing because the two are vital to the tourism sector.

Hospitality and Tourism is the college’s flagship programme offered only at its Old Harbour Campus. The college hosted a series of activities to celebrate this special day.

Click on audio file to hear edited excerpts from Crawford’s presentation.

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In what was a one-sided affair, the UWI Pelicans pummelled Portmore Community College 80-0 to secure their first win of the season in the Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association Rugby League 13's competition yesterday.

Misioka Tanilu top scored with eight kick conversions and two trys. This defeat has left Portmore Community College firmly rooted at the bottom of the table with zero points.

The second match of the day saw Damone Downer's nine kick conversions along with Antonio Baker's three trys helping the MICO Crocs to defeat the Excelsior Eagles 46-12.

This win puts the MICO Crocs, the defending champions on 10 points and in joint first position with the G.C. Foster Lions who had defeated the UTech Knights earlier in the week.

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