Intl. Donor Impressed with First Meeting of Helmet Coalition

Aggie Krasnolucka, Programmes Director at the London-based FIA Foundation, says Jamaica’s National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) has the potential to be as successful as similar initiatives established around the world, including in Vietnam. Among other things, the work of the Coalition in Vietnam has contributed to the passage of a mandatory helmet law in the country which has saved thousands of lives.

Speaking after the launch and inaugural meeting of the NHWC in Jamaica, the FIA Programmes Director said Jamaica’s Coalition has the capacity to attain similar achievements, noting that each member brings to the table their own skills, knowledge and experience on motorcycle issues and safety.

“Vietnam is a success case but the helmet safety work in Vietnam has been going on for over a decade. Over 15,000 lives and $3.5 billion have been saved, but it takes time. I am very hopeful that we will see similar improvements here in Jamaica. There are people here who have fantastic skills and they’re very well prepared, ambitious and quite enthusiastic about this work,” she said.

The National Helmet Wearing Coalition in Jamaica is public-private partnership comprising the JN Foundation, which is coordinating the project, the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), government, as well as the police, transportation associations, advocacy groups, academia, parish development committees and international organisations. The initiative is being funded by the FIA Foundation- the charity arm of the world governing body for motorsports- and is targeted at raising awareness about motorcycle helmet safety, and promoting the use of certified helmets through regulation and behaviour change.

At the Coalition’s first meeting, members discussed potential activities in line with the action plan frameworks and models. Ms Krasnolucka, said she was impressed by the discussion, but hastened to advise that the success of the project in Jamaica will require concerted effort and input from various levels, including government.

“We need to see the policymakers playing their part, creating policies that are fit for the context and really support the change that we want to see. We want to see the private sector stepping forward and doing their part in supporting activities that will be taking place as part of the action plan of the Coalition,” she said.  “We need to see civil society being proactive, advocating for change; we need media to do their bit to promote good behaviour; and most of all, we need motorcycle riders to be involved in this process,” she stressed.

­Omar Wright, Lead for Environment and Community Development Programmes at JN Foundation, outlined the roles and responsibilities of the Coalition during the inaugural meeting. He said members will be expected to attend at least four meetings each year and they may also be called upon to work in one or multiple working groups aligned to the objectives of the Coalition. He also called for members to take the initiative to identify new opportunities and partners that can support the activities and goals of the Coalition.

“We do not have all the information and happenings at the local level, and we will depend on our members to share information about what sort of tactics might work for the population that we are trying to reach,” he said. “We will also call upon members to share their views, their ideas, their suggestions, because we know that together we can create the solutions that we are seeking to bring about,” he added.

Project Manager for Road Safety and Road User Education at JN Foundation, Sydoney Preddie, added that the ultimate priority of the Coalition will be to help reduce the number of motorcyclists experiencing fatal or severe injuries from a collision. Currently, anecdotal data shows that in 80 per cent of collisions involving motorcyclists, bikers and their pillions either die or are severely injured because they were not wearing a helmet.

“We want to see more certified helmets on heads. We want to at least bring down that 80 per cent and so we look forward to working together to achieve that. This project is about promoting helmet safety and highlighting the standards that are in place,” she said.

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Upcoming Diaspora Conference to feature Panel Discussion on Green Entrepreneurship

Photo Caption: Claudine Allen, General Manager, JN Foundation

A distinguished panel of experts will explore issues related to climate change and entrepreneurship at the upcoming 10th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which will be held from June 16 to 19 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James.

The 45-minute panel discussion, which is scheduled for June 17, will underscore critical areas of concern and identify where innovative solutions are most urgently needed.

The session, which will be delivered face-to-face, is set to explore diverse opportunities for accessing business support and product development services, leveraging the latest in technology and scientific innovation. Participants will also gain insight from a climate-conscious entrepreneur who has successfully navigated the journey to become a green entrepreneur.

The session will be moderated by Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, along with a roster of esteemed professionals including Professor Dale Webber, director of the Centre for Marine Sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona, who brings extensive knowledge on marine ecosystems and their vulnerability to climate change.

Carlinton Burrell, chief executive officer of the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre, will share strategies for fostering innovation in response to climate challenges in the Caribbean region. Dr Charah Watson, executive director of the Scientific Research Council, will provide insights into the latest scientific advancements and their applications in mitigating climate impacts.

