[OPINIONS]:::Robert Dalley's WINNER FOR YEAR 2009

No. 49 Wednesday, February 03, 2010
[POSTED BY::: Robert Dalley]
Last year has proven to be one of the most difficult years for the country in recent decades however there are still some persons who stood out prominently across the Jamaican landscape and warrant praises and salutations from considered opinion.
   Jamaica has a plethora of problems, challenges and various issues of national importance however our Jamaican people are among the best in the world. Below I will name and comment on my Winners For Year 2009 as per usual.

   The Director of Public Prosecutions, Hon. Paula Llewellyn, Q.C., was constitutionally appointed to the post on March 5, 2008 and has been performing creditably well over the period more-so throughout last year 2009. 
   Through her consistent lobbying of Central Government the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions now has additional staff members that of Crown Counsels and other prosecutorial staff persons. She has established a number of important management committees within her D.PP Office to specifically assist to streamline the mandate of accountability, performance standards and responsibility which she so fervently committed to do when she was appointed D.PP Eight former experienced government prosecutors were re-employed to the D.PP’s office to assist with the prosecution of cases including the many back-log of cases which has been at the Office for some years.
   The turnover of cases from her office has been steadily increasing thus timely reducing the back log of cases which has been lingering for quite a lengthy time before she took over as Director. The D.PP’s Office is becoming much more efficient and accountable due to the high standards that Mrs. Llewellyn has implemented overall within the entire operations of the Office which deserves widespread commendations. She has been a very open, transparent and intrinsically accountable D.PP always keeping the public informed of the various stages of cases that are being prosecuted by her Office in a most fan balanced and professional manner truly being a responsible, honourable and fearless public servant of high integrity thus being a huge asset to the Office which she holds and to the country frankly speaking. She has successfully prosecuted a number of important cases throughout last year truly showing up humbly her fine prosecutorial skills.
   She is a fine mentor to her fellow junior staff members and has put in place as was reported in the media recently, a mentoring programme within the D.PP’s Office to assist with the guiding and training of Crown Counsels and other staff members. Mrs. Llewellyn has greatly improved the efficiency of the D.PP’s Office and therefore, certainly is a significant Winner for 2009. Best wishes, Madam D.PP

   During the past year 2009 the island’s agricultural sector performed creditably well under the indefatigable Ministerial leadership of Dr. Christopher Tufton who has a doctorate degree in Business Management from one of Great Britain’s most prestigious universities. The agricultural sector grew by some 10 percent last year being the leading sector in terms of performance.
   A cardinal achievement of the Ministry and Minister Tufton was the superb gains that were made in firmly ensuring the island’s overall food security and quite commendably up to the month of September last year 2009, Jamaica officially imported some 70 percent less fresh produce in comparison to the similar period of 2008. Additionally, the country enhanced its food security within the framework of the successful reaping of the first rice crop grown specifically on 25 acres of land under the Amity Hall Rice Project which is located in the parish of St. Catherine. Further, the country’s food security was firmly strengthened with the historical opening of fully equipped Centre of Excellence at the Bodies Research Station in St. Catherine; a Molecular Biology Laboratory at the Veterinary Services Division and the fantastic development of the Dairy Herd Recording Programme. Due to Minister Tufton’s very hard work the Ministry’s Production and Productivity Programme innovatively and critically identified the country’s major agricultural crops and gave comprehensive training to farmers throughout the island therefore, those crops produced a high yield all throughout last year. RADA also played a major role in that regard while the agency’s staff complement was increased by the Minister by some 40 extension officers taking the total number to 120. RADA importantly increased its registration process of farmers and duly assisted them to market their various products on the overseas market.
   A brand new Fisheries Policy was tabulated by Minister Tufton and is due to be tabled in Parliament shortly. A number of public fishing facilities were upgraded and renovated throughout the country to the tune of $326 million while eight new fish sanctuaries are being established across the country in addition to the two existing ones that are located in St. James and St. Thomas respectively. Within Western Jamaica, the Bluefield’s Bay Fish Sanctuary was recently opened in December by the hardworking Minister Tufton. The Fisheries Division of the Agriculture Ministry has put into place a revolving loan scheme for small fishermen and this is being managed by the National People’s Co-operative Bank with the direct intention to upgrade and modernize the country entire fishing industry which currently benefits directly and indirectly some 200,000 as stated by Minister Tufton. He performed with vast distinction, professionalism and humility last year 2009 and was a top performing cabinet minister and therefore, I am very proud to include him unreservedly as one of winners for 2009. Well done, Minister Tufton.

