EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Cornwall College student, Aubrey Stewart, is the new Junior Mayor for Montego Bay.
He was among 17 students from 14 educational institutions vying for the title in the annual St James Junior Council Competition. The finals were held at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on Wednesday November 21, where Aubrey got the nod of the adjudicating panel after delivering his well-researched presentation, which focused on community development.
For his victory, he received the Montego Bay Mayor's Trophy, cash prize of $20,000, along with other gifts from businesses in the area.
Troy Hibbert of Maldon High School, who was elected Deputy Mayor, received the Gerald Mitchell Trophy, named for a former Deputy Mayor and $15,000, along with other gifts.
The Junior Mayor will lead the Junior Council for one year and during his tenure, the Council will be required to conceptualise and implement a community project, funded by the Ministry of Local Government.
Members of Parliament for St James West Central, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams; Central St James, Lloyd B Smith; and East Central St James, Edmund Bartlett, have each donated $15,000 towards the project.
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, said that the annual Junior Council competition seeks to involve students in the development of their communities, and also build their debating and presentation skills.
He commended the students who participated, and encouraged them to work together to ensure the success of the project to be undertaken. "Utilise all the resources available to you so that you will set a trend for others to follow," the mayor said.
Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Ministry of Local Government, Ann-Marie Mittoo, urged the students to be committed to hard work, and make the effort to help others and develop their communities.
"What you do makes a difference in whether your communities are built up or destroyed. Always remember that others are watching you; they are looking to you for leadership. Your mission is to provide positive examples for them to also be community builders," she stated.
Guest speaker at the function, and Director of the University of the West Indies' (UWI) Western Jamaica Campus, Dr Luz Longsworth, said it is important that students develop leadership skills, and learn to be team builders. "Learn to work with other people, in different environments, and foster harmony in your community," she advised.
The participating schools were: Cornwall College, Montego Bay High School, Harrison Memorial High School, St James High School, Herbert Morrison Technical High School, Irwin High School, Cambridge High School, Anchovy High School, Green Pond High School, Mount Alvernia High School, Spot Valley High School, Maldon High School, Montego Bay Community College, and the Institute of Academic Excellence.