Reminder of the legacy Grace Foods Services and Western Union have increased their sponsorship for the sixth staging of the Vere Technical High School – Ben Francis Invitational track and field meet set for February 20 at the Jamalco Sports Complex in Clarendon. “We (Grace) have increased the sponsorship by $500,000 in sponsorship and execution of this meet as title sponsors. Last year, we budgeted $700,000, and this year it will be $1.2 million,” Angella Grandison-Reid, Grace Foods Services Company promotions and consumer services manager announced at the press launch yesterday at the Spanish Court Hotel. She pointed out that Grace has always assisted in the development of track and field meets. “We have been at development meets since 1975. This year, we are sponsoring 13 development meets, up from eight last year,” Grandison-Reid disclosed. The Vere Technical past student indicated that her company will continue to assist the meet. “Dr Henritta Stewart (principal of Vere), you don’t have to call us at Grace to find out if we are coming, as it is automatic,” Grandison-Reid asserted. Meanwhile, the coaches of the top medal-winning schools will walk away with cash incentives. “The top-three coaches will get $30,000, $15,000 and $10,000,” Olive Forrester, head of the physical education department at Vere revealed. There will also be prize monies worth $40,000 for each winner of the Championship events, such as high jump Class One (girls); 400 metres Class One (boys); 4×100 metres Class One (boys) and 4×400 metres (girls). Principal Stewart says the meet is a reminder of the legacy of a former principal of the Clarendon-based institution. “We might not be the champions of Boys and Girls’ Championship in recent years, but we have won 22 times in the past, and continue to be in the top five in the girls’ category. We continue to make bold strides in sports and intellectually, as our young people are resources to be developed,” Dr Stewart said. Ben Francis thanked everyone involved in the staging of the meet that will be held for the first time outside the school compound. “On this occasion of the sixth staging of the Ben Francis meet, thanks to all who continue to make it possible. You have set the stage on which students continue to perform,” Francis said. Albert Lawrence, the first Vere Technical male Olympian and a member of Jamaica’s 4×100 metres silver-medal team in Los Angeles in 1984 is the patron of this year’s meet.
Headquarters of the District Commissioner, Jefferson Saye GondahIn the absence of development fundThe building hosting the commissioner of Meinpea Mahn Administrative District in Nimba County has become a dilapidated structure and Commissioner Jefferson Saye Gondah has now been obliged to use his personal funds to renovate it.Prior to his appointment in the then Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration, Mr. Gondah was a businessman, an occupation that could prove useful in his efforts to undertake the US$8,000 project currently ongoing in the district.The renovation project includes a modern toilet facility.Additionally, Mr. Gondah and his people have engaged in communal farming, without funds from any governmental or non-governmental agency, to help carry out this agricultural activity.“We have the county and social development fund to facilitate these projects; but since we took over the district, the fund has not been forthcoming; and because it is not coming, we cannot wait to see it before doing what we could to help us. This is why I have to use my own money to undertake the projects,” Gondah said.“Since the election ended, followed by a transition, there has not been a county sitting to decide on what goes to administrative districts for development. My office, however, sees it necessary to undertake the projects,” Mr. Gondah said.The color of the building has faded and the corrugated zinc is rusty. The ceilings are at the point of dropping, while window glasses are without protective iron bars.There is also an old Yamaha motorbike that is out of order, but has remained parked at the headquarters.Residents and those visiting the headquarters for different administrative reasons were using pit latrine; but the newly-built toilet contained a commode and hand-washing unit.“The motorbike here is in a defective state, even the scratch cards we were given before no longer come to us because of the current situation in the country,” Commissioner Gondah said.The County’s authority, according to the Commissioner, has written about the problem facing the district, but he is yet to receive a positive response from Sanniquellie, the political capital, except empty promises.Communal farming, as part of a self-help initiative, used to be a community engagement whereby dwellers above the age of 18, and not students, would converge on a farmland to work.Men do the brushing, felling of the trees and cleaning the burnt farm; while women sow the seeds by propagating and mixing them with the soil.Proceeds from farmlands were primarily used to feed officials visiting a town, village or chiefdom.This practice, which once helped the locals with food security, has vanished long ago. Guests visiting towns, villages or chiefdoms are fed by what local government officials collect from community dwellers.Commissioner Gondah has meanwhile appealed to the County’s authority to remember his district in terms of request for funds to help rebuild the district’s headquarters in Bunadin.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)