Retiree, Daphne Innerarity, Finds Satisfaction in Volunteerism

Eighty-two year-old Daphne Innerarity does not allow her age to prevent her from accomplishing her objectives. The retired teacher, underwriter and councillor has maintained an active life since her retirement almost two decades ago.

The Kiwanian of 22 years and JN Circle member keeps busy by engaging in voluntary service.

“I find pleasure in volunteering. I like doing work among people because I love people and I like to see people progress,” she shared.

Daphne Innerarity, retired teacher, underwriter and councillor

The former educator particularly loves to engage in activities that uplift young people. Her most recent project was with the JN Circle, Spanish Town chapter where the organisation was involved in securing funding from the JN Foundation to donate two air conditioning units to the Young Men’s Christian Association’s (YMCA) computer laboratory.

The presentation of the units to the YMCA in Spanish Town, St. Catherine was heart-warming she said, as the students can now work in a cool environment, and the information technology equipment will have a longer shelf life. Located on Monk Street, the institution serves a population of 40 boys who are mostly high school drop-outs.

The JN Circle comprises a network of JN members and customers of member companies within the JN Group, who bond together through community building, advocacy and networking.

For her, it is projects like these, which impact the lives of others that encourage her and keep her going. “Knowing that our children are our future, you would want to see them do the best for themselves and to be useful citizens and so I pride myself in doing voluntary work,” she disclosed.

Anna Dallas, principal of the institution, was elated to receive the units and said that it will not only protect the computers in the laboratory but students will also be more comfortable.

“Before, we had to work in the heat, and during the summer months the temperatures are really very high and can be very uncomfortable. The units donated will help to preserve our systems especially those that have outlived their time and will help to keep them a little longer,” she said.

Mrs Innerarity encourages retired persons like herself to get involved and give back, as it is very rewarding.

“One of the ways in which we can show gratitude from what we have received from whatever source, is by offering free service to others because that is the biggest gift that you could give.  I know that there are many persons who would like to say thanks and this might be the avenue for them to say thank you to persons who have helped them along the way,” she said.

The mother of three said volunteerism has also kept her healthy, in addition to an active physical life as a sports enthusiast, athlete (sprinter and netballer) and Physical Education teacher and lecturer. She also taught dancing and was a netball coach.

“I think that having been so active in my earlier life has helped to keep me fit in my latter years and I have kept active through my outreach programmes,” she said.

Mrs Innerarity started her career as a young teacher graduate of the Mico University College where she pursued studies in education and later at the University of the West Indies where she did a Bachelors of Education degree. She took up her first teaching position at the St Hilda’s Diocesan High School in Brown’s Town, St Ann. She later moved to St Jago High School in St Catherine, and then to Shortwood Teachers’ College in St Andrew, where she spent 11 years as a lecturer.

She then went into the Life Insurance Industry where she spent another 11 years as an underwriter. The pleasant and bubbly Mrs Innerarity ventured into politics where she served as councillor for Lauriston division in St Catherine from 1998-2003.

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Start-Up Companies Take Home $3 Million in Prizes at JN Climate Innovation Pitch Competition

Onyka Barrett Scott (left), general manager of the JN Foundation presents a plaque to Yekini Wallen-Bryan (centre), chief executive officer and founder of Preelabs Limited and Kriston Kong, product developer at Preelabs Limited. PreeLabs Limited emerged first place winner from a field of eight contenders.

Three start-up companies, Preelabs Limited, Artel and Integrated Recyclers Limited emerged as the top three winners of the JN Climate Innovation Pitch Competition, which was organised by the Water Project Jamaica, which is administered by the JN Foundation.

Preelabs Limited, a technology innovation and product development company, walked away with the first prize of $2 million. PreeLabs emerged from a field of eight contenders with its innovative technology, which allows homeowners and businesses to better understand their water consumption from anywhere in the world; and to be able to detect leaks and shut off the water when not in use.

“We believe this solution – Water Pree, is increasingly important as Jamaica tries to be more client resilient as projections have shown that we are going to be experiencing more droughts. So it is prudent that we find more ways to manage our water resources more efficiently,” said Yekini Wallen-Bryan, chief executive officer of Preelabs Limited.

