news in brief

Published: Friday | December 27, 2013 Comments 0

Thwaites praises ministry effort at improving schools

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has indicated that his ministry has been involved in a number of initiatives throughout the year aimed at improving students' performance in several schools.

Thwaites told Parliament recently that, "The ministry and some of its key agencies have, over the past year, been engaged in rigorous programmes aimed at turning some of these schools around".

He said the ministry and several of its agencies have identified the worst-performing schools and have been implementing remedial programmes targeting these institutions.

Thwaites said several of these initiatives would go a far way in curtailing the consistent under-performance in these schools.

Some of these programmes include the placement of literarcy and reading coaches in schools along with offering professional-development training to more than 250 principals.

Better reporting on workplace accidents

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is seeing an improvement in the reporting of accidents in the workplace, says Labour Minister Derrick Kellier.

During the recent launch of the White Paper on a national workplace policy on HIV and AIDS, Kellier said that in 2011, the ministry received 146 reports and 265 last year.

He said the improvement in reporting was the result of heightened surveillance by the labour ministry.

Kellier pointed out that despite limited resources, inspectors have stepped up their monitoring of workplaces to ensure compliance with safety standards.

The policy will form part of the long-awaited Occupational Health and Safety Act, which the labour minister said would be enacted by the end of the legislative year.

Nine months for child porn conviction

A 47-year-old Kingston man was sentenced to nine months in prison after he was charged with breaching the Child Pornography Act.

He is Gary Williams of a Hannah Town address.

Reports are that on July 27, the police searched Williams' cellular phone after he allegedly stole a wallet from someone in downtown Kingston.

Videos with children performing sex acts were found on his phone.

Williams, who is currently serving 18 months for the robbery charge, told the court that although the videos were on his phone, he never watched them.

New team for public sector reform coming

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has revealed that a new management team is to be appointed as the administration seeks to accelerate the reform of the public sector.

Concerns have been raised that the implementation of recommendations has stalled, especially since the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU) is without a permanent head.

Veteran civil servant Patricia Sinclair McCalla retired from the PSTU earlier this year and former permanent secretary in the National Security Ministry, Dr Ann Marie Barnes, was transferred to the Unit but resigned before taking up the position.

Responding to criticism from opposition members in Parliament on Tuesday, Phillips stressed that modernising the civil service remains a priority of the Administration.

Phillips disclosed that new leadership to drive the reform should be in place by at least the second week of next month.

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