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Young awardee apologises for Facebook comments

Young awardee apologises for Facebook comments

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Kamara Jerome’s future in the other legs of the Caribbean Innovators Challenge (CIC) hangs in the balance.{{more}}

Meanwhile, the young man is trying to make amends for comments that were posted on a social media network about the contribution made to his project by the Government and about the Centre for Enterprise Development (CED).

Last Thursday, Jerome posted a photo, on Facebook, of a cheque that he received from the Government, along with a comment that hinted at his dissatisfaction with the amount of the contribution.

An employee at the CED stated that the organization has been doing damage control since being informed about the comments by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the body responsible for the CIC.

“We still can’t believe that this is what the Prime Minister of our country can help us with,” the comment said, referring to the cheque amount of EC$250. “Nevertheless, Emerald Energy has won the competition…it is so sad that the government [of] St Vincent can’t find the time to support Emerald Energy,” Jerome’s post on Facebook said.

In addition, comments were also made about the CED and their involvement, or lack thereof, in the success of Emerald Energy.

“Emerald Energy and staffs are not pleased with CED for going on local media. Making statements that they were the ones who help us from the start of our business and as a result it is where it is today,” one comment on Facebook read.

Very near to tears, Jerome explained to SEARCHLIGHT that he was prompted by supporters to post the photo and comments on Facebook, and that he did not think it would have escalated in the way it has.

“I thought when they tell me to do it, it would [have] been cool,” the 20-year-old said.

“I was like ‘you sure?’ and they said ‘Yes. Let the public know how they assisted you…’

“I never think twice until I talk to the person again and realize that is just set they setting me up”.

Although he has removed the comments and made an apology on Facebook, Jerome once again expressed his deepest apologies to the persons that he offended with his post on the social media site.

“I want to take the time out to apologize to the Government and everybody that I have hurt. I [did] not intend to hurt [anyone]. [I did] not expect that it would have reached this far,” Jerome declared.

He stressed that he has no grievances with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines or CED.

Jerome said, contrary to the comments made, the CED assisted him in getting ready for the competition in Barbados last month, by spending time teaching him how to pitch his idea. Also, the CED was responsible for shipping his boat to Barbados.

The CIC winner also said that the Government assisted by allowing the parts for his boat to be imported in the name of the Community College, which prevented him from having any out-of-pocket costs.

“I want to thank the Government for the support they gave me, letting me get the parts from out of Customs that would have round off to…almost $5,000 if it came out of my pocket,” he said.

Jerome also thanked all of his sponsors and the persons that assisted in the preparation for the first leg of CIC.

“I want to thank all of you for supporting me and letting you all know that it means a lot to me,” he said. “I will be sending a letter to each and every one of you to say thank you”.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted the UNDP at their office in Barbados for comment. While they acknowledged receipt of the questions, up to press time, no response had been received.

On April 26, Jerome won the top business award in the environmental category at the inaugural CIC finals, held in Barbados. For his accomplishment, he received US$5,000 and the opportunity to proceed to Guatemala in June, for the next leg of the competition. There, young entrepreneurs will vie for additional funding for their businesses at the Talent and Innovation Challenge of the Americas.(BK)

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