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Minister with responsibility for Sports in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, is encouraging organisations and private individuals to continue supporting education, as this enhances national development.

Speaking on April 5 at the launch of the Rotary Club of Montego Bay's 'East Bikeathon 2012', she stressed that education is fundamental to the country’s continued growth, and it “calls for the support of as many stakeholders as possible."

"When service clubs, communities and corporations get involved in the education of our citizens, they are making a solid investment in our country,” the Minister said.

She emphasised that education is a priority of the Government, as it views this as one of the most critical areas of investment for growth, prosperity and social development and “we are steadfast in putting the right ingredients into the whole development of the human capital."

The bikeathon is a major fund-raising project to garner funds for secondary and tertiary students. This year’s event will be held on May 6.

While commending the club for its support to financially challenged students, Minister Neita-Headley said she is pleased that the event also serves to “encourage and create an awareness of the sport of cycling, which was once a popular sporting option in Jamaica."

"We need to, once again, make cycling one of the most popular sporting options, and I believe that the Jamaica Cycling Federation can look to your annual event to foster sportsmanship and appreciation for this sport. I am committed to working with the Federation for the effective growth and development of cycling,” she said.

For her part, scholarship recipient, and International Relations student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cleopatra Perkins, said she once thought that with no possible means of obtaining finances for her tertiary education, she could not succeed.

“Words alone are not sufficient to fully explain what this scholarship has done for me. It opened many closed doors as I was given the opportunity to explore my full potential and a fair chance at striving to achieve my goals in life. I volunteer as a mentor at Mona High in Kingston and I am a part of the Rex Hall’s Literacy, Numeracy, Values and Attitudes group where I mentor young children and adolescents from the community of August Town. Because Rotary reached out and helped me, I can extend a helping hand to someone else,” Miss Perkins said.

Meanwhile, Sales Manager at Fidelity Motors Limited, Leslie Nembhard, who represented the sponsors, said they have remained with the event, “because of the positive impact that Bikeathon continues to have on the lives of young people in our society."

“We look forward to making a contribution yearly to the event, so that many more young people can be impacted positively. We continue to stand with Bikeathon, because we realise the tremendous value of this programme to our nation," he told the audience.

 

By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter