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Bartlett to raise US$1.5m for Early Childhood Centre for Innovation

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2023 | 12:33 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Bartlett addresses guests at the East Central St James’ 25th anniversary celebration fundraising dinner.
Bartlett addresses guests at the East Central St James’ 25th anniversary celebration fundraising dinner.

WESTERN BUREAU:

TOURISM MINISTER Edmund Bartlett is looking to raise US$1.5 million dollars to establish a world-class Early Childhood Centre for Innovation in his constituency.“The focus ... is going to be on the children of the communities around this corridor, primarily this tourism corridor. And it will be for children of very challenged economic means,” said Bartlett.

“Children from Barrett Town to Lilliput, Flankers, Norwood and other areas around us will be accommodated,” he continued, while speaking at a fundraising dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of his East Central St James Education Fund, and his 20th year as the member of parliament for the constituency of St James East Central.

The function was held at the Half Moon Conference Centre late Saturday evening. He said the fundraiser was the start of a plan to transform the education sector, and an effort to raise the US$1.5 million dollars required to create this first-ever early-childhood innovation centre which will be state-of-the-art.

The facility, which will be built on one acre of land in the community of Barrett Town, will cater to children from two to five years old.

Approximately 100 children will be engaged by early-childhood specialists in developing their academic and social strengths, with access to an eco-friendly and child-safe playground.

The centre will include a place for the performing arts. The Gleaner has been informed that the proposed procurement timeline for construction will be in February, to be followed by a groundbreaking ceremony in March.

Recruitment of staff will be carried out between April and July, in time for the official opening of the facility for the new school year in September. Follow-up and continued consultations with the Ministry of Education, staff meetings, and training are scheduled for July.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com