Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Friday | July 17, 2009
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Children of Rio Grande tragedy to get aid

Guardians and parents of the 41 Portland children left behind after the Rio Grande truck tragedy of December 2008 have received commitment letters for the funding of their education.

During the handover ceremony in Port Antonio yesterday morning, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Daryl Vaz, thanked businesses and members of the public who contributed just over $5 million to a bank account after he issued a call for help immediately after the incident.

The 14 family heads will be compensated for expenses incurred specifically for the development and educational needs of each child, including school materials, transportation, lunch and some medical expenses such as reading glasses. It is expected that the first payments will cover back-to-school expenses for September.

The money is being held in an account at the OPM and managed by a multi-agency steering committee established by Vaz. The Portland Parish Council will manage the reimbursements and visit the families to ensure that the funds are being properly used.

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