Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Old Harbour News

Old Harbour News

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 11:15

Three injured after car overturned in Marlie Hill

Two persons remain hospitalized while another was treated and released after a car overturned in Marlie Hill, St Catherine Monday evening.

The injured were coming from a funeral in the area when the Toyota motor car went over a ditch. The incident happened about 5:30 pm.

Old Harbour News understands that the male driver suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung, while one of the two females had a broken collarbone and a dislocated shoulder.

The police traffic unit is investigating.

Marlie Mount defeated Ensom City 11-7 to lift the INSPORTS St Catherine Primary School Netball crown at the Homestead Community Centre last Friday.

The St Catherine south west side led their Spanish Town opponents 3-1 at the end of the first quarter and managed to hold a one-point lead at the half-time break.

Ensom rallied briefly to draw level at 7-7 at the end of the third quarter. However, a fired up Marlie Mount netted four unanswered goals in the deciding quarter to claim their first major netball title.

Marlie Mount’s victory was inspired by captain and wing-defence Donette Wallace, who was named MVP of the final.

Tudian Green, coach of Marlie Mount, was ecstatic at the end amid wild celebrations and attributed hard work and dedication as the key reasons behind the historic victory.

Meantime, dethroned champions Spring Garden, who lost to Marlie Mount in the semi-finals, drubbed Linstead’s York Street 9-1, to secure third spot.

In football, Marlie Mount were on a high after their netball team won the parish title earlier at the same venue.

But their spirits were shattered by the brilliant Jaedeo Mitchell who scored in the 37th and 52nd minutes to give Friendship Primary a deserved 2-0 semi-final victory.

Friendship will play defending champions McAuley Primary in final is set for December 12, 2017 at Homestead starting 12:30 pm, while Marlie Mount and Ensom City will contest the third-place kick-off at 11:00 am.

Monday, 04 December 2017 17:06

Usain Bolt immortalized in statue

Sprint legend Usain Bolt, arguably the greatest athlete of all times, has been immortalized with a statue in his honour in Kingston, Jamaica.

At a ceremony, led by Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness among other luminaries including the iconic Bolt himself, an eight-foot bronze statue was unveiled at Statue Park at the entrance of the National Stadium.

Bolt’s statue, sculpted by renowned artist Basil Watson, will now share eternal space with many of the country’s athletics great such as Herb McKinley, Merlene Ottey and Donald Quarrie.

“Never did I feel that I would be in this moment, as big as it is now, among statues at the National Stadium where it all began,” said Bolt, winner of six individual Olympic gold medals and seven individual world titles.

Bolt, the world record holder for the 100m and 200m, added: “This is why I always encourage everybody. Anything is possible, no limits. Because at no point in time did I ever think I would achieve this much, but I've always pushed on and stayed focused for what I want.”

In a video message during the ceremony, IAAF President Sebastian Coe acknowledged the impact Bolt has had on athletics.

“Usain has changed the face of our sport,” said Coe. “His has been an extraordinary career which has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, good sportsmanship and professionalism.

“His career has exemplified competitive excellence, extraordinary character, outstanding sportsmanship and professionalism, all of which has made him a global superstar.

“Usain may have left the track but I know he will never leave the sport and we look forward to working closely with him on the next part of his journey in the greatest sport on the planet,” added Coe. “On behalf of the world of athletics, thank you to a giant of world sport who has made an immense contribution to athletics worldwide.”

While lauding the achievements of the sprinter, Prime Minister Holness says it’s important that the National Stadium is upgraded to world class status to hosts world class events and nurture more Usain Bolts for the future.

The Old Harbour police say they are still awaiting relatives to formally indentify the body of a man who was found dead in the early hours of last Saturday morning.

The deceased is believed to be Patrick Gordon, who was found across from his Lues Crescent, Bay View Gardens home with what appear to be a single gunshot wound to the head.

According to the police, at about 1:50 am officers were summoned to the location after residents heard an explosion. Upon the arrival of the police the man, with long dreadlocks, was found suffering from a wound to the head.

A motive is yet to be established for the killing. Investigation continues.

The Old Harbour Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on December 17.

The historic traditional event takes place across many Jamaican towns and cities signalling the official start to the festive season.

Steve Graham, councillor of the Old Harbour Central Division, recently confirmed the date with Old Harbour News.

The decades-old ritual is one many citizens and businesses anticipate as streets are kept abuzz throughout the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

With schools scheduled to close for the holiday, children are usually out in their thousands along with parents.

For many the occasion is an opportunity to grab an early gift or purchase items on discount. And for others it's an event they look forward to every year along with family and friends.

Navigating the busy streets will also be a huge challenge for pedestrians and motorists, who urged to use alternate routes.

Meanwhile the police say several crime fighting measures will be deployed to ensure the safety and security of all during the ceremony and throughout the festive period.

It was a pleasant surprise when Old Harbour News learnt that one of the fashion designers behind Miss Jamaica Universe Davina Bennett’s wardrobe is a native of Old Harbour.

Within hours we made contact with Donald Mirander, the young 24 year-old designer who only got involved in the trade three years ago.

