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Shoppers can escape traffic congestion in the Corporate Area during the busy holiday season by utilising the Jamaica Urban Transit Company's (JUTC) Park and Ride service which began yesterday.
Shuttle buses will be available to take holiday shoppers from the parking area at King's House to the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre and to the Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston. A round trip to either location will cost $300 for adults and will be free to children up to the age of 11 years.
Marketing and communications manager at the JUTC, Clinton Clarke, said the Park and Ride service is being introduced to ease congestion in the Corporate Area during the busy Christmas holiday period.
"We will also be able to assist owners of private motor vehicles by facilitating parking in a safe location," he added.
The buses on the downtown Kingston route will leave every hour during the designated period, while those travelling to Half-Way Tree will leave every half hour.
The Half-Way Tree buses will travel along Constant Spring Road and will pick up and let off commuters at bus stops along the shopping corridor between Kings Plaza and Premier Plaza. The final stop will be the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.
The resort town of Ocho Rios is set for major transformation with the phased implementation of an enhancement project valued at $400 million.
This project, which will see work being undertaken on the Turtle River Road and Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal, is expected to last until October 2014.
Tourism and Entertainment Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill said the scope of work would include the full upgrading of the cruise-ship terminal and the parking area where kiosks will be erected to accommodate rotating craft vendors.
The work will also include major reconstruction of the Turtle River Road, between the pier and Main Street.
"We will be upgrading the pier, the buildings, and the parking within the area. We will be putting up shops, so that we are closer to what we have at Falmouth - similar types of design," the minister outlined.
He added that Turtle River Road, which leads to Main Street, will be "totally pedestrianised, landscaped, and redone".
A $39-million contract has been signed for the reconstruction and upgrading of the Golden Spring Health Centre in St Andrew. The facility serves some 4,000 persons monthly.
The centre will be upgraded with funding from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund and community input. Services to be provided include child health and immunisation, antenatal and postnatal care, family-planning services, health promotion and illness prevention, surveillance, and disease control.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Golden Spring Community Centre on Thursday, Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson lauded the community effort to lobby stakeholders for the upgrading of the health centre, while repeating his call for persons to have confidence in health centres.
He said that the priority given to health centres is for persons to seek primary care in their communities, while allowing the hospitals to deal with major health issues. It is also cheaper to receive health care at clinics than at the hospitals.
"This clinic will respond to the needs of the people, and will continue to strengthen health care at the primary level. It speaks to curative and preventive care," the minister pointed out.
Some 350 inner-city young men and women are better equipped to obtain employment, having graduated from phase two of the Citizen Security and Justice Internship Programme on December 13.
The programme was in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and was carried out by the Engineering Regiment at Up Park Camp. It was aimed at improving the employability and social skills of the participants, as well as the relationship between the youth and the security forces.
Through the internship programme, participants gained experience in skill areas such as auto mechanics, furniture making, air-condition and refrigeration repairs, carpentry, plumbing, mechanical maintenance, electrical installation, welding, general construction, tiling, and masonry.
Senior community officer for the Citizen Security and Justice Programme, D.T. Adams, said the partnership was not only a deliberate response to the economic challenges, but also a response to inadequate availability of practical experience for young people.
"Too often, skilled and certified young people who have attained levels one, two and three training from the HEART Trust/NTA are still unable to gain meaningful employment," Adams said.