Essay Competitions For 2015 In Jamaica

JIS: Sixth-form student of Wolmer’s Boys’ School, Oshnel Bryan, is the 2017 winner of the Access to Information (ATI) National High School Essay Competition.


His took home the top cash prize of $50,000 at the awards ceremony held on April 3 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.


Fifth-form student at the William Knibb Memorial High in Trelawny, Nastacia Linton, who placed second, received $30,000, while sixth-form student of the Wolmer’s Girls’ School, Juzel Lloyd, took home $20,000 for placing third.  The top-three students also received trophies and certificates of participation.


A total of 22 students from 16 urban and rural high schools participated in the sixth staging of the annual competition organised by the Access to Information Unit and the Access to Information Advisory Stakeholder Committee in the Office of the Prime Minister.


Entrants were asked to write on the topic ‘The Access to Information Act is Playing a Significant Role in Improving Accountability and Transparency in Jamaica’.


The students explored the impact of the ATI Act on tackling corruption as well as how it affects industrial relations; human rights; the economy; the environment; and social issues, such as health and education.


Senior Education Officer in the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, Paul-Davey Ashley, who delivered the main address at the awards ceremony, endorsed the theme, which, he said “provides a very good reference point for our students to research the Act and increase their awareness for how it can help them and others to become more informed citizens”.


“I am sure that as you gathered information on the provisions of the Act and the rights, you would have developed a greater understanding and appreciation for the efforts that have been made to provide greater transparency and accountability in public life,” he added.


Senior Legal Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Shereika Hemmings-Allison said she is heartened by the enthusiasm of the students, who, through their essays, demonstrated a sincere interest in national affairs.


“Through their work, the students continue to articulate their understanding of how Jamaica can progress as a country and give suggestions on strengthening our democracy while promoting a more prosperous nation founded on the principles of transparency and accountability,” she said.


She informed that for the next staging of the competition, efforts will be made to increase the prizes, through collaboration with other institutions.


CAPTION: Senior Education Officer in the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, Paul-Davey Ashley (left) presents a plaque to 2017 winner of the Access to Information (ATI) National High School Essay Competition, sixth form student of the Wolmer’s Boys’ School, Oshnel Bryan (2nd right) at the awards ceremony held on April 4 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston. Sharing the moment are Senior Legal Officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, Shereika Hemmings-Allison (2nd left); and Communication Studies teacher at the Wolmer’s Boys’ School, Karen Gobern.

Office of Public Defender Stages Essay Competition

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The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) is inviting young Jamaicans to enter its Nationwide Essay Competition aimed at making them more aware of their rights.

The competition targets young people between the ages of 13 to 25 and participants will compete in two age categories.

Speaking with JIS News, Acting Public Defender, Matondo Mukulu, said that his office is concerned that citizens, especially young people, are not sufficiently aware of their rights and how his office can assist them.

“Persons are unaware of their rights, especially when it does not involve the right to life. One of the things I have looked at since assuming office is the number of complaints that we have received from this group (youth), which is rather low when compared to older persons where the greatest amount of complaints stem,” he informed.

Organizer for the Competition and Director of Investigations, Kayla Beckford, told JIS News that category one of the competition will involve students 13 to 17 years.

They will be asked to respond to the following statement in no more than 1,500 words: ‘The Disabled in my school are treated fairly and equally. If you do not agree say how you would change it.’

She said that the OPD is seeking to garner input that will assist with its recommendations on the Disabilities Bill, which is to be tabled in Parliament this year.

“Presently, we are making suggestions about the Disabilities Bill so this category fits into our interest area.  We are starting with disabilities in the education system and we have had parents contact us with their concerns. We are now providing young people with the option of adding their input; we are hoping to get submissions from disabled children in this category,” Ms. Beckford explained.

Category two, age 18 to 25, will address broad awareness of rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom.

Tertiary level students are being invited to respond to the topic: ‘Daily, we watch the news and we see persons protesting, “We want justice”. Many Jamaicans are unaware of their rights as cited under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom. In your own words, say which of these rights you consider most important and why. Say how this Commission can enlighten Jamaican of this right’. Responses should be limited to 2,500 words.

Ms. Beckford noted that only one entry is allowed per contestant. Winners of the Nationwide Essay Competition will receive prizes in cash and kind from the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), First Heritage Co-operative Credit Unit (FHCCU), Wisynco, Jamaica Observer, and Jamaica National Small Business Loans.

For submissions and additional information please contact Kayla Beckford in the Office of the Public Defender at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 922-4882.


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