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Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, and Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, headed a large group of volunteers who, on Wednesday (May 23), undertook refurbishing of the Port Royal Primary and Infant School.

The school was selected by the PIOJ as its major project for Labour Day 2012.

They were joined by South Korea’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Kimo Lim, along with representatives of the embassy in Jamaica, the Korea/Jamaica Association, the International Youth Fellowship (IYF), and staff of the PIOJ. The activities carried out included: painting of the auditorium and canteen area; planting of fruit trees; and re-organisation of the school’s library. 

Manager of the PIOJ’s Population and Health Unit, and Chairman of the institute’s Jamaica 50 Planning Committee, Toni-Shae Freckleton, told JIS News that in recognition of the country’s Golden Independence Anniversary, the committee decided to identify and select a school, which was established in 1962, when Jamaica became a sovereign nation, as its project this year.

She said several other organisations lent support to the project, including the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), which donated books for the school’s library, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), which provided the plants.

In commending the PIOJ’s initiative, Mr. Paulwell, who is Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal, said “tremendous effort” had been put in by volunteers to execute a “comprehensive amount of work”.

“It is clear that people are into the original spirit of Labour Day, which is to give voluntary labour… towards efforts that are noteworthy, and I’m very pleased with the response from the Planning Institute of Jamaica,” he stated.

Dr. Hutchinson, for his part, noted that investment in the nation’s youth, particularly at the early childhood and primary levels, is a major part of efforts to transform Jamaica’s economy.

“So, this is a very important project for us, to start, not only dealing with the physical aspects of development, but also with being able to get there and being a partner with the (youth) in making them understand that they, also, are very valuable in what Jamaica is trying to achieve…(through)… Vision 2030 (Jamaica). (And that) is to create an environment where everyone can achieve their full promise,” Dr. Hutchinson said.

Principal of Port Royal Primary and Infant School, Owen Speid, described the refurbishing as a “dream come true”.

“I have always wanted some help to raise the standard and the look of the infrastructure in the school and with PIOJ and the Koreans (among others) coming on board, it is really a blessing. We are really grateful that we have had this kind of voluntary assistance,” he said.

Approximately 100 pupils are enrolled at the school, which has a staff complement of 10, comprising academic, administrative and support personnel.

This year’s Labour Day activities were celebrated under the theme: ‘Step Forward…Make Jamaica Beautiful’.

 

By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter