BEST Community Competition

BEST Community Competition

November 30th 2006

Digicel Foundation Finances BEST Community Competition
Kingston, Jamaica – December 1, 2006

The non-profit organization, Digicel Foundation has committed $10 Million per annum, towards the staging of the BEST Community Competition, which will be open to participation from over 780 communities islandwide.

Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation made the announcement last evening at the Launch of the BEST Community Competition at Jamaica House. He explains that the financing from Digicel Foundation will make prizes, prize money and training available to community groups.

"Those funds will go towards the provision of trophies and prize-money, with $2Million for the winning community at the national level," said General Neish. "Digicel Foundation will also be presenting a trophy for the Best Educational Institution."

He outlines the nature of the Foundation’s involvement in other aspects of the project, "At Digicel Foundation, we are committed to building sustainable communities through the utilization of resources in the development of cultural, educational and social opportunities. In this vein, we will be assisting with social transformation in communities by offering technical expertise and resources in the area of educational and cultural development, to communities participating in the competition."

Digicel Foundation is not only a sponsor and facilitator for the Competition, but a member of the Steering Committee which has been involved in the planning and implementation of the programme. This non-profit group says it decided to support the programme, because it was impressed with the vision that the Steering Committee presented. "We endorse this vision for Jamaica of orderly, attractive communities providing nurturing environments for the young, serene surroundings for the elderly, and a familial spirit where we recapture traditional Jamaican sisterhood and brotherhood," commented General Neish.

He applauded the efforts of the Steering Committee for the BEST Community Competition, in ensuring that no matter what the socio-economic conditions of each neighbourhood, they can receive assistance in improving themselves and in becoming model communities. General Neish told participants in last evening’s Launch Ceremony, that the Foundation deems it commendable for the competition to not just invite participation from communities, but will empower them with a network of volunteers and organizations to help the communities achieve their objectives.

This thrust, the Digicel Foundation feels, augurs well for the island’s socio-economic development. "If the BEST Community Competition gets the response it should receive, we will all be showing the true face of Jamaica. That is, a clean, hospitable face and one that will reflect positively on our attitude, our self-esteem and our country," the Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation declared.

Also addressing yesterday’s function, Governor General Professor Kenneth Hall expressed confidence that the BEST Community Competition "can re-energise our efforts to build a better Jamaica." The Governor General appealed to non-governmental organizations, the private sector and communities in general to support the initiative and redesign communities to meet the demands of the people.

Donald Buchanan, Minister of Information and Development, delivered the message on behalf of Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller at the launch exercise. The Prime Minister endorsed the competition and called for widespread support:

"One of the objectives of the Competition is to encourage those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been trained and educated to assist communities by providing training opportunities as well as, technical and professional guidance to them for the activities they wish to undertake," the Prime Minister’s message noted. "I appeal to those of you to whom much has been given, to give back to your country."

She stressed the importance of the involvement of communities in ensuring that the values and attitudes in our society are restored and maintained at high standards.

Application forms for entry into the BEST (Better Environments for Social Transformation) Community Competition is available at the offices of the Social Development Commission and entries close on February 16, 2007. Communities will be judged on seven areas including: built environment, natural environment, education, heritage and culture. Prizes will be offered in sectional, parish and national categories.

About Digicel Foundation

Digicel Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Digicel in 2004 that distributes and utilizes funds on a charitable basis, for the sole purpose of building communities and the community spirit in Jamaica.

Among projects implemented by the Foundation are:

  • The establishment of a state-of-the-art Resource Centre at Jessie Ripoll Primary
  • $9Million expansion and refurbishing of STETHS sports complex
  • The J$5 million refurbishing and equipping of the Meteorological Services.
  • The establishment of a Chair in Telecommunications Policy and Management at the UWI
  • Rebuilding of the Lakes Pen Basic School in a record time of six weeks