Other panellists are David Wan, acting managing director of the Development Bank of Jamaica, who will discuss DBJ’s accreditation with the Green Climate Fund and support mechanisms available for green initiatives, and Jonathan Hernould, chief executive officer of Reef Construction Limited, who will showcase a practical business built on helping Jamaica’s shorelines to recover from the impact of climate change.

Other panellists are David Wan, acting managing director of the Development Bank of Jamaica, who will discuss DBJ’s accreditation with the Green Climate Fund and support mechanisms available for green initiatives, and Jonathan Hernould, chief executive officer of Reef Construction Limited, who will showcase a practical business built on helping Jamaica’s shorelines to recover from the impact of climate change.

Ms Allen said the session promises to be a cornerstone of the conference, equipping delegates with the knowledge and tools needed to drive meaningful change in their respective fields and communities.

“Jamaica boasts strong support for people who want to take action to build sustainability and resilience into their businesses. The panel provides practical information that will show members of the Diaspora how to achieve their investment or business objectives while contributing to Jamaica’s climate resilience,” she said.

To register for the conference, persons should visit  

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Omar Wright, Lead, Environment & Community Development at the JN Foundation,

JN Foundation calls for collaborative action for Jamaica’s sustainable water future

Omar Wright, Lead, Environment & Community Development at the JN Foundation, said a concerted effort needs to be made for a balance between sustainable water management and socio-economic development for the nation’s future resilience.

He warned that without immediate action, Jamaica’s precious natural resources and ecosystems are at risk of irreversible damage, threatening both environmental stability and socio-economic well-being.

“We [the JN Foundation] had a water summit in 2021, and we called on the Government of Jamaica to set a minimum standard, to ensure that every housing development is outfitted with water efficient features and fittings. We are still calling and advocating for this,” he pointed out.

Mr. Wright made the appeal recently while addressing the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights meeting. His presentation was entitled ‘Navigating the waters: the intersection of water management and environmental conservation’.

At the forefront of this call, Mr Wright said there is a pressing need for collaboration among all stakeholders. Recognising the interconnectedness of water resources with all aspects of life, persons are urged to set aside differences and work towards a common goal: safeguarding Jamaica’s water for generations to come.

“It is important that the government, policymakers, businesses, and communities work together for a resilient future,” he said. “If we don’t manage our water resources carefully, we will see the side of humanity that will be plunged into [water] war,” he said.

Jamaica, like many other nations, is grappling with the repercussions of climate change, population growth and unsustainable practices that strain its water resources. From diminishing water supplies to degraded ecosystems, the signs of stress are evident. However, amidst these challenges, Mr Wright said there is an opportunity for transformation.

“We have to ensure that we are managing the water resources in such a way that future generations will have access to water, and we can indeed be the land of wood and water,” he said.

Mr Wright urged members of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights to advocate for water conservation initiatives. “Lend your voice and support to entities, institutions, and initiatives that are pushing for conservation of the environment. Find something that you are passionate about in the environmental sphere and lend your support,” he said.

He also encouraged businesses to adopt water-efficient technologies and practices, not only as a means of reducing operational costs, but as a commitment to corporate social responsibility. Mr Wright said communities are also encouraged to embrace water-saving habits and participate in local conservation efforts, recognising their role as custodians of Jamaica’s water resources.

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Optimise Your ATM Strategy to Save More

Photo Caption: Rose Miller, Manager for Strategic Empowerment Programmes at JN Foundation

Advancements with electronic transaction channels have transformed the banking industry and have led to more secure and enhanced customer experiences. The ATM in particular, which has become one of the more popular customer access channels, continues to drive economic growth by increasing access to financial services and when used efficiently, it can help people save time and money.

Rose Miller, Manager for Strategic Empowerment Programmes at JN Foundation said depending on how people bank and what they need cash for, there are ways to use the automated channels to minimise or avoid bank fees and maximise security, while doing business. ATMs are providing valuable services to bank customers, and by employing the right strategy, customers can ensure that convenience isn’t costly.

