320 students benefit from New Fortress back-to-school fair
Through New Fortress Energy's (NFE) partnership with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Company, within three years the majority of Jamaica's electricity will be generated from clean and renewable energy, thanks to significant investments in modern energy infrastructure.
Not only will electricity be more reliable and affordable, the switch from heavy fuels to natural gas generation will have the environmental impact of planting 10 million trees in Jamaica and driving a revolutionary change.
Against this backdrop, New Fortress Energy hosted an inaugural back-to-school fair for the children of the Jamalco refinery communities of Portland Bight, Halse Hall and Cornpiece district in Clarendon on August 31, just before school resumes this week.
The event was underpinned by the principle of respecting the local communities and contribute to the economic and social development of the communities in which NFE operates. The event was the beginning of building goodwill and cultivating a solid partnership of mutual respect within the communities.
In attendance were Winton Maragh, mayor of May Pen; immediate past Mayor Scean Barnswell; Lorraine Cousins, chair of the Community Council; and community leaders. More than 400 children and parents participated in the event.
Vice-president of public affairs, Verona Carter, who addressed the students said, "The future belongs to you and education is a right, not a privilege. It's the only path to lift generations of family and put us on a path to a dignified life of economic growth, social development, and civility."
She continued, "New Fortress Energy is in this for the longterm and hopes to make an impactful contribution to the future development of Jamaica. This event is not just a one-off for us, our aim is to have a consistent and sustained contribution to promote economic development and support the social fabric of the communities."
A total of $3.2 million was earmarked for the communities' educational support event. One hundred and eighty vouchers valued at $6,000 each were given for uniform, school bags, hardcover exercise books, folders, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, geometry sets, colouring books, crayons, pencil cases, primary and basic textbooks.
Haircuts were also provided for 140 students. NFE bursaries valued at $50,000 each were awarded to 15 academically qualified students at the high-school level with a demonstrable need for financial assistance to pay for school fees, exam fees, and support for completion of high school.
Cultural items, in the form of speech and dance, were performed by schoolchildren from the communities.