Amid ringing endorsements, Andrene Lewis-Longwe, on December 10, cut the ribbon signifying the official launch of the Jamaican version of her top-flight home-care services company.
The firm – Break Barriers Caring Hands (BBCH), is now catering to seniors citizens and other Jamaicans who want to be cared for in the comfort of their homes, instead of being sent to a nursing home.
During its launch at Ultimate R&R Lounge in Kingston 10, the company received warm welcome from a wide cross-section of the Jamaican society, including representatives of the Jamaican state.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Leslie Campbell, who attended the launch, described the business venture as an encouraging and ‘most worthy initiative’.
He encouraged more members of the diaspora to invest on the island, noting that BBCH is doing so despite numerous challenges being posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It is encouraging to see initiatives such as this, particularly in this time when countries all around the world are grappling with the socio-economic challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic…” Senator Campbell said. “Warmest congratulations to Mrs. Lewis-Longwe and your team on this most worthy initiative. I wish you the very best in this undertaking and all your future endeavours.”
The Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Seth Geroge Ramocan, joined in wishing Lewis-Longwe success with what he said is a new form of healthcare in Jamaica.
“As Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, I am truly proud to see another small business owner from the Jamaican diaspora investing and creating jobs in Jamaica. This is really the reciprocity that we are looking for…” he declared.
The High Commissioner, who noted that Lewis-Longwe is also a philanthropist, expressed confidence in the entrepreneur’s ability to reap success in Jamaica – like she has been doing in the United Kingdom where she employs 80 people.
“I had the opportunity of hearing her (Lewis-Longwe) speak, and she is just an amazing person. She is a winner; you can see that she is going places; you can see that things are about to happen with a new form of healthcare in Jamaica,” the High Commissioner said.
Lewis-Longwe, who owns BBCH along with her husband Nelson, also received strong support from her native community of Gregory Park, located in the constituency of St. Catherine East Central
Member of Parliament for the constituency, Alando Terrelonge, attended the BBCH launch along with Councillor for the Gregory Park Division, Joy Brown.
The parliamentarian said he is most impressed that BBCH is proving a ‘commendable service’ that takes healthcare to the next level in Jamaica.
“What I like about BBCH is that they take healthcare to the next level. Rather than sending your grandmother or your grandfather, or mommy and daddy, or even a sick relative to a [nursing] home, you can care for them right in the privacy of your own home, where you can see them and see that the care they’re getting is filled with love and the attention that they deserve,” he further commented.
Terrelonge also lauded Lewis-Longwe for having a big dream and working hard to fulfill it, adding that she is the epitome of a black Jamaican woman.
Riding the wave of glowing tributes, Lewis-Longwe eventually walked into the limelight at the launch, reflecting on her journey – one that involves her triumph over childhood sexual abuse as well as abject poverty.
She told the audience that she was in earshot a few years ago when Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during a visit to the United Kingdom, urged members of the Jamaican diaspora to invest in their native land.
“I grew up here, I left, and now I am back to make my contribution…” Lewis-Longwe declared.
She further told the gathering: “I too have said I would not come back. I too have seen some of the unpleasant things that happen in our home. I too never thought I would be doing this today, but I know we all at some point long for this place called home – a place where the sun is shining, the grass is greener depending on how you look at it, and a place where you can return until such time.”
Lewis-Longwe further explained that her new company, BBCH, has been in the making since 2018 when she mulled expanding, having established a similar company – Break Barriers Limited – in the United Kingdom.
She said her Jamaican firm will be guided by the success of her operation in the United Kingdom.
She noted that, in the United Kingdom, the industry’s regulator has ranked Break Barriers Limited in the highest of three categories.
“Break Barriers’ standards in the UK will follow us to this beautiful island…” Lewis-Longwe said. “What we will do, however, is to tailor to suit the Jamaican environment. We will make our services safe, effective, caring, responsive and well lead.”
Elaborating on the newly opened Jamaican company, Lewis-Longwe said the entity provides personal health and social care services to people regardless of their age and whether or not they have disabilities.
“Homecare services are delivered within the customers’ own homes in Jamaica,” she said emphatically. “At BBCH, we work with our customers to design their care and their support.”
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