He said he will be using the prize money to re-invest into the business, so as to increase its capacity; purchase equipment; and enhance its marketing and branding.

Carlinton Burrell (left), chief executive officer of Caribbean Climate Innovation congratulates Tracy Ann Hyman, chief executive officer of Artel who placed second.

Second place went to Artel, whose niche market is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to find solutions to problems. The solution it pitched was to address flood related issues. The company was awarded $800,000 in prizes.

“The Caribbean region is one of the riskiest place to live; and floods from hurricane are common, with more than 5,000 deaths and US$800 million in damages since 1983,” said Tracy Ann Hyman, chief executive officer of Artel. “Hence, against that background, at Artel, we came up with a flood planning and impact tool, which will reduce the damages from flooding and save more lives.”

The company has developed a green Information and Communications Technology flood planning and impact tool, which will assist in determining the number of potential causalities; damage to buildings, roads and infrastructure; as well as, the shortfall which exists, in terms of resources, if a disaster strikes.

Nadine Brown (left), director, sustainable development at the Planning Institute of Jamaica presents Daveian Morrison, chief executive officer of Integrated Recyclers Limited with a plaque and third place prize of J$575,000.

Third place winner, Integrated Recyclers Limited pitched the recycling of Sargassum seaweed into animal feed.

“Since 2013, Sargassum has been washing up on our shores from the Caribbean sea, affecting some 19 countries; and costing more than US$6 billion worth of earnings. There is also the problem to remove it, at a cost of approximately US$120 million. We figured, why not use this as a resource to produce animal feed?” said Daveian Morrison, chief executive officer of Integrated Recyclers Limited, during the pitch competition.

 Mr Morrison also informed that Jamaica imported more than US$15 million in goat meat each year. Therefore, he is proposing that Jamaica could use the opportunity to improve its herd size, and reduce its import bill.

He said that his company’s business model is to produce the feed, package it as an organic option; and market it to goat farmers, corporations and farming associations.

Morrison won the third prize, valued at J$575,000. He stated that his

company, which operates in Old Harbour, St. Catherine, carried out

research on Sargassum that was validated by The University of the West


“Since 2019, we have been on the ground doing our research. I have been a member of the farming association for three years, tuning into the issues, testing them, make it available to farmers and validating it,” he informed.

“We are now delighted to know that JN has come forward to give us new hope through this pitch competition, so that we can take this from 30 per cent where we are at to go further,” he said.

Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation said that she was heartened by the quality of innovative ideas which were presented by the contenders in the JN Climate Innovation Pitch Competition.

“This demonstrates how creative we are. The participants not only identified the problems resulting from climate change; but they have come up with real solutions to address the problems,” she pointed out.

She also commended all eight participants; encouraged them to press on, and continue to innovate to emerge with solutions to assist Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean to adapt to climate change.

Cornelia Walters-Jones, project manager of the Water Project Jamaica, said the competition received some 40 applications for the Pitch Competition, and eight companies were short listed.

All three winners will be hosted for six months to a year, in an incubator or accelerator programmes at the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center in St Andrew.

The objectives of the Water Project Jamaica are to: facilitate the uptake of water adaptation measures in the housing sector throughout Jamaica; and increase climate resilient housing in the country, through greater awareness about the business and financial cases involved in developing and building homes, with water efficient measures.

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Twins Awarded Five Year Scholarships

Jay-Myer and Jemila Auld

Twelve-year-old twins, Jay-Myer and Jemila Auld, can be considered the proverbial “peas in a pod.’” Being the best of friends, means that there is endless friendly banter between them; however, when it comes to school work, they can be fiercely competitive.

Since basic school, Jay-Myer and Jemila have always shared every class. At the Southborough Primary School in St. Catherine, where they attended, Jemila topped all of her classes. Despite her consistent high performance, Jay-Myer always remained hopeful that he would outperform his sister; but he has never quite succeeded.

“The top students in the class are the girls. The girls perform better than the boys,” explained Jemila, adding that her brother is usually among the top five boys in their class.

