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News in brief

Published:Wednesday | August 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Colbeck residents to get new bridge

Minister of State for Works in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Everald Warmington, has committed to providing an alternate access route to residents of Colbeck in St Catherine.

The residents have had to access their community through the Bodles Research Station after a bridge leading to Colbeck was destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The National Housing Trust, which is to construct a housing development in the area, had received approval to build an access road through the Bodles Research Station. The road would also have provided access for students at two schools that are to be built in the area.

The Banana Board raised concerns about the course of the road after it was found that it would have destroyed over 16 acres of production and nursery fields in the Bodles Banana Breeding Station.

Noting the concerns, Warmington toured the area last Friday with a team from the Banana Board as well as officials from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, and said the route through Bodles will be scrapped.

"They deviated from the plan. This is not what was agreed. I would never have allowed them to run a road through the Banana Breeding Research Station," said Warmington.

The minister has committed to constructing a new bridge on the Lennonsville Road to replace the previous one.The solution ensures the preservation of the integrity of the banana germ plasm in the research station, while providing access to a community that has been cut off, students at the two proposed schools and residents in the planned housing development.

JSIF launches $19m programme to boost potato production

Jamaica's capacity to produce clean Irish potato seedlings has been enhanced with a $19-million allocation from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Under the programme, the money spent annually to import 90 per cent of Irish potato seeds into the island will be cut significantly, while the availability of first-generation seeds will be guaranteed throughout the year.

Delivering the keynote address at the launch of the initiative on Monday at the Scientific Research Council (SRC) offices in St Andrew, JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney pointed out that the project will also facilitate the control of pests and diseases, and increase the yield per hectare.

He told the gathering that JSIF contracted a microbiologist from Belgium to investigate the status of laboratories in Jamaica as part of the development of the Irish potato industry.

The JSIF head told his audience that coming out of the microbiologist's report, the SRC, the Bodles Research Station, and the Northern Caribbean University were identified as entities capable of producing Irish potato seeds.

Probation officers commended for youth empowerment programme

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, has lauded probation officers islandwide for their commitment to youth empowerment.

Between August 8 and 12, the Probation Aftercare Services hosted some 350 child offenders from 14 to 17 years of age in their annual outreach programme - the Challengers' Day Camp.

This year's camp addressed issues such as self-esteem and self-worth; substance use and misuse; anger management and conflict resolution; healthy interpersonal relationships; human sexuality; career development and skills training; spiritual management and motivation; and anger management.

"I applaud the probation officers. They have been able to expose these youngsters to a lot of the practical areas that will assist them to chart a positive course in life. I was able to interact with them and share my own life story and motivate them, so they can do anything in life, despite the very serious obstacles they may confront," Senator Charles said.

JCA seeks approval to reopen Queen's Warehouse

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) will be seeking approval from the Public Health Department for the reopening of the Queen's Warehouse following feedback from the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

The facility, located on Spanish Town Road, was closed in November of last year due to the possible release of hazardous fumes.

Director of Marine Warehouses at JCA, Joycelyn Payne, said the Public Health Department and the Fire Brigade were invited to conduct follow-up assessment of the facility after a clean-up exercise, which included the disposal of all items not fit for sale.