ATI Announce National Essay Competition Award Winners

The Access to Information Unit, in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports Conference Room, yesterday announced the three awardees in the Access to Information National High School Essay Competition.

In first place was Sherraine Phillips of Campion College, taking home the ATI Unit Trophy and a $10,000 cash prize. The award was presented by Mr. Damian Cox, Executive Director of the Unit.

Second place went to Maxine Nelson of Ardenne High School, receiving the ATI Stakeholder Advisory Committee Trophy and $7000. She was presented with her trophy by Dr. Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director, Jamaicans for Justice and Chairperson of the ATI Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Natassja Douse of Glenmuir High School placed third. Douse received the Access to Information Association of Administrators (ATIAA) Trophy and $5000 from Chairperson of ATIAA, Miss Helen Rumbolt.

The competition was open to all high school students in Jamaica from third to sixth form. The topic of the 2500 word essay was “Why is the Access to Information Act 2002 important to Jamaica’s democracy and how can it be used to improve your community?”

In her overview of the competition, the Unit’s Public Education Manager, Tricia Cameron-Anglin, congratulated the students and their teachers who had worked with them, on the quality of their essays. The essays demonstrated that the students had a commanding grasp of the concept and importance of Access legislation and its application to the life and well being of ordinary Jamaicans.

Dr. Gomes also extended her congratulations to the students. She noted that one of her concerns was that more Jamaicans were not making use of this vital piece of legislation that sought to strengthen the fundamental democratic principles of public participation, accountability and transparency.

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