Fri | Oct 20, 2017

From Gloucester With Love ... Enablement Centre gets financial boost

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Jamaican Ambassador to the United Kingdom Aloun N’Dombet Assamba (left) hands over a cheque to Mayor of St Ann’s Bay Desmond Gilmore. Also in the picture is Custos Norma Walters.

The twinning of St Ann's Bay and the city of Gloucester in England bore tangible fruit recently when the St Ann Parish Council received a cheque for £1,000 from the St Ann Society of Gloucester.

The money is to be used to assist in the establishment of an Enablement Centre in St Ann's Bay, a project being spearheaded by mayor of St Ann's Bay Desmond Gilmore.

In handing over the cheque, Jamaican ambassador to the United Kingdom Aloun N'Dombet Assamba said the Jamaican couple of Howard and Carol McGann was the driving force behind the fundraising efforts. Two years ago, Howard McGann received the Governor General's Award for work in the diaspora.

"They do a good job," Assamba remarked.

According to the ambassador, Jamaicans in the UK place a lot of emphasis on the parish from which they come. As such, two years ago, Assamba, a former member of parliament for South West St Ann, suggested to McGann that he visit the St Ann Parish Council. He did.

The cheque is the first tangible result of the visit.

Assamba encouraged the registration of the Enablement Centre as a charity so donors to it may be able to get tax credits.

"It's very good work you're doing here. I'm very pleased to hear you are doing this and I know the St Ann Society of Gloucester will help," the ambassador stated.

Gilmore's plan is to use the former Windsor Child Care Facility in St Ann's Bay as an Enablement Centre for homeless people in the parish and to help ease need for more bed space at the St Ann's Bay Regional Hospital.

Helping the destitute

"First and foremost, it was about the people (living on the streets) because they are our brothers and sisters," Gilmore stated. But, he added: "The bed space at the St Ann's Bay Hospital has become an issue. The Enablement Centre will take some of the burden off the hospital."

The initial figure to run the proposed centre was put at between $40m and $50m per year.

Gilmore said, given the cost, the parish council, which falls under the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, is seeking assistance from the ministries of labour, health and tourism to operate the centre.

The parish council, Gilmore said, would continue efforts to get control of the premises from the Ministry of Lands, after the youth ministry indicated it was willing to release the premises.

Meanwhile, Custos of St Ann Norma Walters, said the office of the custos had bought into the concept of an enablement centre and pledged to support the venture in whatever way possible.

Walters thanked the ambassador for facilitating the delivery of the cheque, and thanked the mayor for his vision in seeking to establish the centre.