Sandals Foundation, St Ann cops treat children

OCHO RIOS, St Ann — The sound of children’s laughter filled the St Ann police headquarters car park in St Ann’s Bay last Thursday as more than 200 youngsters from several communities across the parish were feted at a Christmas treat hosted by the local police and Sandals Foundation.

There were lots of gifts, ice cream, cake, an abundance of hugs, as well as dancing and singing contests that had the children proudly showcasing their talent. Their parents had a good time too.

“For the past two years with COVID, it was a challenge because the children never had the chance to go outside and have fun. But I’m so happy that they have the chance to come out and socialise and play, so this is a really good thing,” said appreciative parent Stacey Miller.

“I wouldn’t be able to give them these gifts and special treatment so it really means a lot to me and most of the parents. I’m so excited,” Miller added.

To get the word out about the event, special invitations were sent to schools, a move that Arlene Williams greatly appreciated. She has two children enrolled at Lime Hall Primary and Infant School.

“I love the fact that they sent the invitation to the school because otherwise I wouldn’t know to take my children. It is a joy for them and I’m so happy to see what is happening today. It is very nice for the kids to enjoy themselves,” she said.

To make it even easier for the children to participate, the police provided transportation where needed and possible. Assistant Commissioner of Police Calvin Allen was also on hand for the festivities.

“We want you to be obedient and listen to your parents so that in the future you can have a position like mine,” he encouraged the children.

He also tipped his hat to the event organisers.

“We are thankful for the Sandals team who have dedicated their time and resources to come and share with you. You all are important because there are other places around the world where children don’t have this glorious opportunity to be lauded and socialise and be given a present for Christmas,” he told the children.

Sandals Ochi Beach Resort General Manager Charles Blacher also offered words of advice and encouragement to the children.

“Children, listen to your parents and elders and obey what they tell you to do because that is very important,” he said.

Sandals Resorts International corporate director resort operations in Jamaica Jeremy Jones urged the children to be on their best behaviour at all times.

“Don’t just let Christmas be that time to have a wonderful time of the year. I want you to be kind to everybody at all times. Make it an everyday affair that we are nice, understanding and caring for each other,” he said.

During the two-hour event the children were given an opportunity to vie for prizes. Lime Hall Primary student Brittania McLean won a gift after being victorious in the Christmas sing-off competition.

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