National Labour Day project makes Papine High safer

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 24, 2019

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OFFICIALS at the Papine High School will now be able to better monitor students who have been sneaking in and out of the St Andrew Eastern institution.

Principal Leighton Christie told Jamaica Observer yesterday that the breaches in the school's perimeter fence had enabled some students to hide and leave the compound during school hours.

Christie, who was delighted that the institution was among the four projects selected as a national Labour Day project, said the retrofitting of the fence will create a safer environment.

“... We have students and community persons who would come through and enter the institution, so we have been trying our best to secure the campus so that we don't have any intruders,” Christie said.

He is now happy that the fence was repaired as part of Labour Day activities at the school.

But, stressing that safety and security are important, the principal said he does not want to take anything for granted.

“We are not waiting for anything to happen. So we are making sure that we are proactive and we are making sure that we correct the breaches. You know what is happening now, the surrounding communities are tense and the students from those communities attend this school so we do not want to open ourselves for the students to be at risk,” he said.

At the same time, he said there is also a breach in the perimeter fence that borders the school's farm.

Christie, while explaining that the farm has been sustaining the school's canteen, said it is also plagued by theft due to the breach in the fence.

The school was also given a facelift by members of the Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica National Foundation, Social Development Corporation, in collaboration with St Michael's Steppers Marching band as well as other volunteers who swept and painted the plant.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said the theme 'Child Safety…It's you, It's me, It's all ah we', should not only be observed Labour Day 2019, but instead should be sustained.

Holland Primary School in St Elizabeth, Fair Prospect Primary School in Portland and the Barrett Town All-Age/John Rollins Primary School in St James were also selected as national Labour Day projects.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was among the dignitaries who turned up at Papine High yesterday, said Labour Day is a meaningful day.

“The labour movement was the start and is very integral to who we are as Jamaicans today. It is not a day for long speeches, it should not be a day where we stay home and take it as a holiday. It should be a day when each of us comes out of our home and work together to build our nation,” he said.

He added: “Go into our community and find those abundant play areas, those play areas that are overgrown where the swings and the jungle gyms and the other play equipment are broken or the field could be simply over grown and needs debushing. We can do this and we can improve the play area making it safer,” he said as he thanked Minister Grange for leading the charge.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips while commending Grange for sustaining Labour Day, said he was pleased with the level of volunteerism.

“A nation does not just consist of Government and Parliament and parties; a country involves a share commitment of all the people to build the country together and that is what Labour Day in this way symbolises,” Dr Phillips said.

Yesterday's Labour Day projects were supported by UNICEF, the Jamaica National Foundation, and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.

In addition to the national projects, mayors and councillors across the island participated in parish projects.


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