Sandals Foundation, CHASE finance USD 96-m Westmoreland school project
JAMAICA - A manifestation of Sandals Foundation’s perpetual, robust support for early childhood education was demonstrated in a joint venture with the CHASE Fund to finance the construction of the state-of-the-art West End Infant School in Negril, Westmoreland at a cost of $96 million.
On Thursday, ground was broken at the construction site in the tourism resort town. Upon completion the new eight-classroom building will replace the current overcrowded structure located on the periphery. “This eight-classroom facility will be a game-changer. This is a true investment for the people of West End community, the mothers and fathers; but most importantly those who attend the school”, President of the Sandals Foundation Adam Stewart remarked during the groundbreaking ceremony. Meanwhile, CHASE Fund’s Chief Executive Officer Billy Heaven, who highlighted the importance of investing in early childhood education, expressed his enthusiasm at partnering with the Sandals Foundation. Upon completion, the structure will, apart from the eight classrooms, boast a dining area, staff and student bathrooms, a sick bay, administrative office, kitchen and a remedial room to serve a student population of 150. Sandals Foundation’s Director of Programs Heidi Clarke, who outlined that in the last seven years the Sandals Foundation has constructed two early childhood institutions: the Culloden Basic School in Whitehouse with the Seville Golden pre-school in St Ann; underscored the Foundation’s commitment to supporting educational projects in Jamaica and across the Caribbean. She also revealed that the project was hatched after the Foundation identified the great need.
Meanwhile, a study by the MOE revealed the broader scope of need in the community for which a Sandals Foundation-led multi-sector collaboration would prove to be the catalyst to initiate change in the provision of quality developmental support for the children of the community. Robert Miller, senior advisor to Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid, lauded the collaborative efforts of Sandals Foundation and CHASE Fund.
In the meantime, Westmoreland Western Member of Parliament Dr Wykeham McNeill had high praise for the Sandals Foundation and the CHASE Fund for mounting the major early childhood educational project in his constituency, and charged other hoteliers to follow suit. Prior to the project, Sandals Foundation worked with the staff at West End Basic School to assist their efforts to improve the educational environment of the existing structure but realized the great need to create more adequate space to meet the development needs of an ever-increasing population of children.
The NFA has maintained that there are enough rice supplies. (Photo: japantimes)