KINGSTON, Jamaica – Rachel Clarke used her new passport to carry out a transaction at the bank during May.
Unremarkable, you might think, unless you are a young Jamaican with no form of identification. Ms Clarke, head girl at the Convent of Mercy (Alpha) Academy, was one of 18 students who received passports on May 13, through a special Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurs (JACE) programme, funded by JN Fund Managers Limited.
“You can lose opportunities if you lack proper identity papers,” Ms. Clarke stated. “This passport has made a big difference for me.”
In addition to Alpha Academy, the 18 students who received passports attend Charlemont High, Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf, Ardenne High and Wolmers’ Boys School.
Yanique Taylor, director of programmes, Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ), said a total of 38 students from across the island have received passports through the programme for this year.
“We are training young people in entrepreneurship, through the JACE programme and some form of national identification is needed to start a business,” Ms. Taylor stated. “We noted that identification was a challenge for many students; and, as a result, JN Fund Managers offered to fund the acquisition of passports.”
The JAJ demonstrates how young people can generate wealth and effectively manage it; as well as, how to create jobs and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace, through JACE and other programmes.
A total of 100 passports for some of the participants across the island in the JACE programme, have been funded by JNFM for this year, Ms. Taylor pointed out. The option has been in place for the past three years.
“A passport is one of the most valuable documents to have,” Jermaine Deans, deputy general manager of JNFM declared. “While its primary use is for travel across international borders, which is vital for someone starting a business in our externally dependent economy, it is also valuable to prove who you are in carrying out financial transactions.”
Mr. Deans added that, “Too often in Jamaica you have persons maturing without having personal identification, which limits their capacity to participate in the formal economy. We saw where we could make a difference and did so.”
Faith Graham, customer service supervisor, Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency, said “We issue travel documents which secure the identity of the individual to whom they are issued. That is of vital importance, therefore, we are happy to be a part of this initiative which focuses on this requirement for young Jamaicans.”
Rachel Clarke concluded that, “I plan to go overseas this summer and that would not be possible without a passport. Thank you Junior Achievement Jamaica, and thank you JNFM for the help.”