The five finalists in the Department of Emergency Management’s (DEM) inaugural Storm Ready poetry contest are now ambassadors for disaster management in Barbados.
DEM Director, Kerry Hinds, urged the five students to continue writing and encourage their families and friends to be prepared and know what actions to take to stay safe during an emergency or disaster.
She was addressing the finalists in the competition during a presentation ceremony in the DEM’s conference room on Tuesday.
The finalists are: 10-year-old Kemani Haynes of the Reynold Weekes Primary School – 1st place; 11-year-old Luther Thorne Primary School student, Maliah Chandler – 2nd place; nine-year-old Kymani Cyrus of the Welches Primary School – 3rd place; nine-year-old Wesley Hall Junior School student, Kayley Bovell – 4th place; and nine-year-old Shanell Vernall, from the Bay Primary School – 5th place.
Ms. Hinds explained that the department embarked on a month of activities in June to mark the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, and to increase awareness about hurricanes and other hazards that may arise.
She added that activities were developed to target various groups, with this year focusing on children, through a poetry competition targeted at seven to 11-year-olds. “I am truly pleased that the inaugural poetry competition generated such great interest among our youth.
“The competition entrants wrote on storms and hurricanes and we thought this competition was a great avenue to encourage creativity while actively engaging children to learn more about the major hazard that can potentially affect us annually,” the Director noted.
She added that the judges’ feedback was positive, with the entries being described as “well structured, creative, informational pieces”. The students wrote on the topic Be Storm Ready, which also generated a lot of activity on the DEM’s social media platforms.
The Director thanked the sponsors who came onboard, noting that such public/private sector initiatives augured well for disaster management in Barbados, and building resilience.
The students won a range of prizes, including emergency kits from the DEM, gift cards, vouchers and cash.
There were 73 entries in the competition, which required the students to write a poem between 10 and 16 lines in length.
They were then required to read their poems during a video recording at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. The videos may be viewed on the DEM channels – Instagram at dem.barbados, and Facebook at dem246.