JIS News

Over 60 residents of Western St. Thomas turned out yesterday (May 23) to lend their assistance to the rehabilitation of the Llandewey community centre, which was the parish project for National Labour Day 2005.
Activities began at about 9:00 a.m., with workmen from the Llandewey Community Development Committee and the Social Development Commission (SDC) replacing the aluminium sheets on the roof of the building.
Later, women and children from the community and representatives from the Bank of Nova Scotia joined the crew, clearing debris in and around the building, burning rubbish, painting the building and bushing weeds on the compound.
Financing for the project, estimated at $300,000, was provided by the St. Thomas Parish Council; Member of Parliament for Western St. Thomas, James Robertson; the Bank of Nova Scotia Morant Bay office and the business community.
Luther Cummings, SDC Field Services Manager in charge of the day’s activities, told JIS News that the project was chosen because the building was needed to temporarily house the 235 children from the Bethesda Primary School, which was recently destroyed by fire.
“Immediately, it caught the sympathy of the committee and we kept track of what was happening with the students and realised that this was where we wanted to make a mark this Labour Day,” he said.
He noted that work on the building, which would continue after Labour Day, included the replacement of the roof, installation of windows and doors, renovation to the sanitary conveniences and painting the interior of the building.
Senior teacher at the Bethesda Primary School, Andrea Morgan-Francis, said she was grateful that the centre was being refurbished to house the students.
She noted that since the fire, classes were being held at the Llandewey Methodist Church, but the facility was too small and a shift system had to be introduced to accommodate all the students.
“It is overcrowded and not conducive to learning because there is a lot of distraction from the nearby roadway. There is no perimeter fencing and so we have to be on our toes continually,” she added.
Mrs. Morgan-Francis pointed out that the use of the community centre, would enable the students to revert to a single shift, and because the grounds were enclosed, classes could be held outside.
Member of Parliament for the area, James Robertson, who spoke to reporters at the burnt-out school, said that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture had promised to repair the institution in time for the beginning of the new school term in September.
The rehabilitation of the community centre was one of 82 Labour Day projects registered by the St. Thomas Labour Day Committee.
Of the total projects, 48 received financial assistance from the Committee. Among these were the cleaning and beautifying of the Paul Bogle burial site in Morant Bay, the construction of a new sanitary facility at the Dalvey Primary School, the refurbishing of basic schools and cleaning of drains and gullies.
National Labour Day 2005 was observed under the theme: ‘Prepare for Disasters, Recover Faster’.

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