  1. Stay in-network. If you use an out-of-network ATM, you may be hit with a surcharge from the bank that owns that ATM, as well as a fee from your bank for using an ATM not in its network. It’s better to stick to in-network ATMs to avoid these costs and depending on your bank, you can also benefit from some fee-free withdrawals in-network.
  • Withdraw larger sums less frequently. You save by making fewer withdrawals at the ATM, especially if you are charged a fee each time you use one. If you anticipate needing cash for multiple reasons, consider taking out larger sums of cash in a single ATM visit to prepare for those reasons in advance, but keep in mind your security and your bank’s withdrawal limits.
  • Use smart ATMs for certain transactions. Depending on your bank, you can save valuable time and money by taking advantage of the advanced functionalities and convenience of smart ATMs. At some smart ATMs people can conduct several transactions including the payment of loans and with some in branch activities requiring teller fees, using the smart ATM can help you avoid the added costs, while also reducing wait times.
  • Find a bank that supports international ATMs. If you’re an international traveller, it pays to shop around for a bank account that doesn’t charge exorbitant foreign transaction fees for debit card withdrawals no matter where you go. A foreign currency account at your local bank is also a good option as this makes it easier for you to conduct transactions without the worry of converting cash for an added cost on your transaction.
  • Consider using digital payment solutions. Before running to the ATM, find out if cards or digital wallets are accepted at the place you are trying to conduct business. Today, businesses and vendors offer multiple options for payment, with some of those options being free. Some banks also have mobile apps that allow you to conduct transfers, check your balances and make payments at no extra cost.
  • Take advantage of online banking. Certain transactions can also be facilitated through online banking and these platforms are usually free and offer even more convenience to customers. This is a great way to maximise your time and save money as online banking eliminates the cost of going from place to place to transact business.
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Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation presents the 2023 PEP awardee from St Andrew, Mason Smith, with a certificate during the JN Foundation’s PEP Scholarship Awards held at the Summit in New Kingston on November 12, 2023

Young High Achiever Carving His Own Career Path

Photo Caption: Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation presents the 2023 PEP awardee from St Andrew, Mason Smith, with a certificate during the JN Foundation’s PEP Scholarship Awards held at the Summit in New Kingston on November 12, 2023.

Parents can sometimes influence the career selection process of their children. If you ask a doctor or a lawyer today why they chose that career, many may say they wanted to follow in a parent’s footsteps or that a parent encouraged them to pursue it because others in the family chose that career.

Mason Smith, the 2023 JN Foundation PEP awardee for St Andrew, is, however, choosing his own career path, although both his parents are physicians.

“Whatever he wants to do is fine with us, as long as he does his absolute best,” his father Dr Shaun Smith shared.

Mason, a Mona Preparatory alumnus, and current ‘Campionite’, said although he hasn’t ruled out medicine for his future, he’s interested in pursuing a career in computer engineering.

“I’ve been liking IT (information technology) so far, and I just like computers,” he shared.

But although he is making his own decisions about his career freely, his mother’s love for her alma mater may have influenced his high school of choice.

“I felt great passing for Campion because my mom went there. It has been good so far. I’m in the Math and Tennis clubs and I’m thinking of joining other clubs in second form,” he shared.

Mason, who also likes maths, gaming, drumming, tennis, and Kung Fu, has always been a high achiever. His mother, Dr Danielle Keene-Smith said while he has several interests, he has always kept focused on his studies, and so there were no surprises with his PEP results.

“He has always done very well and is very self-motivated. We can see that he feels some happiness when he gets that success, and he knows what he has to put in to get there. He’s always done his work and his teachers always love him,” she added.

Mason’s father said he was also happy about his son’s PEP results as he had worked extremely hard especially over the last two years. “There were several nights we stayed up to midnight preparing so it was really a good feeling to know that he was able to put in the work and achieve his dream,” he said.

Mason’s high achievement also presented him with the opportunity for a five-year scholarship from the JN Foundation, for which Mason and his parents say they are grateful.

“We could not have been more pleased. We weren’t even expecting it and were absolutely overjoyed when we heard that,” Mason’s mother said.

“It’s a great feeling knowing Mason has been recognised for the hard work that he has put in and JN Foundation has been doing an excellent job in recognising these students and assisting with their career paths,” his father added.

And Mason will be working to get other scholarships to help him advance his career goals.

“I want to get another scholarship to get into university and get a degree. That’s my goal. Honestly, I love having fun, but I’m also focused on school because I know that it will take some hard work and dedication to be successful,” he shared.

An only child, Mason’s mother said she is looking forward to him continuing to grow and develop.

“He’s the apple of our eyes and we’re just so proud of him and the young man that he is becoming.”

His father also promised that they will continue to support Mason as best as they can and on whichever road he chooses for success.

