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Canadian soldiers lend helping hand


KINGSTON – It was a joyous occasion for residents of Jacques Road in Mountain View, Kingston, yesterday, when members of the Royal Canadian Navy docked.

The Canadian sailors, part of the crew of HMCS Preserve which docked in the Kingston Harbour on the weekend, renovated the Jacques Road Homework Centre as well as a computer centre and Internet café.

The work included painting, installation of windows, doors and bookshelves and electrical wiring at the computer centre.

High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica Robert Ready, who was instrumental in getting the project done, said it was a very good initiative for Canada and the Canadian Navy to be involved with.

“When our vessels make a stop in port our crew likes to have a community service project and so, when we heard about this we worked to identify this project,” said the high commissioner. Ready was a part of the work team which also included volunteers from Youth Opportunities Unlimited, the Jamaica Defence Force and Cuso International, a non-profit development organisation.

He added: “I think it’s a great project for the community. It’s a community that is obviously proud of itself and this centre has the focus of the community and is about the future of the kids and is providing them with a space to do their lessons and to get on to computers and to become more technologically literate.”

Meanwhile, the executive members of the community organisation were elated with the intervention of the Canadians.

“I can’t explain how I feel,” said Ann Marie Lynch, president of the Jacques Road Parenting Committee and director of the Amy Jacques Youth Club. “I feel great! It’s a dream come true and I was praying for something like this to happen and that God would send help from somewhere.”

Treasurer of the Amy Jacques club Michael Innerarity was equally moved.

“I am really glad with the work that is being done. This will definitely motivate more members of the community to come out and support our club,” he said. “This initiative by the visitors from Canada will go a long way, and definitely, by next week, we will see an influx of persons to our club meetings.”

Innerarity added that the centre has been of great benefit to the community and that yesterday’s upgrading will go a long way in ensuring that the work continues.

“Once we are able to engage more people in the community, especially our young people, we will be able to mould their communication and their social skills and that is one of our main goals,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the crew, sub-lieutenant Stephen Boudreau said he was very excited about working in the island and getting the opportunity to experience the Jamaican culture, which is world renowned.

“It’s something to definitely experience first-hand and we are happy to lend a helping hand in any way we can. So, when we heard we had an opportunity to come and to share some of our expertise we were happy to do so,” he said.

“Plus,” he added, “I wouldn’t get to experience this part of Jamaica on my own as a tourist, so it’s really a fascinating thing to see how things are and my mom is a Jamaican so it’s really exciting to come here.” (Jamaica Observer) 

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