Having sat the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) this year, Jay-Myer was intentional in choosing a different high school from his sister, to prove to himself that he is capable of topping his class.

“I want to see if I can do better [academically].  I am tired of competing with her, because I know I am going to lose.  Every time I reach the point where I can beat her, she rises,” he related.

Jay-Myer and Jemila received many trophies for academic performance while at Southborough Primary School

Jay-Myer and Jemila achieved placement scores of 343.3 and 349.2 respectively, in the PEP.  Jemila’s almost perfect score earned her a five-year government scholarship to attend Campion College.  Not to be outdone, Jay-Myer was also awarded a five-year scholarship from the JN

Foundation; and emerged the JN Foundation Scholar for the parish of St Catherine.

“The scholarship means a lot to me.  It makes me feel good that I am on top for once,” pointed out Jay-Myer, who will be heading to Wolmer’s Boys’ School.

Jemila thinks the world of her brother, whom she describes as being reserved, sarcastic, and has a dry sense of humour. Jay-Myer cherishes the sentiments of having a twin sister, with whom he can always relate.

As they prepared for high school, they are uncertain about how they will deal with their separation.  Like her brother, Jemila is looking forward to attending a different school, although she has some reservations that she may end up feeling lonely not having him around.

“We normally have each other for support; and we give a comforting presence to each other,” she said.

Their mother, Sanya Anderson, a hairstylist from Portmore, St Catherine, is proud of the accomplishments of her children.  She disclosed that in grade one, they emerged the top boy and top girl.

“I was overjoyed. I was excited, because I always pray about it [the scholarships].  I know they have the ability; therefore, I always push them to do their best, because it is already in them. I always examine their work no matter what time I get home.”

Equally overjoyed about the children’s successes was their father, Benvil Auld, a computer technician, also of Portmore.

“I’m grateful for the scholarships for our children,” he said, adding that he and the children’s mother always put the children’s interests first.

“Jemila is always a bright spark and Jay-Myer was a little behind,” Mr Auld related, “however, he gradually worked his way up last year; and now the gap between them is very narrow.”

The twins credit their parents for being “the wind beneath their wings.”

“My mother is always says inspiring things to encourage me,” Jay-Myer informed. “She is very hardworking and always get things done. I want to be like her.”

Jemila, on the other hand, admires that her father, who lives in a different home, will spend up to two hours at a time on the phone, talking with her about school.

As it relates to their career paths, Jay-Myer wants to become a computer technician, like his father. Jemila, however, has yet to decide what career goal she will pursue.

“It always changes, because I am always discovering a new profession,” she explained.

A total of 35 PEP scholarships were awarded by the JN Foundation this year. Since the inception of the JN Scholarship Programme in 1983, hundreds of students at the secondary level have benefitted.

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JN Foundation Scholarships Open to PEP Students

Jeffrey ‘Agent Sasco’ Campbell addresses JN Scholars at the JN Scholarship Awards Reception held at the JN Bank Half-Way-Tree branch last September.

The JN Foundation is offering 17 five-year scholarships to students who have achieved a minimum placement score of 320 in the 2020 Primary Exit Profile (PEP), to enter high school in September.

Fourteen of the scholarships are allotted to parishes, while three are to the counties.  The student with the highest placement score among the applicants from his or her respective parish will be awarded a scholarship.  Concurrently, the top performing applicant in each county, who is a participant in the JN School Savers’ programme, will also receive a scholarship.  These awards are in addition to the 20, which are allocated to children of employees of The Jamaica National Group.

Parents of eligible students are invited to apply for the scholarship by July 20.  Application forms can be accessed from the JN Foundation website at

“This scholarship programme has been ongoing for the past 37 years. We are therefore pleased that in this difficult time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, that we are able to continue this tradition,” disclosed Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager at the JN Foundation.

“We are committed to the education of young Jamaicans. We see these awards as not only an investment in our youth; but, also an investment in the development of our country, as youngsters who are supported in their educational pursuits often move on to make sterling contributions to our country,” Barrett Scott added.