“He is an absolute blessing to us, and we just cherish every moment that we have him around. Believe it or not he actually motivates us from time to time just to see how dedicated he is and it reassures us that we are doing a good job.”

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Enhance Financial Growth through Education

Photo Caption: Shanna Kaye Wright Vaughn, Lead – Youth and Education Programmes at the JN Foundation

Shanna Kaye Wright Vaughn, Lead – Youth and Education Programmes at the JN Foundation says continuous learning can serve as a catalyst for financial growth and empowerment. Devoting just 10 minutes per day to educate oneself on personal finance topics, she advises, could yield substantial dividends in knowledge accumulation and one’s financial freedom.  

“Seeking guidance from reputable financial professionals or sources enhances financial literacy and equips individuals with the tools needed to navigate complex financial landscapes effectively,” she informed.

Mrs Wright Vaughn’s advice comes as the world observes the month of April as Financial Literacy Month.

Some of these educational resources she said include financial and money coaches across platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Some require payment for direct coaching, but most share a great amount of valuable insights at no cost, she informed.

Other sources include financial blogs and financial news in newspapers, on radio/tv (local & international).

She says incorporating education along with other strategic activities into one’s daily financial routine, can empower people to take control of their financial destinies.

Mastering Budgeting

“By embracing prudent budgeting, diligent saving, savvy spending, responsible debt management, and continuous learning, individuals can pave the way towards long-term financial success and security,” she said.

Mrs Wright Vaughn said budgeting is the cornerstone of effective financial planning. By meticulously tracking income and expenses, she said, individuals gain a clear understanding of their financial standing.

Prioritising Savings

“Allocating specific amounts for necessities, savings, and flexible spending categories helps maintain financial discipline. Leveraging budgeting tools or apps further streamlines the process, ensuring organisation and efficiency,” she explained.

The JN Foundation lead on youth and education programmes said that saving then takes centre stage in securing a stable financial future. She said by establishing both short-term and long-term savings goals, this cultivates financial discipline and resilience.

She recommended automating savings through recurring transfers to separate accounts, which she says will facilitate consistency and eliminate the temptation to spend impulsively. Prioritising savings before allocating funds for flexible expenses reinforces the importance of financial security, she informed.

Smart Spending

“Smart spending practices play a pivotal role in maximising financial resources. Distinguishing between needs and wants enables individuals to make informed purchasing decisions. By actively seeking out the best deals and discounts, individuals can stretch their dollars further,” she advised.

Moving on to spending, Mrs Wright Vaughn said that implementing a waiting period before making non-essential purchases mitigates impulse buying tendencies and promotes mindful spending habits.

Managing Debt

And finally, to manage debt persons should consider developing a repayment plan prioritising high-interest debts. This facilitates progress towards financial freedom, she said.

“Exploring options such as debt consolidation or negotiating lower interest rates with creditors can expedite debt repayment. Adhering to responsible credit usage practices and refraining from accruing new debt unnecessarily are fundamental principles in achieving financial stability,” she recommended.

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Thomas Smith, Managing Director, JN General Insurance Company

Insurer Applauds Launch of National Helmet Wearing Coalition in Jamaica

Photo Caption: Thomas Smith, Managing Director, JN General Insurance Company

A leading insurance company is commending the JN Foundation, in partnership with the National Road Safety Council and the UK-based FIA Foundation, for the establishment of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition in Jamaica on March 21.

JN General Insurance (JNGI), which views the initiative as a significant step towards enhancing road safety and saving lives, underscored the urgent need to address road safety concerns and implement preventive measures to reduce accidents and fatalities on Jamaican roads.

“The launch of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition aligns with the broader objectives of JNGI to promote responsible behaviour and mitigate risks associated with road use. Through our advocacy for helmet wearing, we actively champion safer roads, thereby playing a key role in safeguarding lives,” said Thomas Smith, Managing Director, JNGI, and road safety advocate.

“Road safety is a collective responsibility and initiatives such as the Coalition exemplify the power of partnership in effecting positive change,” he added.

The National Helmet Wearing Coalition aims to promote and advocate for the widespread adoption of certified standardised helmet use among motorcyclists and pillion riders across the island. Recognizing the alarming statistics surrounding road accidents and fatalities, particularly among vulnerable road users, the coalition endeavours to raise awareness about the importance of helmet wearing as a preventive measure.

Mr Smith pointed out that with road traffic injuries remaining a significant public health concern, advocating for helmet use, will seek to mitigate the risk of head injuries and fatalities, ultimately saving lives and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.

