Fund for children of Jamaica accident victims

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 29, 2008 – An initiative has been launched to assist the nearly 50 children who lost parents in the accident earlier this month which was described as one of the worst vehicular accidents in Jamaica’s recent history.

Fourteen people were killed when a truck taking vendors to market on December 19th overturned and went over a precipice in Rio Grande Valley, Portland.

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), recently donated J$500,000 (US$6,250) to start the fund for those children who lost at least one parent in the accident, and the Ministry of Agriculture has undertaken to contribute the same amount.

Announcing the initiative, ‘A Helping Hand’, Minister of State for Project Implementation and Service Delivery in the OPM, Daryl Vaz, said Prime Minister Bruce Golding was very concerned about the welfare of the children.

“This is a further step by the government to ensure that the long term needs of the children are me. As such, the Administrator General’s Department is in place to guide the actions necessary to ensure that the funds collected are managed for the best interest of each child, until they achieve adulthood,” he said.

Mr Vaz has also ordered a social enquiry report, which will assess the housing, health and education situation of each of the children. That document is expected to be completed in early January.

The minister said that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also been asked to get involved and will assess the report, in order to determine what assistance can be offered.