In previous years, the Ministry of Education assisted in identifying the students for the JN scholarships; however, this year and going forward, parents will be requested to apply directly to the JN Foundation for the scholarship. 

Barrett Scott pointed out that, as part of the eligibility for the scholarship, the child or parent is required to be a member, customer, or client of JN Bank, JN Fund Managers, JN General Insurance Company, JN Life Insurance, JN Money Services, JN Small Business Loans or the Jamaica Automobile Association for at least a year. Only biological parents or legal guardians can apply on behalf of a student, if the child is without an active JN Bank account.

Concurrently, more than one hundred JN Foundation scholars, who are at various stages in their five-year scholarship award, will have their scholarship renewed for the new school year. The renewal will be based on their achievement of at least a 70 per cent average at the end of the Easter term. The parents and guardians of the existing scholars should submit their school report to the JN Foundation in the customary manner.

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Surviving a Lay-off during COVID-19

One of the first things persons who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic will need to do is take account of their finances.

“It’s never easy coping with a job loss. In fact, it is regarded as one of lives most traumatic experiences, but the reality is that you can get through it once you can quickly device a survival plan,” says Rose Miller, financial literacy expert who leads the JN Foundation’s BeWi$e financial empowerment programme.

Addressing the JN Bank Redesigning Your 2020 Goals online series recently, she gave this advice on what you should you do if you are laid off without a plan:

  1. Determine How You Are Spending Your Money: When times are good, most people do not think about how they spend money.

“We know how much the mortgage or rent, and monthly car payments are, but we don’t pay attention to daily spending. How much is spent on groceries? What about utilities and insurance? What about fast food?” she asked.

The JN Foundation grants manager said persons must strive to be more aware about how they spend their money, as this will force them to spend it more carefully.

  1. See Where You Can Cut Back: “If you’re facing a layoff, you need to come up with a plan for cutting expenses. Develop a budget that eliminates most unnecessary expenses. The goal is to cut back on those expenses substantially,” Mrs Miller advised. She said persons should focus on the essentials, mortgage or rent, food, utilities, and their medical needs. All other expenses, including entertainment, fast food and clothes, can be eliminated or significantly slashed.
  1. Consolidate your Loans: “If you are already in debt, particularly credit card debt, you may want to consolidate your loans into a single monthly payment with a lower interest rate. If you own a home, consider a low-interest home equity loan,” Mrs Miller said.
  2. Take Advantage of Any Payment or Relief Programmes: Keep your ears to the ground, so that you do not miss out on any opportunity for assistance from the government, the church or corporate Jamaica,” Mrs Miller recommended.

Many organisations, including financial institutions, have announced measures through which they will be providing relief or assistance to persons experiencing financial difficulties, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has also announced relief packages for affected groups and some church organisations have been collecting donations, to assist the most vulnerable.

Mrs Miller said persons in dire need of financial assistance should not be afraid to take advantage of any of these opportunities.

  1. Use Your Skills or Talents to Make Money: You will be able to stretch your savings if you have additional income. Consider using your talents to make some money. While it would be best if you could find temporary or part-time work in your field, your hobbies and other interests may offer possibilities for income.

Mrs Miller advised that persons who can sew can take advantage of the increased need for face masks. “Other ways you can take advantage of the opportunities created by the pandemic is to offer a delivery service. If you have a reliable motor car, put it to use by offering to make food and other type of deliveries at a reasonable cost. You can also consider selling ground provisions from the truck of your motor vehicle,” she advised.

She said, for example, that persons with skills in English, mathematics or other subjects can offer online tutoring to students currently out of school.

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JN Foundation Launches COVID-19 Jamaica Photography Competition

The JN Foundation is inviting members of the public to submit entries to its JN Resolution Project COVID-19 Jamaica Photography Competition.
The competition provides an opportunity for Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora to tell their own Coronavirus-related stories through the lens of their camera.
Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, announced that the competition will not only serve as a conduit for the expression of one’s artistic talents; but is another way to contribute to the preservation of collective memory of this moment in our history, for the benefit of future Jamaicans, at home and in the Diaspora.
“At a time when families and friends are living through an uncertain and historic period, during which some families are separated, the Resolution Project offers an opportunity for hope, inspiration and memory preservation, which will benefit future generations,” Mrs Barrett Scott said.
The JN Foundation general manager stated that persons are invited to submit photos under the following themes: masked; health and fashion; changing traditions; “tan a yuh yaad”; essential workers; as well as, the hustle; and acts of kindness.
To enter the competition, persons must be 18 years or older; complete registration form and sign the Waiver of Liability, which can be found on the JN Foundation’s website at:
Submissions should be made by July 31, 2020. The winning photos will be awarded J$100,000 for first place; J$70,000 for second place and J$50,000 for third place.
The JN Resolution Project, formerly called “Youth Zoom, is an initiative of the Hon. Earl Jarrett, chief executive officer of The Jamaica National Group. The project offers a creative avenue through which young people can express and give voice to their concerns.
The fundamental goal was that students learned how to use photography to advocate for positive change, in their respective communities. 
In past times, an enlarged project scope opened the door for the photography project to be offered to disenfranchised young persons, who were not part of the formal school structure. Starting in 2010, the Photo Project was used to empower ‘at risk youth’ through the Tivoli Resolution Project, following the infamous incursion, in that community. Subsequently, the Granville Resolution Project and the Savanna-la-Mar Resolution Project, emerged.
An increasing number of schools participated in The Resolution Project and students entered the competition, with highly impressive submissions, from which several exhibitions were mounted.
Additionally, a month-long retrospective in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary displayed photographs from the project at the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre in London, United Kingdom.

Contact:  Dionne Rose l JN Corporate Communications

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JN Group donates $1 million to assist elderly

THE work of the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC) — the umbrella organisation which provides support to senior citizens — was enhanced by a contribution of $1 million, thanks to Jamaica National Group.

The donation was made through the company’s recently announced Member Welfare Fund, which is to support Jamaicans in their response to the effects of COVID-19.

Cassandra Morrison, executive director of the NCSC who was a guest on the JN Circle Catch Up virtual series on May 14, said that the funds will be used to provide care packages to its members.

“We will be able to provide approximately 300 persons with food and hygiene packages. Therefore, this donation will go a long way to make life a little easier for some of our senior citizens,” she related.

Claudine Allen, member ombudsman of Jamaica National Group and team lead for the JN Circle, said Jamaica National Group was happy to make a donation to the council.

“Our senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable groups being directly affected by COVID-19. Hence, the group decided that it was fitting to make this donation to the organisation to assist its members,” Allen said.

Morrison stated that NCSC members, who are 65 years and older, are challenged based on being confined at home – which has become a new normal for them since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis locally.

She noted that, for the most part, individuals have been complying with the stay-at-home order. However, not all seniors understand the gravity of the virus.

“Some seniors are yet to fully comprehend why some of the restrictions are necessary, and why they themselves are at risk. Many seniors, particularly those in rural areas, are very independent. The threat and risk of COVID-19 is not something you can see, because it is not so tangible. And, fortunately, we are not seeing images of persons collapsing in the streets, such as what happens overseas. Consequently, it is yet to come home for some seniors,” she explained.

The executive director stated that the NCSC continues to work with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to craft messages that seniors can understand, and they work with the volunteers, on the ground, to pass on these relevant messages.

She also pointed out that the National Health Fund has been in communities providing support in filling prescriptions for seniors, and that corporate entities such as supermarkets have been delivering food items. Additionally, the council also works with volunteers who make telephone calls to seniors to check up on them.

“One of the main things that we would like Jamaicans to do is to protect the elderly and urge them to comply with the rules laid out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness [for them] to stay at home. We don’t want to look back post-COVID-19 and discover that we lost a generation of elderly citizens because we were careless,” she said.

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Green Acres Nazarene Early Childhood School Assisted by JN Bank

When students at the Green Acres Nazarene Early Childhood Institution resume school after COVID-19, they will return to classrooms which are leak-free, courtesy of JN Bank.
“It has been more than one year since we have been trying to fix the roof; however, when it rains the roof continued to leak; and we had to move the children around to keep them dry,” explained Kalor Witter, principal of the St Catherine based institution.

