Tue | Aug 14, 2018

ZOSO enhances Jamaica Day festivities in Denham Town

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Caylee Panton at the St George’s Primary and Infant School was very excited as she rode the mechanical bull during Jamaica Day celebrations, yesterday.
Minister of Education Ruel Reid shows an old iron to students at Denham Town Primary School at their Jamaica Day celebrations.
Denham Town Primary School students during Jamaica Day celebrations.
Denham Town Primary School students at Jamaica Day.
Students at Faith Preschool in Denham Town, west Kingston learn about local foods during Jamaica Day activities yesterday.
Students at Faith Preschool in Denham Town, west Kingston, learn about local foods during Jamaica Day activities yesterday.
Kara-Ann Sooka (left) and Ayanna Powell, students at the St George's Primary and Infant School, enjoy the Jamaica Day activities.
Grade-five student Aja Allen, at the St George's Primary and Infant School in Kingston, sells snacks and fruits on behalf of the school during Jamaica Day activities yesterday.
Students at Faith Preschool in Denham Town, west Kingston, learn about local foods during Jamaica Day activities yesterday.
Howard Gilroy (second left) from the Institute of Jamaica, explains some of the historical items on display to students at St George's Primary and Infant School during Jamaica Day activities. Also pictured is teacher Karyl Paul.
Principal Eugenie Brown (left) and Education Minister Ruel Reid chat with students at Denham Town Primary in Kingston at Jamaica Day.
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The zone of special operations (ZOSO) did not put a damper on Jamaica Day activities in schools in Denham Town, Kingston, yesterday. In fact, principals believe that the presence of the security forces enhanced safety and order at the institutions.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness last year declared Denham Town a zone of special operations, citing ongoing gang warfare, rampant criminality, and escalating violence and murders as the reasons.

Eugenie Brown, principal of the Denham Town Primary School, said that inspite of the police-military operations, they would not allow Jamaica's traditions to die. She also explained that since the ZOSO, there have been improvements in safety.

"We cannot allow our heritage to die. We must keep our culture alive because no other culture in the world is as rich as Jamaica. We are proud of it," she declared.

"The ZOSO is not a hindrance to the children. They are still coming out to school and having fun. The police and the children are good friends. The police will be having a fish fry, and we will be supporting it, in addition to other activities that we will be a part of."

Karen Smith, who was seen showcasing some of Jamaica's popular foods to her basic school children, said that they are grateful for the security forces, who have brought some semblance of peace back to the community. She said that the aim of Jamaica Day is for her children to develop a sense of pride as they reflect on the country's heritage.

"I do have a good experience with the police officers in that it is much safer for the kids to be at school," said the principal of the Faith Preschool Kindergarten and Nursery on Greenwich Street in the west Kingston community.

"Back then, we had a situation where a lot of violence was in the community and that would scare most parents and me. I would normally be at school nonetheless, but parents wouldn't want their children to be out."

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com