Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, said he is committed to working with the Ministry of Education to provide quality education for the young people residing in his East Central St. Catherine constituency.
Speaking during the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives earlier this week, Mr. Brown welcomed the recent groundbreaking for the construction of the Cedar Grove High School in the parish.
The institution, which will be the first “environmentally-friendly” high school built in Jamaica, represents an investment of over $660 million and will be constructed through the efforts of the government of Jamaica, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the New Testament Church of God.
Mr. Brown informed that “we have more land available…and there are other churches willing to partner with the Government”. He said the IDB is also willing to build another high school in the constituency to meet the demand for 20,000 spaces in Portmore and its environs.
According to the State Minister, construction of the school will also create jobs for both skilled and unskilled construction workers in the 18 months of its establishment, employing a minimum of 200 persons. “On a rotation basis it can provide for more employment and will have a multiplier effect,” he said.
On completion, the school will also provide employment for faculty and auxiliary workers and will be of benefit to service providers in the area, thereby feeding into the local economy.
Mr. Brown said it is his intention to develop the brightest and the best students and the highest quality schools in his constituency. “In this regard, we are asking the Minister of Education to give us a sixth form at the Cedar Grove High School,” he said.
“We are also asking that the Cedar Grove High School, which is the first to be built in the year of our Jubilee celebration, be designated as a legacy of the ‘Jamaica 50’ celebrations and that it is treated as such,” he urged.
Meanwhile, Mr. Brown informed that the Chilean Government, through the Ambassador of Chile to Jamaica, His Excellency Alfredo Garcia Castelblanco, has donated US$15,000 worth of brand new computer equipment to the Independence City Primary School and the East Central St. Catherine Marching Band.
“This is a sizeable investment in the (school’s) …technology infrastructure. It is a school that has achieved 80 per cent mastery in literacy and has seen an improvement of 20 percentage points in numeracy…and it is a school that will be expanded under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund programme,” the State Minister informed.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter