JIS News

The Manchester Parish Development Committee (PDC) on Friday (Jan. 30) handed over four emergency response vehicles valued at $5 million to the residents of Manchester.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Minister of Health, John Junor observed that it was truly a “red letter day” for the parish.
“On behalf of the people of Manchester I would like to extend our thanks to the PDC and its chairman, Jackie Minott, Ambassador Kerr and the Japanese embassy for these gifts of two fire trucks and two ambulances. this has been a gift that is well needed and I am sure will be put to good use,” he said.
Minister Junor pointed out that he would be giving explicit instructions in regard to the maintenance of the emergency vehicles.
“I will do my endeavour best to ensure that the ministries who have responsibility for these units will take care of them,” he stressed.
Chairman of the Manchester PDC, Jackie Minott told JIS News that former Ambassador to Japan, Dr. Earl Kerr, first notified the PDC about the donations.
“He was the one who wrote me in the beginning and told me that the Japanese Fire Fighters Association (JFFA), had some ambulances and fire trucks that they were giving away and I indicated to him that I wanted two of each,” he said.
Mr. Minott explained that his organisation had a difficulty in getting the vehicles to Jamaica, but in the end various groups assisted.
“We had to pay the freight of US$15,000, and at this point I would like to say we got five donors, Jamaica Producers Group, Windalco, Manchester Health Trust, Super Plus and my company, Jamaica Standard Products.we got the money and the vehicles came. I hope that people in Manchester will be better off with these gifts,” he said.
Mr. Minott pointed out that without the strong leadership and organisational support structure as offered through the Manchester PDC the project might not have been conceived.
“For those who are not yet on board the PDC is a partnership of government, civil society and NGO’s which is facilitated by the SDC (Social Development Commission) the organisation that goes into communities and form various community-based organisations and identify all local resources; it is the PDC that decides on what should be the development priorities for the parish.the end result is that we get governance from the bottom up,” he said.
Discussing other plans for the parish, Mr. Minott said a special profile had been developed recently. “We in Manchester have nine development areas broken down into various categories,” including social, economic and spiritual. He said: “The next step is to go back to the community and get the final word on what we (the community) wish to have”.
Turning to possible future development for the parish, the PDC Chairman said that more emphasis should be placed on the development of the service sector.
“We need to look towards getting more returning residents to come and live here because of our climate, and therefore we can get more houses built, more construction, remittances. another vision is for us to be the learning centre as we already boast a university, teachers’ college and other colleges, and maybe an airport, to help with the development of South Coast tourism,” he indicated.
Dr. Kerr told JIS News about the linkages he had formed in putting together the project. “During my tenure in Japan . I met the President of the Japanese Fire Fighters Association, Dr. Tokuda, and over a period of time we developed a constructive relationship which resulted in Jamaica being earmarked to receive 40 emergency units and this has been fulfilled over the past three years,” he said.
Dr. Kerr indicated that subject to certain conditions the JFFA would be more than happy to make future donations.
“This collaboration with Japan is a very positive one.If the units are well maintained, effectively utilised and appreciated, then there will be more to come I am quite sure,” he said.
First Secretary at the Japanese Embassy, Takehiko Wajima told JIS News that over the years Jamaica had benefited from the many positive programmes facilitated by his agency acting on behalf of the people of Japan.
“Actually we have had many projects and this is a part of an aid programme, I am very happy to see those Japanese ambulances and fire trucks, I hope that it can help to contribute to the betterment of the life of Jamaicans.fire fighting and rescue workers are very important in terms of ensuring personal security,” he said.
Mr. Wajima said that he was certain that in the future the Japanese people through his embassy would provide similar or even better support to Jamaica.
“I am happy that the Japanese government can be of assistance in this way to your nation,” he said.

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