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The Jamaica Fishermen Cooperatives, yesterday (February 4), received $5.5 million from the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) as part of the rehabilitation efforts of the agricultural sector, which suffered major damage due to the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September.
The sum, procured from the Council for Voluntary Social Services (CVSS) and the United Way of Jamaica Restoration Fund, will be used by the Cooperative to assist the island’s 40,000 fish farmers who will only receive in-kind donations.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, held at the JAS board room at North Parade, President of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant said the $5.5 million represented just a portion of a total of $10 million that the JAS had requested from the CVSS to assist the fisheries industry.
In expressing his appreciation for the contribution Senator Grant said CVSS and United Way should be lauded for their continued support to the agricultural sector. “I want to say that the Jamaica Agricultural Society salutes you and.I can tell you the JAS will continue to be one of your partners and you can be assured that we will not let you down. Every single cent that passes through the JAS will be money well spent,” Senator Grant said.
Addressing the audience, Chairman of the Jamaica Fishing Cooperatives, Havelan Honeyghan expressed his gratitude for the donation and also added that the money will be used appropriately. “I am extremely glad,” he said, “as this occasion is the first in the life of the fishing industry.we have never in the life of this organization received a donation or a grant half this magnitude and I would like to say thanks to CVSS, United Way of Jamaica and the JAS, as this gift will make a lot of difference in the lives of our fisher folk.”
Meanwhile, in her remarks, Chief Executive Officer of CVSS, Winsome Wilkins, revealed that as part of the rehabilitation efforts, United Way of Jamaica in collaboration with the National Commercial Bank (NCB) had raised $212 million with $100 million coming from NCB.
She further added that to date the Hurricane Rehabilitation Fund of United Way of Jamaica had procured a total of $262 million, which had been allocated to agricultural entities, partners of the voluntary sector that were affected, as well as projects that were previously supported by United Way of Jamaica.
With respect to donations received from CVSS, Senator Grant, pointed out that in total the JAS had received some $13 million to assist farmers in the worst affected parishes; $4.2 million to assist farmers in other parishes, and $1.7 million to assist farmers in St. Andrew. He also revealed that Bee Farmers island wide would soon receive a grant from the CVSS/United Way Hurricane Restoration Fund in the sum of $1.5 million.