By: Gavincia Clarke
(CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS)- Shouts and loud applauses from teachers and students echoed across the hall of the Gingerland Secondary School (GSS) on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 to congratulate Miss Neila Jones who has won the 2013 Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Youth Congress and was named Caribbean Junior Minister of Tourism.
A small ceremony was held at the School to congratulate the fifteen year old student who had made history for herself and Nevis. Miss Jones won the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Youth Congress that was held in Martinique as part of the 2013 State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC2013) on Friday, October 18, 2013. This accomplishment by Miss Jones has placed Nevis on the map since this was the first victory for the island since the existence of the competition.
Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Mark Brantley extended congratulations to the fourth form student. He stated that he was very pleased when he received a text saying that Nevis had won the CTO competition.
“The students of the Gingerland Secondary School you ought to be proud of your accomplishment because Miss Jones is a part of you, she is your colleague, she is a student, she is a part of the school and the community and it is because of her performance Gingerland and Nevis is now on the map”, said Mr. Brantley.
He alerted the hall that Neila did not just beat her competitors, but she beat them by a mile. The Deputy told the listening students that each and every one of them has the potential to go out and compete and win. In closing, he encouraged the students that every time they see Neila to say to themselves that ‘if she can do it I can do it too, whether it is in law, agriculture or nursing you all have the capacity to achieve great things’.
On behalf of the Department of Education, Mrs. Palsy Wilkin in her brief remarks stated that she was indeed extremely happy and very proud to be a part of the celebration. The Education Officer extended congratulation to Miss Jones who has represented herself, the school and Nevis well. In conclusion she commended the teachers and the support system who have worked extremely hard with Miss Jones.
Tourism Education Officer, Miss Vannessa Webbe who also chaired the event indicated that Miss Jones was out front from the beginning of the debate in which 14 youngsters from CTO member countries addressed one of two topic, ‘Multigenerational Travel of Grand Tripping’ and ‘Agro Tourism: There’s More To It Than Visiting the Farms’. The students also had to show they were quick thinkers after they were given a mystery topic – “Share One Thing You Would Like To Achieve As Junior Minister of Tourism and State Why Achieving or Experiencing This Would be Important to You”, they had one minute to formulate their answers.
Miss Webbe who was a part of Jones’ team in Martinique stated that Neila did exceptionally well. Miss Webbe further stated that Neila was brave and she made her presentation like a true champion.
The Tourism Youth Congress and was also supported by Deborah Lellouch, Tourism Specialist Teacher attached to the Ministry of Tourism.