“Every life lost on our roads is one too many. As an insurance provider, we witness firsthand the devastating impact of road crashes. We therefore reinforce our commitment to fostering safer roads,” he said.

Statistics provided by the Road Safety Unit in Ministry of Transport and Mining show that as of March 26, motorcyclists account for 39 per cent of users killed since the beginning of the year, while pillion passengers account for four per cent of the fatalities.

In addition to helmet wearing, the insurer recommends that motorcyclists observe the following tips to bolster road safety:

  • Wear Protective Gear: These include gloves and jackets specifically designed for motorcycling. This gear can provide added protection in case of a crash or slide.
  • Maintain Motorcycle: Ensure your motorcycle is properly maintained by checking brakes, tyres and lights regularly. A well-maintained motorcycle is safer and performs better on the road.
  • Stay Visible: Wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing to enhance visibility, especially at night. Use reflective tape on motorcycle to improve visibility to other motorists.
  • Obey Traffic Laws: Follow all road laws including speed limits and traffic signals. Avoid weaving in and out of traffic and always use turn signals when changing lanes or making turns.
  • Stay Alert and Focused: Remain attentive at all times while riding. Avoid distractions such as using a mobile phone. Focus on the road ahead for potential hazards and anticipate the actions of other motorists.
  • Avoid Riding Under the Influence: Never ride a motorcycle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication that impairs your ability to operate the motorcycle safely. Alcohol and drugs significantly impair reaction time, coordination, and judgment.

“Safe riding habits and staying vigilant on the road can help protect you and others from crashes and injuries,” Mr Smith emphasised.

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US Essay Winner Welcomes Opportunity to immerse in Jamaican Culture

Post Caption: Carleigh Franklin (right), grand prize winner of a trip for two to Jamaica in the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (UJAA) essay competition, views a pictorial book highlighting life in Jamaica during a courtesy call on Rose Miller (left) Manager, Strategic Empowerment Programmes, and Shanna Kaye Wright Vaughn, Lead, Youth & Education Programmes, at the JN Foundation New Kingston office on March 19.

Winning Moment

Carleigh Franklin was beside herself when her name was called as the grand prize winner of a trip for two to Jamaica in the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (UJAA) essay competition, last year, while a student at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta.

She had awoken just five minutes before the start of the virtual ceremony and joined with little expectation of winning a prize.

“The person reading out the awards went down the list of names and I didn’t hear my name. Then, they got to the top spot and my name was read out. I was obviously in shock. My mom was sitting across from me at the dinner table, and we started jumping,” said Carleigh during a courtesy call at the JN Foundation with Shanna Kaye Wright Vaughn, Lead, Youth & Education Programmes and Rose Miller, Manager, Strategic Empowerment Programmes, at the JN Foundation New Kingston office on March 19.

A Reluctant Participant

The 19-year-old disclosed that she was hesitant to enter the competition but eventually did with encouragement from her mother, Prudence Franklin.

“It was my senior summer. I had just graduated; I had just written all my college essays,” she pointed out, explaining that she wanted the time to rest.  “My mom persuaded me to do one more essay. She had so much faith in my writing.”

Although Carleigh enjoys journalling and often received commendations from her English teachers for her writing, she had never previously considered entering an essay competition.

“I’ve never seen myself as a competitive writer,” she said.

Carleigh, now a freshman at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, was accompanied by her mother and brother, Robert, on the trip.

About the Competition

Now in its 34th year, the annual UJAA High School Graduate Awards and Essay Competition is open to all US High School Seniors of Jamaican heritage.  The UJAA is a non-profit umbrella organisation for more than 60 alumni associations of Jamaican schools and other educational institutions.

The competition seeks to stimulate students to share their perspectives and personal experiences with different cultures. The prize trip to Jamaica aims to provide an opportunity for the winner to gain deeper insights into Jamaican life and culture.

In her essay entitled “The Best of Both Worlds,” Carleigh conveyed the diverse mix of her cultural background and how it influences her outlook on life.

“The intersections of my distinct backgrounds have created my unique cultural identity and have awarded me with a metaphorical view of my life. If each of my cultural backgrounds could be represented by the circles of a Venn diagram, the best of both worlds would exist within the intersection; the collision of two distinct rich cultures intertwining to make me,” she wrote.