She stated that JN Bank, through its Member Advisory Council, was approached for assistance and the financial institution responded favourable to the request.

“We, therefore, thank JN Bank for the work they have done. It is really appreciated; and we look forward to continue working with them,” she said.

Mrs Witter stated that the work, which included repairs to the roof, will provide a safer and more comfortable environment for learning; and for the preparation of meals, especially during bad weather. Signs were also installed at the institution. This, she noted, will aid in visibility and promotion of institution, to generate increased enrolment.

The 27-year-old school, with a student population of 73, serves the communities of Dover, Johnson Pen, Red Pond, Mercury Gardens, Old Road and Kitson Town in the parish of St Catherine.

A Christian institution, which caters to the holistic development of children ages three to six years, Mrs Witter said the school has been doing well; and has produced some excellent students.

Michelle Hinds, business relationship and sales manager, at the JN Bank’s Spanish Town branch, stated that she was happy that JN Bank was able to assist the educational institution.

“We are delighted to provide assistance for the school by repairing the roof. It is our hope that the students will be more comfortable in an environment which is conducive to learning even when rain falls.”

Miss Hinds pointed out that, “The JN MAC believed that this was a worthy cause; and, therefore, we decided to assist. The school is an asset to the communities it serves; and, it is our hope that the institution will continue to provide service in many years to come.”

Future community projects led by JN MAC will now be executed by the recently established JN Circle, a network of service clubs, which have been established to undertake activities that were previously pursued by JN MAC.

Contact:  Dionne Rose l JN Corporate Communications

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Green Acres Early Childhood

Kalor Witter (right), principal of the Green Acres Nazarene Early Childhood School gives a tour of the school as completed work on the roof  was examined. Participating in the tour were (from left) Ariel Sinclair, acting business relationship sales manager, JN Bank; Chevanese Peters,project coordinator at the JN Foundation and Pastor Phillip Johnson, JN member

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JN Bolsters Nurses’ Fight Against COVID-19

The Jamaica National Group has contributed some $1.5 million to the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), to assist the country’s nurses in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.
The donation was made through the company’s recently announced Welfare Fund to support Jamaicans in their response to the effects of the disease.
Speaking on Thursday, May 7 during the JN Circle Catch Up virtual series broadcast via The Jamaica National Group’s Facebook page, president of the NAJ, Carmen Johnson noted that funds will be used to further protect nurses from exposure to the infectious disease.
“Our greatest concern is that we do not want our members to be overly exposed to COVID-19,” she pointed out. “Therefore, what we have agreed to do with that money is to source cloth masks for all our nurses; and we want to ensure that they have pockets so that they can change the filter,” she related, commending the JN Group for the contribution.
The NAJ president pointed out that discrimination from the public and within healthcare facilities continues to be a challenge for its members, although there has been some improvement in attitudes.   
“The greatest challenge that we have presently is two-fold. One, is the fact that we still have some level of discrimination, both in and out of the care facilities and the reason we are getting is because of the fear factor. Persons fear catching COVID-19 and one of the things is that they see our nurses as the transmission mode of the disease,” she related.
She noted that the attitudes of taxi men towards nurses have improved and nurses are no longer being shunned by operators, but she said the curfew poses a challenge to those who need to access transportation, especially in rural areas.
Beyond those challenges, however, Mrs Johnson said members of the public need to play their part to keep the number of COVID-19 cases down. She pointed out that many persons seem not to be taking the pandemic seriously because of the low number of deaths.
“We can’t wait until our numbers start to surge and our deaths increase, as we see happening elsewhere on our television, or hear on our radios. Therefore, everyone needs to really start playing their part, practice proper hand washing hygiene; but most of all, stay home if you don’t have to come out,” she urged.
The ‘JN Circle Catch UP’, will continue to focus on coping during the pandemic, next week. The series is broadcasted weekly, via Facebook Live, on The Jamaica National Group’s Facebook page at 6:00 p.m.


Contact:  Dionne Rose l JN Corporate Communications

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