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Mayor Wants More Persons to Be Enrolled at the Tertiary Level

Photo: Okoye Henry
Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon (centre) interacts with Founder and chairman of Jill Stewart MoBay City Run, Janet Silvera (left) and Executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International ,Adam Stewart, during the launch of the Jill Stewart MoBay City Run at Holiday Inn Resort in Rose Hall, St. James on Wednesday (March 13)


JIS By: March 18, 2024


Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon, says there continues to be a critical need for further educational development, particularly at the tertiary level, to drive economic activities.

Speaking at the launch of the Jill Stewart MoBay City Run, at the Holiday Inn in Rose Hall, St. James, on March 13, Mr. Vernon pointed out that Jamaica’s tertiary education enrolment rate stands at 25 per cent, significantly lower than North America’s 60 per cent and Latin America’s 52 per cent.

As such, he said Jamaica requires a well-educated workforce to fill various roles in the economy and contribute to the country’s overall productivity.

“The need to retain and significantly expand this cohort of our population is tantamount to the need to build resilience, reduce debt to GDP or even improve capital flow, which will effectively help us to create a sustainable future,” Mr. Vernon outlined.

“Within this context, I trust you all realise that education is much more than individual accolades. Education is a necessary tool to safeguard our shared sustainable future. Therefore, all policies to improve access to tertiary education are welcome,” he added.

Mayor Vernon commended the Government’s recent initiatives to improve access to tertiary education, including the removal of fees associated with the HEART/NSTA Trust and the elimination of guarantors from student loans.

He lauded these policies as pioneering moves that will enhance the quality of Jamaica’s labour market and facilitate the country’s transition to a production-based economy.

“In the meantime, households must continue to play their part in ensuring that our children get out and go to school. Businesses must also come on board and help in equipping our students with education,” Mr. Vernon explained.

The MoBay City Run was renamed the Jill Stewart MoBay City Run in honour of the late Jill Stewart, wife of Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart.

The 10-year-old event, a 5k and 10k Walk & Run, is scheduled for May 5 at the Old Hospital Park on Jimmy Cliff  Boulevard in Montego Bay, St. James.

The Run is known for its role in bridging gaps and connecting students who would have otherwise been unable to afford tertiary education.

Throughout the years, the event has helped more than 3,500 students from St. James, Hanover and Trelawny, providing them with access to education and opportunities for the future.

Founder and Chairman of the Jill Stewart MoBay City Run, Janet Silvera, reflected on the event’s impact over the past 10 years, noting that it has raised some $26.5 million for education in Western Jamaica.

“Yet, amidst the remarkable journey, there was one individual who, when I met her first, I met one of the most beautiful persons in the world [and that’s Jill Stewart]. She was a beloved participant of our race and a fervent supporter of our cause. Her love for running was matched only by her genuine desire to uplift others. In her memory and as a testament to her indomitable spirit, we’ve made a decision to rename the Run in her honour,” Ms. Silvera said.

Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, Adam Stewart, expressed gratitude for the renaming of the Run in his late wife’s honour, calling it “the most humbling of anything I’ve endured”.

Mr. Stewart pledged continued support for the Run and highlighted that their daughter, through an initiative, aims to donate more than 100 pairs of running shoes to the event in Jill’s memory.

This year’s Jill Stewart MoBay City Run is aiming to raise more than $7 million.