Back-to-School Fund Established for Students in Mount Salem

Photo: Office off the Prime Minister Prime Minister, Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), greets a young resident of Mount Salem, St. James during a tour of the Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) in that community on Sunday, September 3. Prime Minister Holness visited Mount Salem to get an update on activities in the ZOSO, which was declared on Friday, September 1. Looking on are Attorney-General and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Hon. Marlene Malahoo-Forte (centre); and National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague (right, partly hidden). (File)

Story Highlights

  • A special back-to-school fund has been established for needy students in Mount Salem, St. James, where a zone of special operations (ZOSO) is in effect.
  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the fund will ensure that every single child in the community is registered in school.
  • Prime Minister Andrew Holness on September 1 declared Mount Salem and its environs as the first Zone of Special Operations under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.

A special back-to-school fund has been established for needy students in Mount Salem, St. James, where a zone of special operations (ZOSO) is in effect.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the fund will ensure that every single child in the community is registered in school.

He said it will assist students having challenges with back-to-school expenses, including the cost of school identifications (IDs).

“We will be able to give support to the parents to ensure that… if you don’t have a bag, shoes, lunch money… we can and will assist to get the children in school,” he noted.

The Prime Minister was addressing a press conference following a tour of sections of Mount Salem on September 3.

He said the funds will be allocated based on information provided by guidance counsellors, who will communicate with the zone commanders and the social agencies, which will distribute on a needs basis.

He noted that the support is primarily for schools in proximity to the zone, and will also apply to students who are not in school but have been identified by the joint force.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness informed that the ground commanders will be working with the guidance counsellors and principals to ensure that students are attending school.

He said that over the next seven days, high-school students in uniform will be allowed entry and exit without a request for an ID; however, they will still be subject to search. After the first week of school, all high-school students must have an ID.

The Prime Minister is imploring parents to send out their children early to ensure that they arrive at school on time.

“Police and soldiers have the authority of truancy officers and have been tasked with looking out for children not in school and supporting efforts to get them back in school,” he pointed out.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on September 1 declared Mount Salem and its environs as the first Zone of Special Operations under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.

The law seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention initiatives.

The security operations in Mount Salem will last for 60 days.

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