JLP councillor, aviator shortlisted for Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

Career & Education

JLP councillor, aviator shortlisted for Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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Jamaicans Stephen McCubbin and Samuel Neil are among the 16 young people from around the world who have been shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth Youth Awards.

McCubbin, Jamaica Labour Party councillor-caretaker for the Vineyard Town Division, and Neil, safety manager at Airways International were nominated based on ther charitable work and the ways they align with the UN sustainabale development goals.

McCubbin is the founder of Cheer Sensation JA, a youth non-profit which works to foster holistic development through the sport of cheer. Through its cheerleading programmes and competitions, the organisation provides a safe space for children and adults to become physically active whilst working as a violence prevention tool in volatile communities in the island.

“Stephen's work has enabled him to attract international cheerleading bodies to Jamaica to provide technical support to the organisation, further increasing awareness and support for the sport,” the Commonwealth secretariat says.

McCubbin is a member of the National Youth Advisory Council and received a Prime Minister's Youth Award in the category of Youth Development in 2018.

Neil, meanwhile, is the founder of The Aviation Club of Jamaica, a national initiative which encourages young people to enter the aviation sector. The programme provides student members with scholarship and training opportunities through partnerships with training institutions. The programme has introduced hundreds of local young people to the world of aviation and supported many to go on to become qualified aviation professionals.

The Commonwealth secretariat describes the 16 finalists as innovators, activists, and entrepreneurs from 12 countries.

It explained that a pan-Commonwealth judging panel met last week and selected the top individuals in each of the award's four regional categories. It said it received more than 500 entries from 40 countries. Of those shortlisted, the top candidate from each region will be named as a regional winner. One of these four regional winners will become the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2020.

All 16 finalists will each receive a trophy, a certificate, and 1,000 to expand the scope of their projects.

The regional winners will each earn a trip to London to attend the awards ceremony on March 11, 2020 and will receive 3,000. The overall pan-Commonwealth winner will take home a total of 5,000.

The judging panel included high commissioners, development experts, and youth leaders from across the Commonwealth.

The awards recognise outstanding young people whose innovative projects have made a real impact in helping their countries achieve the sustainable development goals (SDG).

The Commonwealth's head of social policy development Layne Robinson said: “Their talent paired with tangible solutions sends a strong signal that they should be equal partners in the development agenda, not passive allies.

“With now only 10 years remaining to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Commonwealth takes great pleasure in bringing these young people's invaluable efforts to the global stage so their leadership can inspire others and accelerate meaningful youth participation.”

The 2020 finalists, in alphabetical order by region and individual surname, are set out below.


Joshua Ebin (Nigeria),

Galabuzi Brian Kakembo


Salvatory Kessy (Tanzania)

Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti



Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman


Vedant Jain (India)

Jaya Rajwani (Pakistan)

Hafiz Usama Tanveer



Lalita Gopaul (Guyana)

Sowmyan Jegatheesan


Stephen McCubbin (Jamaica)

wwSamuel Neil (Jamaica)


Sagufta Janif (Fiji)

Broderick John Mervyn (Fiji)

Rinesh Sharma (Fiji)

Fusi Masina Tietie (Samoa)

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