Bennett ignited global appeal as she finished third from 92 beauties in the 2017 Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas two weeks ago.

The stunning Nubian beauty from Mitchell Town, Clarendon, had tongues wagging as she sported a distinct natural afro hairstyle along with several eye-catching outfits, some of which were done by Mirander, who gre up in the Old Harbour community of Marlie Mount.

Mirander, a past student of Marlie Mount Primary and Glenmuir High, was the creator behind Bennett’s royal blue cocktail dress that had an extravagant knot at the back and also the black jump suit worn by the Miss Jamaica Universe winner at the Celine Dion concert in Vegas.

Donald Mirander (left) and Davina Bennett (Photo: Contributed)

In an effort to maintain uniqueness and originality, the Rednarim brand founder told Old Harbour News, that he tries not to read too much fashion articles.

“I try not to read too much fashion news, because I want to maintain originality. And even if I look at what’s trending, I put my personal touch to it to give it that unique look,” Mirander, who recently graduated from the University of Technology with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Apparel Design Production and Management, said.

It took him less than a week to design, cut, sew and complete the pieces worn by Bennett during her time in Vegas, he revealed in our interview recently.

“All the materials were bought here in Jamaica,” he said of the pieces done for the beauty queen. “Yes, we have some good materials here in our local stores.”

The partnership with Bennett only started in May of this year, he recounted, after doing a show in Kingston.

“It was Davina who reached out to me after I did a show at the Jamaica Pegasus,” he said. “She was like ‘I like really love your work’ and then we had a meeting the same week.”

Since then the two have been working together, with Mirander the artist behind Bennett’s pieces paraded at the Miss Jamaica Universe pageant in August.

Despite his limited years in the fashion industry, Mirander’s work has been a real shot in the arm, a work of artistry and imaginativeness.

Jamaica's 'First Lady' Juliet Holness in her Rednarim design (Photos: Contributed)

His work has been strutted by Jamaica’s ‘First Lady’ Juliet Holness, wife of the Prime Minister; 2015 Miss World third runner-up Sanetta Myrie; 2016 Rhodes Scholar Sherona Forrester and he was even invited to join the 2017 Miss World Wardrobe.

Increased attention is highly anticipated, but the young university graduate, who was the only male in his batch, is up for the rising demand that is to come.

“Yes, definitely,” says the talented designer who finished top of class, “there has been a steady growth. I will have to expand for sure. But everything comes down to managing the demands. It’s important not to take on too much work because I do not want to compromise on the high quality standard I’ve set myself.”

Mirander can be found via Facebook and Instagram

The following is an open letter from the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the government by the Jamaica in response to the recent passing of the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) Bill.

The Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) expresses profound disappointment and unease over the passage of the National Identification and Registration (NIDS) legislation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday November 21, 2017. In passing this legislation the Prime Minister and members of Government have totally ignored the plea of nearly 50,000 Jamaicans persons who have petitioned for a halt to the process.

We continue to hold the view that most Jamaicans are unaware of the intent and impact of this legislation, which will have far-reaching consequences for how Jamaican society functions. Most Jamaicans are unaware that this legislation which will affect their existing freedoms as citizens of this nation has been imposed on them with an $8 billion debt which they will have to repay.

It is reasonable to expect a democratically elected Government to engage with the electorate, prior to the passage of legislation, particularly one of this magnitude which has serious and long-term social and financial implications. It was this consideration which caused the JCHS to adopt the viewpoint that the Bill should have been sent to a Joint Select Committee and that widespread consultations and analysis, with the public, and not merely with selected stakeholders, should have been done.

The JCHS remains concerned about the mandatory nature of the legislation and the punishment which will be imposed for non-compliance. Of particular concern is the fact, that in time, persons who are not enrolled, including children, will be denied access to services provided by public bodies. This includes education and police, fire and legal aid services.

We therefore urge Jamaicans in Jamaica and in the Diaspora to raise and continue to voice their objections to this legislation and to find all legitimate ways of making their voices heard.

The community of Old Harbour Bay is extremely delighted with the J$17 million investment by Spanish firm TSK Group to renovate its community centre in Blackwood Gardens, says Rev. Sandra Nembhard one of the main crusaders who lobbied for the project.

“My heart is extremely overjoyed and the community on a whole is overjoyed,” said Rev.Nembhard at the centre’s grand reopening on November 4.

Nembhard, who is head of the Jamaica Faith Baptist Church based in the community, added: “It is a community effort that really makes this possible. So we are very, very grateful as a community as we partner together with vision to move this community as Nehemiah envisioned.”

Built in1976, the centre fell into disrepair following the passages of three major storms, the last being Hurricane Dean in 2007.

(L-R) Joseph Williams, senior VP, generation, JPS; Attorney-at-Law Dr Keste Miller; Ruben Dario Romero, project manager, operations, TSK Group and Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Josep Maria Bosch Bessa

But with residents like the very passionate reverend and others they were able to get buy-in from the Spanish company presently in the area constructing the 190 megawatt power plant at the Jamaica Public Service Company facility located in the community.

Robert Pike is one of the longstanding campaigners for the centre to be rehabilitated. He grew up in the community and though he resides outside, remains integrally involved.