“The strong unwavering spirit of Jamaica is built upon a rich history and powerful leaders, and knowledge of this heritage is the greatest tool I possess for guiding my future for  generations to come,” she expressed.

As the first generation of African-Americans in her family, Carleigh pointed out that her unique identity has allowed her and other Jamaican Americans like her to continue bridging the cultural dissonance existing between black immigrants and African Americans.

Empowering Through Education and Cultural Exchange

The Jamaica National Group and by extension, the JN Foundation, which places a high premium on youth, education, and the Diaspora, has been a supporter of the UJAA for many years, providing the winner with the opportunity to meet with members of the Jamaican team and to be exposed to the business sector in Jamaica.

Mrs Miller is proud of Carleigh’s accomplishments.

“She embodies the transformative power of education and cultural exchange. Her story reaffirms the importance of fostering connections within the Jamaican Diaspora and beyond. Carleigh’s journey exemplifies the profound impact of these initiatives, showcasing how education and cultural exchange can truly transform lives,” she related.

“Through dedicated efforts in youth engagement, financial empowerment, and community development, we, at the JN Foundation, are committed to fostering positive change and facilitating opportunities for growth. We are inspired by Carleigh’s journey and remain steadfast in our mission to empower young minds to reach their fullest potential and contribute meaningfully to their communities.”

Although it was Carleigh’s sixth or seventh visit to the island, it was her first time visiting Kingston. She said she was thrilled to meet members of her maternal family for the first time who are living in Kingston.

“My life has changed. I’ve met so many family members. It’s so very emotional for me.”

Carleigh is currently studying Biology to pursue a career in medicine and healthcare. She hopes to bring transformation to healthcare services in the United States.

“With my communication skills I hope to bridge the gap between the healthcare system and patients of all backgrounds,” she said.

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Seniors Urged to Pay Attention to Day-to-Day Finances

Rose Miller, manager of strategic empowerment programme at the JN Foundation, underscores the importance for persons to carefully manage their finances, at all times and in all seasons of live but particularly during retirement.

This she said especially because income is oftentimes reduced and pensioners still face high inflation, the constant upward movement in the price of food, medication and other goods and services.

Effective Expense Management

Mrs Miller stressed the importance of budgeting during this season of life to avoid over expenditure and even waste.

“As a pensioner, not only are you faced with reduced income and price increases, but additionally, many seniors must also factor in significant cost for healthcare and as you age, the cost of long-term care and assistance if and when you are no longer able to manage on your own.  Coupled with the fact that people are living longer in retirement, prudent financial management is crucial to avoid pensioners outliving their retirement savings,” she explained.

Tracking all expenses is one way to ensure that money is not spent on unnecessary purchases. Mrs Miller informed that for those seniors not averse to technology, using a budgeting app would be beneficial. With aggressive tracking of expenses and making some other spending adjustments, the savings can be great, she advised.

There are many free online budgeting tools, ranging from budgeting apps to spreadsheets, which can help seniors keep an eye on, and track their expenses.

Thrifty Spending Tips

“I would recommend frugal spending as much as possible, shopping where they can get the best prices, taking advantage of rewards and utilising substitutes wherever possible instead of the higher priced products are ways in which you can make the dollar stretch,” she indicated.

Mrs Miller said seniors should also be assertive, taking advantage of available discounts as well as those for which they qualify. Noting that sometimes seniors may be asked to prove their eligibility, pensioners should be prepared with the appropriate documents; proof of age or government-issued identification would be sufficient.   She also recommended teaming up with close friends or family members to purchase groceries in bulk.

Maximising Income Opportunities

To supplement their income, seniors should explore the option of monetising their skills or hobbies, Mrs Miller advised.

“If you have a skill or hobby that you can monetise, you should do that. For example, if you are a teacher, you can offer tutoring services during your retirement. There is also the option to acquire a new skill that can bring in income, and that should be explored.” she said.

Another avenue which could be pursued is property rental which would generate income.  Mrs Miller informed that seniors who have a large home could downsize and convert a section of the property to provide rental income.

She noted that owning a large home may not make sense. For some the option of selling their current home and purchasing a smaller house or condo might be more practical and attractive. This will reduce many expenses associated with the care and maintenance of the property and even security in some cases.

