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Cuba in Transition

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May 2019

'Bolt's health centre' reopens ... Track star renovates facility in Sherwood Content

(From left) Winsome Wilkins of United Way, Elsa Sommerville (partially hidden), chief public health inspector; Luretta Rankine, community health aid, and Vinnel Menzies of Clarks Town PC Bank look on as Usain Bolt (right) unveils the plague at the official reopening of the Sherwood Content Health Centre last Saturday.

SHERWOOD CONTENT, Trelawny — A health centre in this rustic community is now operational after undergoing a major renovation costing nearly $4 million, undertaken by Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man. Bolt, the most famous native of the community, used all the proceeds from his 9.58 party held in St Ann last year to help pay for the repairs of the clinic. It has been closed since May as a result of its dilapidated state. The triple Olympic and World gold medallist partnered with the Trelawny Health Department, the People Co-operative Bank, Sagicor, Digicel, Capital Credit Security, United Way and Sherwin-Williams.

The sprinting sensation, who holds world records over 100 and 200 metres, attended the reopening of the facility last Saturday and expressed his pleasure at the opportunity to give back to his community.

"To give back to the community is always an honour... I remember back in the days I was a troublemaker so I got a lot of cuts — and some pretty bad ones. I remembered Miss Pansy, she used to work here and live across the road, she used to dress most of my cuts," Bolt remarked.

"It was an honour for me to collaborate with the other sponsors to repair the (health centre). It is my way of showing my community that I still care, still love them and I will continue to do as much as possible. So I will continue working hard trying to big up Sherwood (Content) as much as possible," he added.

The health facility was the final of four stops Bolt made in the parish last Saturday. The first was at Florence Hall, where he endorsed the Gore Homes, a housing development just across from the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium and was formally presented with one of the two-bedroom units.

The next stop for Bolt and his team was Martha Brae at the William Knibb Memorial High, his alma mater. Chairman of Gore Homes, Phillip Gore — who accompanied Bolt on the tour — pledged to cover two-thirds of the $1.5 million for upgrading the school canteen.

The penultimate stop was at the Piedmont Basic School, the first school the track star attended. The school, which was without electricity, was recently wired at the expense of Bolt.

Bolt pledged to replace all the computers stolen in June from the $2-million resource room donated by Digicel Foundation to the adjacent Waldensia Primary School.

According to Bolt's manager Norman Peart, come next month, all the athlete's projects will be handled by the Bolt Foundation which is scheduled to come on stream by then.

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