Flag waving students of the Mona Heights Primary School in St. Andrew, excitedly welcomed His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, when he visited the institution on Wednesday morning, April 17.
The over 1,000 students eagerly received the Prince, who was at the school to see them participate in a road safety demonstration. The exercise was conducted by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in a simulated road traffic environment.
Prince Michael also viewed a demonstration by the Accident Investigation and Reconstruction Unit of the JCF, as well as a five-minute video on road safety.
“I want to thank you very much for letting me come and visit you here today and to congratulate you on the excellent performances you have shown us this morning. The seriousness with which you take road safety in this school is very impressive and I wish you every success for the future,” Prince Michael said.
The Prince is the Royal Patron for the Commission for Global Road Safety and Patron of the non-profit organisation, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), both of which have been leading advocates in the fight to reduce road traffic injuries and deaths. He is on the island as the special guest of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), which is observing its 20th anniversary this year.
School Principal, Michael Brown, told JIS News that the matter of road safety is very important to the school, which has been conducting simulation exercises over the years. He informed that the students are aware of the advocacy work of the Prince and had previously written letters of congratulations to him on his efforts.
Mr. Brown said the students will forever link the Prince’s visit to the matter of road safety, and this will be beneficial to them.
“It gives the children more food for thought, to become more conscious and (they are) linking this with a member of the Royal Family and the work that he has been doing (for road safety),” he said.
Teacher, Janet Dean, described the morning’s event as wonderful and exciting. “The children were curious and elated. It is a new experience for them to see a Prince coming to their school… It was a learning experience,” she said.
“They are more aware of the different measures to take when crossing the road, safety measures, the dos and don’ts. It was a good learning experience,” she added.
Grade 5 student, Matthew Jackson, expressed pride that “out of so many schools in Jamaica, he has come to ours.”
Visitor, Cheryl Rankine, said the event was a good one and thought it beneficial. “It enlightened the children and probably they will know better how to cross the road,” she stated.
The students delighted HRH with a dance item and a poem entitled ‘Road Safety fi All A We.’ The school’s Head Boy, Emile Bain, and Head Girl, Anne Leigh, presented Prince Michael with a framed collage, showing students and teachers participating in road safety exercises on the busy Old Hope Road.
Among those at the event were Education Minister, Rev. Hon. Ronald Thwaites; Member of Parliament, Andre Hylton; State Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Richard Azan; Custos of St. Andrew, Hon. Marigold Harding; and several principals from neighbouring schools.
The Prince arrived in the island on Monday, April 15, and has been participating in a number of activities and discussions to highlight the matter of road safety. He will depart Jamaica on Friday, April 19.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter