JIS News

The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) is moving to strengthen relief assistance being extended by several charitable and business entities to residents of West Kingston, affected by last week’s stand-off between the security forces and gunmen.
Honorary Secretary of the PSOJ, Earl Jarrett, told JIS News that the organisation is currently looking at what can be done “immediately”, to support the efforts of entities such as the Jamaica Red Cross.
Mr. Jarrett pointed out that the Red Cross aside, other entities such as Food for the Poor have been “on the ground” in West Kingston, undertaking relief efforts, adding that a number of PSOJ member organisations have “acted”, and are “providing food and clothing, where necessary.”
These include Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), of which Mr. Jarrett is General Manager, which, through the JNBS Foundation, made a contribution to the Red Cross’ effort.
The PSOJ executive advised that the organisation’s membership made the decision during its annual general meeting last week. The members, he pointed, expressed the need for the entity to be “overwhelming” in its support for residents, “who have been at the front end of this attempt to deal with a security threat”, while reiterating the PSOJ’s concern for individuals suffering dislocation.
“The PSOJ. thought that it would be important for us to react positively to help to restore life to normalcy. We are studying the situation to see how we can immediately respond in terms of making available loans from microfinance, or how we can help persons to begin to adopt a new and balanced life in terms of access to internet/computer facilities, training, learning, and mentoring.
“So, we are pulling together the resources of the organisation (PSOJ) as well as other organisations that are supportive, to see how we can immediately move to make a difference in the lives of individuals who have been so badly affected,” he outlined.
Mr. Jarrett pointed out that the PSOJ’s approach would entail visiting West Kingston, adding that representatives would do so “as soon as the environment is conducive for a visit.”
“We certainly would want to go in and see, first hand, what has happened. It will be useful to hear, first hand, from the community what the immediate needs are, in particular the needs going forward but first, we have to assess the situation.
“What is clear is that (in order to realize) the idea of a different Jamaica, and a different people. we really need to work hard at creating a more cohesive community, in which neighbours look out for neighbours. So the community of private sector entities has already begun to act, and we need to look, now, at how do we have a sustainable engagement within the community to help persons to overcome the immediate challenges,” Mr. Jarrett said.