The Government is calling on the nation to offer prayers for the families, communities and especially the children who have been affected by the motor vehicle tragedy in Portland on December 19.
Minister of State for Project Implementation and Service Delivery in the Office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz, is also reassuring the public that government ministries, agencies and departments have been on the ground in the affected communities offering services and other support and also preparing the schools to give additional care to the children when the Easter Term starts in another two weeks.
The public is also asked to make donations this Christmas through Church offerings and other collections to speedily build up the fund that has been established to help the children left behind. The fund, called “A Helping Hand for the Children of Portland’s Rio Grande Valley”, is NCB Current Account 351 077 328.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding approved $500,000 from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to seed this fund and he was immediately matched by the Ministry of Agriculture, as most of the deceased were full time or part time farmers.
Minister Vaz noted that oversight for the Fund will be done by the Administrator General’s Department and named private sector philanthropists Amber Vicens Stewart and Jon Baker representing Baroness Von Thyssen to provide additional oversight.
The Rio Grande Valley is a very traditional farming area in Jamaica’s eastern mountainous hinterland – and ancestral homeland of the Windward Maroons. The area is very important to Jamaica’s ecology as it borders the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, home of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly and the Portland wild hog.