Pike tells Old Harbour News their struggles have been an uphill task for many years.

“It’s a tremendous blessing,” he said on the night of the event attended by the Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica and several other dignitaries.

“We have been trying over the years to get a community centre and now we have a proper one.”

Students from the Old Harbour Bay Primary School performing

A part from natural disasters, vandals from within the community also contributed to the destruction of the centre, noted Pike, who also credited the efforts of Rev. Nembhard.

“We still fight to get something going and Miss Nembhard and her crew re-established a committee which played a significant role,” he said.

Former government Senator and attorney-at-law Dr Keste Miller, who is a native of the community, says the facility will empower the community, while recounting the journey to its present state.

“It’s very important because of the direction it has taken and the momentum it has gathered to take us to where we are now,” said Dr Miller of the centre.

“The names I’d called in my presentation namely John Fothergill, Muriel Gordon, Ken Clarke, SJ Campbell, those were the persons who actually signed the contract to purchase these six acres of land and to build this community centre.

“But as kids, for them to have gotten the funds to buy it, they had a lot of fundraising dance and our job as children was to gather the bottles because they say that’s where the profit is to buy the place.”

This was the mid-1970s, but in 1976 the people approached then Member of Parliament Rudyard Lawson, who supported the initiative wholeheartedly, the noted attorney informed.

(L-R) Clemdy Bermudes, wife of Ruben Dario Romero; Ruben Dario Romero, Project Manager of TSK Group Operations in Jamaica; Rev. Sandra Nembhard and Dr. Keste Miller

“He gave the first set of money, buy the material and pay the contractor. But he said you guys must put in the labour. And we all get together and that’s how the first piece went up,” he said.

The facility will be used for training thousands of residents and host community functions, while a committee is already in place to manage the day-to-day operations.

Dr. Miller said: “It will be the centre point for all community activities. Of course later on we will develop the playing field and a multipurpose court and so on. So this is a good start.”

Hearing such plans to preserve the facility is refreshing to the ears of Joseph Williams, who is the senior vice-president of generation at the Jamaica Public Service Company.

Williams has spent most of his 27 years at the JPSCo’s Old Harbour Bay facility where majority of the island’s electricity is generated and is acutely aware of the culture of the community.

Speaking to Old Harbour News, Williams says the community needs to “show appreciation by taking care of it (the community centre) because this is not the first time that there has been investment in improving this – not to the extent that TSK has taken it, certainly…

“But we were not pleased with how the community took care of it,” he added in reference to previous attempts made to restore the centre. “I’m not saying it’s the entire community, you know it just take a small number of persons to destroy it.

“So they can really demonstrate this time that they really appreciate this. And this will certainly encourage more persons to do things like these and identify true potentials from this community that can just do a lot for the community of Old Harbour.”

The construction of the facility lasted five months with over 200 volunteers and majority of the skilled labour utilized drawn from the community.

The TSK Group, an engineer, procurement and construction firm from Spain, said it invested US$130,000 in refurbishing the community centre in Blackwood Gardens, Old Harbour Bay.

The community centre, built in the 1970s, had fallen into disrepair following the passages of hurricanes Gilbert in 1988, Ivan in 2004 and Dean in 2007.

More than 200 volunteers from the community contributed to the five-month project, while in excess of 90 per cent of the skilled labour utilized was drawn from the area.

Several community members were present at the remodeled blue and gold facility to witness its official unveiling, which included Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica Josep Maria Bosch Bessa, TSK Group’s executives, members from the JPS hierarchy among other important community stakeholders. The grand reopening took place on November 4, 2017.

The facility is expected to serve approximately 3,000 youth living in the community through numerous skilled training via the HEART-NTA vocational certificate programme.

TSK Group’s projects manager in charge of operations in Jamaica Ruben Dario Romero said: “It’s a great day because this place [the community centre] became a reality…thanks to CDA, all the members of the community, Rev. Sandra Nembhard, TSK, JPS and so many others, because all these people that I mentioned right now, to be honest, they never gave up. And this is one of the most important things in life. You never give up if you want to make the dream possible.”

JPSCo’s senior vice-president of generation Joseph Williams commended the Spanish company, stating their work in the community will form part of future considerations.

“Any company that JPS works with, we encourage them to really participate in the community; but I must say TSK went way beyond what would normally be done, so we are very pleased with TSK,” Williams said. “I am also very impressed with the employment they have provided for this area. I am very sure that for future projects of this nature that JPS will be considering TSK based on their performance to date.”

Residents are expected to enjoy an array of benefits associated with the renovated facility which has been expanded by an additional 160 square-feet.

“The community centre will be able to facilitate more training in areas of welding, plumbing, drapery making, CXC classes and for community functions for meetings and engagements.

“Currently there are ongoing programmes for housekeeping, commercial food preparation and construction classes,” said Rev. Nembhard, one of the main crusaders of the project.

The partnership between TSK and the Old Harbour Bay community began earlier this year when South Jamaica Power Company (SJPC) – a JPSCo subsidiary – signed a contract with TSK for the construction of the 190 megawatt power plant in Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine.

This power plant is expected to be in full operation by late 2019.

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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