Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, posing with the successful participants in the 2011 FCCA Environmental Poster Competition at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

After weeks of anticipation, the national winners of the 2011 Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Environmental Poster Competition were awarded at a ceremony last Tuesday, at the Ministry of Tourism, Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Students from primary and secondary schools received certificates in recognition of their participation in the competition and, for some, their achievement in making it to the winners’ circle.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Andrew Cox, delivered remarks during the ceremony, and expressed satisfaction that the competition continued to bring an issue of merit to the fore.

"One of the goals of the Ministry of Tourism is to ensure that all Barbadians, and the young generation in particular, should be aware of the importance of the tourism industry to Barbados’ continued growth and development.?? Therefore, the Ministry has pursued vigorously a Tourism Awareness Programme of which a major component comprises school children participating in several competitions at both the local and

regional levels.?? It is of note that Barbados continues to consistently perform well in these regional FCCA competitions," Mr. Cox observed.

In the Junior Division, for students ages 12 and under, Daniel Lashley, of Harrison College won first prize, while Keanna Best Hill of Charles F. Broome Memorial School and Chont?? Jordan of Westbury Primary School, were awarded second and third place, respectively.??

In the Senior Division, for students ages 12 to 19, Brenden Gonsalves of Queen’s College won first place, Romario Ren??e of Lodge School came second, and Aerin Prescod of Queen’s College, placed third.

The pieces by the two first-place winners in each division which were sent to the FCCA in Florida to be judged at the regional level, were both successful, with Daniel Lashley placing second in his regional division and Breden Gonsalves, third.

Marketing Executive at the Nation Publishing Company, Valerie Hope, and one of the judges for the competition, said she was quite impressed with the entries at both the junior and senior levels and lauded the submissions from the students.

"Many of the posters created not only aptly met the stated requirements, but they displayed creativity and a good understanding of what we need to do to sustain our local environment.?? This, I’m sure, is a credit, not only to the research capabilities of the participants, but to the many teachers and parents who, behind the scenes, would have guided and advised the students," Ms. Hope added.

Prizes were given by both the FCCA and the Ministry of Tourism, and Tourism Development Officer with the Ministry, Sharon Trotman, explained that the supporting schools would be recognised as well.

"This year, the Ministry made the decision to give cash prizes to the students…whatever prizes the students have [received], we have matched it for the schools as well.?? This is just carrying on the tradition that has been set by FCCA," Ms. Trotman pointed out.?? The FCCA presented both the winners and their schools with US$3000, US$1500 and US$1000 for first, second and third place, respectively.?? The Ministry of Tourism awarded $500, $350 and $250 for junior winners, while those in the senior division received $600, $450 and $350.

Minister Richard Sealy was on hand to present the students with certificates and offer words of congratulation.?? The awardees also enjoyed cultural presentations from folk singer, Richard Layne and the Haynesville Drummers and Dancers.

The competition, now in its 15th year, falls under the Ministry’s Tourism Education Awareness & Me (TEAM) Programme.?? Its primary goal is to further sensitise students to the critical role tourism plays in Caribbean communities, whilst embracing the concept of a healthy and sustainable environment.

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