   The President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Editor-In-Chief of the Western Mirror, ‘Governor’ Lloyd B Smith, continues to be one of Montego Bay’s most outstanding, hardworking and sincere leaders extraordinaire and concomitantly, continues to serve the city with humility, honour and sincerity. As president of the Montego Bay Chamber he worked extremely hard last year on a number of initiatives to ensure that the organization assists with the development and improvement of Montego Bay from a broad scope basis if you will and has participated in many public forums that had to do with the affairs of the city and the parish of St. James. At every occasion that he has had he has repeatedly lobbied for the improvement and upgrading of Montego Bay and its broader environs which undoubtedly speaks volumes of this committed son of the city. Under the erudite presidency of ‘Governor’ Smith the Chamber had quite a successful year having held the annual Chamber expo and the exclusive banquet and awards functions which came off flawlessly and was talked about for days across the city of Montego Bay, real successes indeed. The first government national security consultation forum with the Minister, Chief of Staff of the Jamaica Defence Force and Commissioner of Police took place in the city and was astutely moderated by the ‘Governor’ which turned out to be a monumental success due to the firm moderation that was done throughout the proceedings of the forum. Mr. Smith is seen as a uniting force within the city and along with his quintessential journalistic skills and talent and his firm handling of the forum as the moderator, the function allowed many citizens of varying backgrounds to freely expound their many concerns, thought and viewpoints thus making the overall function a great success eventually to the benefit of us citizens.
   The Western Mirror continues to be the preferred choice newspaper here in Western Jamaica while being known as a newspaper of high credibility ratings and a hardworking Editor deserving of my praises and salutations. He has been a fine and notably editor whose performance was at a very high level last year thus benefiting the newspaper in a plethora of important ways. As a political and public commentator he did extremely well all throughout last year on radio dispassionately expounding on numerous national and political issues factually being the leading one from within Western Jamaica in this regard. And finally, as a newspaper columnist he wrote some very probing and politically stinging columns in the Daily Observer many of which became the talking point of some radio talk show hosts. And he really came out last year being among the leading columnists in the Observer newspaper for which I commend him wholeheartedly on, for that is certainly no small accomplishment. Well done, ‘Governor’ Smith. 

   MegaMart Wholesale Club Limited under the Executive Chairmanship of Mr. Gassan Azan, Jr., last year December celebrated ten years of operations in Jamaica and currently have in operation three branches, namely in Kingston, Portmore and here in Montego Bay.
   This is indeed a huge accomplishment for Gassan and his highly respected wholesale business organization earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually in sales and simultaneously pumping millions of dollars into the Jamaican economy in terms of the immense amount of government taxes that the company pays each month and employs many Jamaicans in its three stores that are within the country. Ten years ago when MegaMart was established by business mogul Gassan Azan Jr., it became the first wide-scale wholesale club duly offering a wide variety of consumer goods at very competitive prices and currently has a broad customer base and is supported by a wide cross section of Jamaicans . MegaMart performed exceedingly well last year at all its locations and the Montego Bay mega branch has really turned out to be a fantastic success story being thoroughly supported by many persons from within the Western Region and provides employment for a great many persons who reside in St. James. Mr. Azan has worked very hard over the years to build the mega-mart whole-sale shopping empire and he has done this country and the business sector proud. A gargantuan achievement of monumental proportions, of which, we as citizens should be proud of simply and frankly put. MegaMart has received the prestigious PS.O.J. Award For Employment Creation on two separate occasions. Without a doubt Azan was one of the country’s top of top performing businessmen last year 2009 and a prominent role model within the sector. Congratulation are due to him and his esteemed company for being in operation in this country for the past ten years and eminently serving us residents here in Montego Bay through the Montego Bay branch. A well deserved Winner for me for 2009. Take a bow, Gassan.

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