New Fortress Energy held its third and final Back-to-School Fair for the year in Montego Bay last week, where it first started Jamaica’s transition to natural gas, as over 300 students benefitted.

Held in partnership with the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) at Pier One, the students turned out from 10 Infant and Primary schools across the second city to be awarded and celebrated for their hard work. The schools were Albion Primary, Chetwood Memorial Primary, Farm Primary, Granville Primary, Irwin Primary, Lottery Primary, Montego Bay Infant, Mount Salem Primary, Salt Spring Primary, and Sunderland Primary.

Regional Director of the Ministry of Education Dr Michelle Pinnock urged parents not to look at the gesture as a handout, but rather as testament that with hard work comes great reward. “Boys and girls, you are all here today because you’ve done well and we are so very proud of you. Keep being a beacon because we’re looking to you to secure a bright future for Jamaica. It’s also very encouraging to see so many parents today, and so I want to use this opportunity to commend you for the great job you’re doing. Keep supporting your children and pushing them beyond their comfort zones because that’s how they’re going to be successful in life.”

President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry Winston Lawson, in his remarks, expressed delight with the effort: “We are indeed happy to be providing well-needed resources to worthy children. MBCCI will always support, collaborate and lead on initiatives such as this, so when New Fortress Energy approached us to collaborate, it was a no-brainer for us.”

In addition to being awarded with vouchers of $6,000 and $8,000 to be used at Maxie Department Store and Henderson’s Bookstore, respectively, the students also received backpacks, haircuts and medical screenings, while enjoying the many treats prepared for them including a magic show, rock climbing, merry-go-round and bounce-a bout, among others.

Parent Debbie Mair, whose son attends Chetwood Memorial Primary and has an 88 per cent average, said: “In addition to my son Joshua, I also have a daughter in university, and it’s a bit hard to find the funds to ensure they both have everything they need for school. But now with this voucher plus the money that I won’t need to spend for backpack and medical, I can now reallocate those funds to getting more books for my daughter. So I really want to thank New Fortress Energy for this initiative that’s helping me and many other parents.”

Vice-President, Public Affairs for New Fortress Energy Verona Carter said: “We are thrilled to be here today celebrating with these bright, young minds who leave their communities and homes every day to work hard in school and earn excellent grades. For us at NFE, people come first; and this is guided by the vision of our chairman and founder, Wes Edens, who is committed to Jamaica’s economic development and to impacting the communities in which we operate through the development of a specialised next generation workforce, education and entrepreneurship. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ So keep up the fantastic work and remember that with a good education, the future is bright and it’s yours.”

Carter added, “I’d also like to thank the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce & Industry, principals, teachers, guidance counsellors and community leaders for working assiduously with NFE over the past few months to make these Back-to-School fairs; from the refinery and Jamalco communities in Clarendon to Old Harbour Bay, and now here in Montego Bay — such a resounding success. We couldn’t do it without you, but most importantly, thank you for showing up big time for Jamaica’s future leaders, the over 1,600 students who have benefitted from these Fairs.”

New Fortress Energy, a global leader in energy solutions, first started Jamaica’s transition to natural gas with its state-of-the-art liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Montego Bay that converted the JPS 120-megawatt Bogue power plant from diesel to natural gas and provides LNG to local partners such as Red Stripe, The University of the West Indies, Mona and IGL.

New Fortress Energy is also developing the 94-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant at Jamalco in Halse Hall, Clarendon and an offshore LNG terminal to provide natural gas to JPS new 190-megawatt power plant in Old Harbour Bay.