Bartlett earmarks $10-m for marching bands in constituency

Observer West reporter

Thursday, July 12, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - After spending over $100 million to provide students at all levels of the educational system with scholarships over the past 21 years, the Edmund Bartlett-led East Central St James Education and Welfare Council (ECSJEWC) has earmarked $10 million to establish three marching bands across the constituency.

According to MP Bartlett, who is also the minister of tourism, the move is geared towards strengthening school ties with communities, in an effort to advance cultural activities.

“I have put aside $10 million for three marching bands. One to be established for Barrett Town and the areas of Rose Hall. The second will be for Somerton and the areas around Somerton and the third will be for Springmount, John's Hall and the areas around that,” Bartlett announced.

“...These are instruments of pride, these are activities of cohesion within communities, and it makes people feel proud, just like how football and other sports make communities feel proud, so it is that music can make a community proud, and we want to use music and the marching band in this way.”

He also announced the setting up of the Ed Bartlett Education and Welfare Foundation in a bid to guarantee the perpetuity of the assistance being given to education in his constituency.

“This is important to me because I need a mechanism that will survive me, because the work that we do would be in vain if it were not given a life beyond our own,” Bartlett argued.

He was speaking at the ECSJEWC Annual GSAT Awards function at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Rose Hall, St James on Sunday.

Over 150 students from schools in the constituency, who averaged over 80 per cent, received scholarships. Twenty-six students got averages of over 90 per cent.

Bartlett revealed that since he started the programme to provide financial assistance for students in the 14 primary schools in the constituency 21 years ago, the GSAT results this year, have been the best so far.

He pointed out that 150 GSAT students attained over 80 per cent pass marks.

“We have 150 students in East Central who have gotten an average of 80 per cent and over. Additionally, of the top 1,000 performers out of 39,000 children who took GSAT, we have four students from East Central St James,” Bartlett noted.

Irwin Primary which saw eight students with over 90 per cent averages, emerge as the top school.

The Top Boy, Shemar Hemmings with an average of 96 per cent and joint Top Girls, Myisha Miller and Lashana Whyte, who were each tied on 97 per cent, are all Irwin Primary students.

Mount Zion Primary and Dumfries Primary were jointly adjudged the Most Improved Schools.

Northern Caribbean University final year student Abby Gaye Gordon, who is a benefactor of the programme from primary through to tertiary level, charged the awardees to make good use of the opportunity.

“Continue to work hard and remain focused, a lot of hope is invested in you. Make the minister, your parents and yourselves proud. Where I am today, I wouldn't have been if it wasn't for the continuous and timely support from Minister Bartlett,” Gordon urged.

Mayor of Montego Bay Councillor, Homer Davis issued a similar charge to the scholarship recipients.

“These scholarships which you are receiving here today could have been given to another needy student, and so I use this occasion to implore you to protect this investment which can also be viewed as an investment in the youth of our nation, an investment in our parish and an investment in our country,” Davis appealed.

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