The manager of strategic empowerment programmes suggested that seniors also start a backyard garden where they can cultivate vegetables or general cash crops which could  generate income, but at the very least, reduce or eliminate purchases of these items. “Vegetables such as callaloo, peppers, and tomatoes are among crops easily cultivated and they mature in a short period of time. The produce from gardening can help to offset buying them at the market and any surplus can be sold.  Gardening will not only keep seniors busy, reducing boredom, but has the added advantage of providing them with the exercise they need to keep fit , warding off or helping to manage some lifestyle diseases,” she explained.

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Key Stakeholders Welcome Launch of National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC)

Photo Caption: Hon. Dr. Horace Chang (left), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, greets Saul Billingsley (right), Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, at the launch of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) at the AC Marriott Hotel on March 21. Looking on are Earl Jarrett (second left), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JN Group and Director of the JN Foundation and Dr. Lucien Jones, Chairman of the Project Steering Committee and Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC). The FIA Foundation is financing the Coalition project that is being implemented by the JN Foundation, in partnership with the NRSC, to heighten awareness about motorcycle helmet safety in Jamaica.

Against the background of alarming data highlighting the negative correlation between motorcycle related deaths and non-helmet use in Jamaica, as well as data indicating the gap between awareness, ownership and consistent use of certified, standardised protective gear, stakeholders have welcomed the launch of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition (NHWC) as a big step towards addressing Jamaica’s motorcycle issues.

Guest speaker at the launch ceremony held at the AC Hotel on March 21, the Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, said the Coalition aligns with the Government’s agenda regarding road safety and public order.

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the NRSC (National Road Safety Council), JN Foundation and the FIA Foundation for their tremendous contribution for an initiative such as this project,” he said adding that “motorcycle related issues must be addressed as a crucial component of our country’s overall strategy to improve public order and save lives. It is therefore imperative that we take protective measures to mitigate the risks posed by irresponsible individuals on our roadways.”

The Minister said the success of the National Helmet Wearing Coalition project will depend on the collective efforts of all stakeholders and their commitments to making a positive difference.

Dr Lucien Jones, Chairman of the Project Steering Committee and Vice Chairman of the NRSC, announced during the launch that the Ministry of National Security has already donated more than 2,000 helmets to the work of the Coalition.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, the entity funding the project, said they are pleased to be supporting the initiative and remain committed to collaborating with all stakeholders over the long term.  

“We have some understanding of how some other countries are trying to deal with their motorcycle issues and what we at the FIA Foundation have experienced is that having a National Helmet Wearing Coalition is a really great way to try to grapple with this. This is a shared responsibility but government must take a lead.”

Earl Jarrett, CEO of the Jamaica National Group and Director of the JN Foundation, noted that his organisation was also proud to extend its reach and support the Coalition project, which ultimately aims to protect lives.

“It’s all about putting people first, which is our motto at the JN Group, and recognising the need for us to have a healthy, vibrant society. Motorcycle fatalities is one of the largest group of fatalities, with recent data indicating that it is accounting for more than 30 per cent of all road fatalities. We are in danger of losing a generation of young people to these accidents and if awareness and persuasion were in place, we could have probably changed the trajectory of those who died,” he said.

Christopher Atkinson, a member of the Upshifterz Motorcycle Club, based in Mandeville, and a member of the Coalition who was present for the launch event, said he is looking forward to the work that will be undertaken by the Coalition towards creating a safer environment for motorcyclists, pillions and other road users.

The coalition was convened by the JN Foundation and National Road Safety Council (NRSC), in collaboration with the FIA Foundation, to heighten awareness about motorcycle helmet safety, prioritising import and use of certified helmets, through advocacy for policy development for helmet quality regulation and capacity-building initiatives. 

Recent data from the Road Safety Council indicate that despite 94 per cent of motorcyclists recognising that helmets can save lives and 86 per cent owning helmets, 60 per cent report riding without helmets at times. Data also highlight that up to 80 per cent of motorcycle drivers who were not wearing helmets suffered fatal or severe head injuries on the nation’s roads.

“I’m glad that everyone is realising there’s a perpetual problem and that we have a culture of not wearing a helmet,” shared Mr Atkinson. “Hopefully this [Coalition] can put pressure on people to not just brush it off as something small but rather as something essential; and so riders understand that if you buy your motorcycle, before you even buy gas, you buy your [genuine] helmet”. The membership of the Coalition is being drawn from Government, law enforcement, transport associations, private sector, non-governmental organisations, youth organisations, academia, parish development committees and international organisations. The first meeting of the Coalition was held following the launch ceremony on Thursday.

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