JTA opens its new North East office location

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, July 7, 2021

As Good As New

Friday July 2, 2021 will be remembered as a red letter day in the life of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and moreso to our members and leaders in the North East  Region.

After operating in less than ideal conditions for over 24 years, when the region shared  space with our JTA Coop. Credit Union , we are happy to report that we now own our “branded space” in a new location at Little Bay, Port Maria and yes still sharing in a happy way with the JTA Cooperative Credit Union Ltd.

Since relocating just over one year ago, the  JTA Staff and those employed to the Cooperative Credit union have been housed in a more friendlier and accommodating environment while  serving the over three thousand teachers in the parishes of St. Mary, St. Ann and Portland.

 President of the JTA, Jasford Gabriel, the Secretary General, Byron Farquharson and members of the Administrative team along with members of the Property Committee among others were present to witness  “a dream come true” where the building was finally handed named and officially opened for use by the teachers and other stakeholders in the North east Region.

The building formerly used as a recreation stop was refurbished at a cost of over fifty million dollars and  officially named after former Regional Officer  Vilma Lawes Munroe.

“Its  like a breath of fresh air” in the Little Bay area, just minutes outside of Port Maria, the main township in the Parish said one teacher.

According to Regional Officer, Devon Meek, “When the decision was taken to move to Little Bay, there was much apprehension”. However he added that since relocating all that feeling of anxiety has been replaced with joy and satisfaction and an indication that that office depicts the standard of the JTA.

 Said Meek, “This transition not only provides comfort for staff, members and visitors, but undoubtedly enhances the effective representation given to the over 3000 members in the region.”

Meanwhile, while giving the overview, Assistant Secretary General in charge of Property and Business Services, Doran Dixon says history continues to be created by the JTA with the opening of the Regional Office.

He informed that the opening was a direct follow up to the brainchild of past president Errol Miller who many years ago posited that the JTA had grown sufficiently and should own its offices instead of paying rent.

According to Mr. Dixon, this continues to be the reality as so far all of the four JTA Regional Offices are now fully owned property of the JTA.

“Regional offices are like an oasis for teachers” Said Mr. Dixon who reminded that  teachers anywhere in the region should see the offices more like a rest stop, not just for JTA business but just to relax for a few minutes as its their money that was used to make the place accommodating.

For his part, Brigadier, the Honourable Errol Johnson, Custos of St. Mary recognizing the honour bestowed on the late Lawes Munroe says “she did not pass on, she did not leave, and she will never fade; the strength of leadership she demonstrated, you felt comfortable when she was giving you advise”.

Brigadier Johnson praised the JTA as according to him the honour shows the level to which the JTA respected such a stalwart.

Councillor Richard Creary, the Mayor of Port Maria also attributed praise to the Association for providing the upgraded facility for the teaching membership in the region.

 According to him the opening of the office at Little Bay will go a far way in enhancing the service the teacher’s organization has been known to give over the years.

The opening of the building was supported by the Ministry of Education through its Senior Education Officer, Mrs. Blackwood Grant who reminded the team that “This is a moment to celebrate the legacy of one who has impacted so many”.

The Credit Union was represented by Board Member Mrs Melva Humes Johnson who spoke on behalf of the Credit Union’s President Paul Adams . She recalled her personal relationship with Vilma Lawes Munroe noting that she was a ‘giant of a woman’.

She recalled that Mrs Lawes Munroe assisted her to prepare for the role of principal which has been carrying for so many years.

Mrs Johnson said the late Vilma, believed in partnership and to have her name emblazoned on the building was quite befitting of her work and worth.

She informed that the late Regional Officer was an ‘expert’ at her work as it was not so important as to how one felt about an issue, after listening to the complaint or concern she would tell you like it is as she was a woman of transformation.

She urged everyone to be ‘our best’ as together with the JTA Cooperative Credit Union we impact lives in a positive way.

And JTA President Jasford Gabriel says July 2, 2021 marked a significant milestone in the life and history of the JTA as it showed how visionary and insightful the Association is.

He too showered appreciation to the family of the late Vilma Lawes Munroe for the service they allowed her to give over the years before her death.

Said President Gabriel, “With the opening of this office the JTA will continue to display itself as a formidable and even more indelible and powerful force as we move forward”,

Gratitide was expressed by the son of  the late Vilma Lawes Munroe, Orlando Ducally, who associated his mother as a legend deserving of her name being imprinted on the JTA North East office.

According to him “ this is a nostalgic moment for me” as family members, we remember the hard work and  the long hours she spent representing the teachers in this region and that with her name being placed on the Regional office building will always be remembered as we can associate with an office she once worked in.

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