President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Dr Mark Nicely, has made an urgent call for more nutritious meals to be provided in schools.
Speaking with The Gleaner, following a public forum hosted by the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) on Wednesday, Nicely pointed out that the students' health should be taken seriously.
"I believe we all know what a proper meal is and I want to suggest very strongly that nutri-bun and milk and/or bag juice - whatever the case might be - is certainly not something that is good food for the brain," he asserted.
"This (nutri-bun and milk) is what is being offered to the poorest child, who perhaps did not have breakfast. It does not enhance learning or maximise students' potential.
"In the same way, the call is being made for more emphasis to be placed on early-childhood education, we now need a renewed focus on the health of our students within the health sector," he emphasised.
JTA head also commented on what he said was the lack of urgency to
regulate vendors at schools. "You have a vendor selling fry chicken from
early in the morning with no facility to keep it warm, and that same
chicken is still being sold at 5 o' clock (in the afternoon). That
cannot be healthy!" he exclaimed.
The Police High Command has hit back at comments from Dr Carolyn Gomes, executive director of Jamaicans for Justice, and defence lawyer Valerie Neita-Robertson.
In a release yesterday, the police have denied claims by Gomes that Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington was blaming legislation for the failures of the force.
"The police would also like to make it clear that in no way the comments of the commissioner are designed to influence judges by asking for harsher penalties for offenders as indicated by defense attorney Valerie Neita- Robertson," the release said.
The police noted that the commissioner alluded to the sentencing regime and not to particular legislation when he made his presentation to the select committee of Parliament on Tuesday.
While speaking to the sentencing regime, Ellington had also insisted that legislation was needed to more effectively tackle gangs and organised crime in Jamaica.
The proposed anti-gang law is now being considered by a joint select committee of Parliament.
OUT OF TOUCH
"Concerning the settling of criminals from other countries in Jamaica, the article quoted Dr Gomes as saying persons could not establish themselves in Jamaica without first obtaining a work permit. If this is true, then it is evident that Dr Gomes is oblivious to what is happening around her or she has lost touch with the state of affairs in a nation," the release added.
Noted Jamaica-born civil-rights campaigner Doreen Lawrence, who was recently appointed to the British House of Lords, has been honoured by the Jamaican High Commission in London.
The United Kingdom's (UK) Home Secretary Theresa May was among the special guests at a reception hosted on Monday by Her Excellency Aloun Assamba.
Lawrence took her seat as Labour member of the Upper House earlier this month, using the title Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon in the Commonwealth Realm of Jamaica.
She is the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a British teenager who was murdered in a racist attack in South East London in 1993. Her tireless fight for justice for her son has promoted reforms of the police service. She has also founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
VOICE OF ORDINARY PEOPLE
Lawrence said that she was overwhelmed by the honour. "It has been overwhelming. My work was not to get me to here. It was for my son, for my family. I wanted the world to recognise what we were going through," she said.
She said she sees her role in the House of Lords as being the voice of ordinary people.
Assamba congratulated Lawrence on her elevation to the House of Lords.
National Commercial Bank (NCB) announced yesterday that it has renewed its strategic partnership with Crime Stop for the fifth consecutive year.
Mukisa Wilson Ricketts, acting head of marketing and communications, said the company's partnership with the National Crime Prevention Fund was paramount to the nation's development "in a bid to overcome a prevalent crime issue that has been a deterrent for Jamaicans and externals alike".
Wilson Ricketts said the bank had invested approximately $9.5 million in the fund over the five-year period.
Crime Stop, which was launched in 1989, is a cause-marketing programme focused on the fight against crime in the Jamaican society through forging strategic partnerships between communities, the police and the media. The programme provides a platform for the public to share information about illicit acts, while ensuring complete anonymity, as well as a cash reward for information leading to an arrest, recovery of stolen property or the seizure of illegal guns and drugs.