Mountainside Primary Gets Air-Conditioning Units

Photo: Barbara Ellington Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (second left), activates one of two air-conditioning units at the Mountainside Primary School in St. Elizabeth on May 5. Others (from left) are Vincent Dennis, father of Junior Mayor, Brandi Dennis; her mother, Luciane Henry; and His Worship the Mayor of Black River, Councillor Derrick Sangster.

Story Highlights

  • Two air-conditioning units were activated at the Mountainside Primary School in St. Elizabeth on May 5, by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.
  • They were purchased with funds provided by the 2015-16 Junior Mayor for St. Elizabeth, Brandi Dennis, who was unable to attend the ceremony at her alma mater, because she was sitting her examinations as a Hampton School student. She was represented by her parents, Luciane Henry and Vincent Dennis.
  • Mr. McKenzie urged the parents present to invest in their children in a more meaningful way, instead of spending money on expensive outfits and hairstyles.

Two air-conditioning units were activated at the Mountainside Primary School in St. Elizabeth on May 5, by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

They were purchased with funds provided by the 2015-16 Junior Mayor for St. Elizabeth, Brandi Dennis, who was unable to attend the ceremony at her alma mater, because she was sitting her examinations as a Hampton School student. She was represented by her parents, Luciane Henry and Vincent Dennis.

The Junior Mayor had, during her stint last year, used $500,000 to purchase two air-conditioning units for the computer lab at Mountainside Primary.

The funds were also used to install the units, and according to the Minister, there is still $30,000 left from her allocation.

Mr. McKenzie lauded the Junior Mayor programme, which he had initiated during his tenure as Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew.

“When I became Minister (in 2016), I felt I had an obligation to maintain it, but I thought it lacked the vision and purpose to make it work. I wanted persons to be drawn to it who can, in the future, point to something meaningful they achieved in their stint as Junior Mayor for a particular parish,” he said.

The Minister said he was very impressed with the presentations made by the primary and high-school students when he met with them last year.

“When Brandi made her presentation, her personality blew us away; it spoke volumes of the foundation she has at home. She told me that the start she got didn’t begin at school, but in her home,” Mr. McKenzie added.

Brandi made a convincing case that the computer lab would not be able to function effectively without the air-conditioning units.

The Minister revealed that after hearing the presentations from the young mayors, he decided to increase the allocation from $100,000 to $500,000, because he wanted to help them make an impact on their communities.

Mr. McKenzie urged the parents present to invest in their children in a more meaningful way, instead of spending money on expensive outfits and hairstyles.

“It has to start with the parents, because today we are here because one young lady has opened the doors of opportunity for other children,” he said.

Speaking on her daughter’s behalf, Mr. Dennis said Brandi continues to hold the flag of Mountainside Primary.

He also read a message from Brandi: “I am very happy to have come first in my class because the competition at Hampton is very stiff. I am asking the Principal to tell the students to make optimum use of the air-conditioned computer lab,” Brandi said.

Also in attendance at the ceremony were the school’s principal, Eric McLean; Mayor of Black River, Derrick Sangster; Member of Parliament and State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green; and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Denzil Thorpe.

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