CHASE Fund tops billion dollar mark
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU: The Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund raked in nearly $2 billion for the year ending March 31 this year, despite the effects of the recession on the Jamaican economy.
This marks the first time in the fund's seven-year history that it has reached this mark.
For the financial year 2008- 2009, the CHASE Fund earned $967 million, while for the year just ended, $1.93 billion was realised.
Chief Executive Officer, William Heaven, said that despite the economic downturn, the fund managed to disburse $1 billion in projects in the past year - another first.
The newly built Clifton Basic School in Askenish, Hanover, which was officially handed over to administrators on Monday afternoon, is an example of the infrastructural developments CHASE has undertaken.
The school, which was built at a cost of $20.2m by Ricam Construction Company, was completed in four and a half months, six weeks ahead of schedule. The building houses two classrooms, a principal's office, lunchroom, sick bay, library and a computer room.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Heaven implored parents to ensure that children participate in early-childhood activities. He argued that this was the stage when parents and other caregivers would either make or break children according to how they are oriented.
"Be prepared for the consequences if you don't make them. Research shows that 70 per cent of the children who did not have the benefit of early-childhood education were more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18, and that they eventually became lawbreakers," he said.
Heaven lauded the Mount Piece and Clifton Citizens' Associations for submitting an excellent proposal for the construction of the school, citing that the CHASE Fund was impressed and excited about funding this venture.
Eastern Hanover Member of Parliament Ian Hayles has also committed $300,000 of his $20m allocation from the Constituency Development Fund to equip the school's computer room and provide beds for the sick bay. He also challenged the citizens to ensure the school was protected from vandals.