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The Jamaica House Basic School in Kingston has been presented with furniture, valued at US$10,000 (J$890,000), by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Office in Jamaica, and the United States Southern (Military) Command (SOUTHCOM).
The furniture, comprising 250 chairs, 83 tables, 12 teachers’ desks and chairs, two filing cabinets and a stationery cupboard, was a joint initiative by USAID and SOUTHCOM, in response to a request for assistance from the Patron of the school, based on the Jamaica House grounds in Kingston, Lorna Golding, wife of Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding.
Speaking at a brief handing over ceremony at the institution on Monday (October 26), USAID Mission Director, Dr. Karen Hilliard, recalled the agency’s long history of involvement in Jamaica’s educational sector.
She said that the presentation demonstrated the importance USAID attaches to the primary educational level, and the relative significance of early childhood education. With most of USAID’s budget already committed to other educational activities, Dr. Hilliard explained, SOUTHCOM was asked to assist with funding the furniture.

Wife of the Prime Minister and Patron of the Jamaica House Basic School in Kingston, Mrs. Lorna Golding (right), converses with Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in Jamaica, Dr. Karen Hilliard (left), and Chief of the United States Embassy’s Military Liaison Office in Kingston, Lt. Colonel Robert Wagner, following the presentation of furniture valued US$10,000 (J$890,000) to the institution, today (October 26). The donation was a joint undertaking between USAID and the United States Southern (Military) Command.

“I approached (Chief of the Military Liaison Office, U.S. Embassy, Kingston) Lt. Colonel Robert Wagner, to see whether he could use some of his humanitarian assistance funding to help Jamaica House Basic School, and he was very kind and agreed to do that,” Dr. Hilliard said.
Lt. Col. Wagner stated that SOUTHCOM’s input, in liaison with USAID and the Jamaican Government, was aimed at creating a healthy environment for the youth of Jamaica to prosper.
In her response, Mrs. Golding commended the teachers at the early childhood institution, on their work with the children, and urged them to maintain these efforts.
“I want to encourage you to continue, because you are their (pupils’) parents while they are here, and you are doing a wonderful job,” she pointed out.

Wife of the Prime Minister and Patron of the Jamaica House Basic School in Kingston, Mrs. Lorna Golding (right), is introduced to Chief of the United States Embassy’s Military Liaison Office in Kingston, Lt. Colonel Robert Wagner (left), by Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in Jamaica, Dr. Karen Hilliard, prior to the start of a handing over ceremony to present furniture valued US$10,000 (J$890,000) to the institution, today (October 26). The initiative was a joint undertaking between USAID and the United States Southern (Military) Command.

Mrs. Golding said she wanted to assist in transforming the Jamaica House Basic School into a “prototype school.” To this end, she said discussions would be pursued with the teachers to explore key areas where assistance could be extended.
“I am happy that they have donated the furniture so the children and teachers will be more comfortable,” the school’s principal, Veronica Parkinson-Burnett said, welcoming the donation.
Currently, the Jamaica House Basic School has 231 pupils, ages three to six years, and 13 teachers.

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