Seven Students Installed as Access to Information Youth Ambassadors

Photo: Donald De La Haye The seven newly appointed Access to Information Youth Ambassadors share a photo opportunity at the induction ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on November 29. They are (from left) Shaquille Johnson, Wolmer’s Boys School; Jevaun Johnson, Cornwall College; Charticia Robinson, Vauxhall High; Josh Pratt, Ardenne High; Shadae Graham, Westwood High; Nastacia Linton, William Knibb Memorial; and Shavelle Shaw, Wolmer’s Girls. The programme, spearheaded by the Access to Information (ATI) Unit, seeks to create greater awareness among the youth about the tenets of the ATI Act.

Story Highlights

  • Seven students were inducted as the first set of Access to Information (ATI) Youth Ambassadors at a ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday (November 29).
  • Acting Director of the ATI Unit, OPM, Tomica Daley, told JIS News that the Youth Ambassador programme is being launched as a pilot within seven schools before being expanded to other institutions.
  • “The programme was conceptualised as a way of getting youth involved in promoting the three tenets of the Act – government accountability, transparency, and public participation in decision-making. We thought it prudent to get our youth involved because we believe they have a say in the future, and with their participation, we believe we will see great improvement in the way we do business in government,” she said.

Seven students were inducted as the first set of Access to Information (ATI) Youth Ambassadors at a ceremony held at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday (November 29).

Responsibilities of the representatives include promoting the functions and application of the ATI Act among their peers through various projects as well as leading the planning and execution of three ATI-related activities and events within their schools. This is to be done in collaboration with the ATI Unit.

The ambassadors, who have been trained in the use and function of the ATI Act, will serve for 12 months. They will be granted a small honorarium and financial support for projects.

Acting Director of the ATI Unit, OPM, Tomica Daley, told JIS News that the Youth Ambassador programme is being launched as a pilot within seven schools before being expanded to other institutions.

“The programme was conceptualised as a way of getting youth involved in promoting the three tenets of the Act – government accountability, transparency, and public participation in decision-making. We thought it prudent to get our youth involved because we believe they have a say in the future, and with their participation, we believe we will see great improvement in the way we do business in government,” she said.

State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, in a message read by Acting Chief Education Officer for School Operations, Maxine Headlam, conveyed his support for the programme.

“This Youth Ambassador Programme is very timely. It is in keeping with the Government’s thrust to tap into the rich resources of our youth to move the country forward,” he said.

He noted that “ATI is a crucial area, which goes to the heart of governance and, therefore, our youth must be encouraged to get involved. ATI is a tool for change; it holds persons at all levels of government accountable and ensures that we serve the people in an effective way”.

The Youth Ambassadors are fifth- and lower sixth-form students from traditional and non-traditional high schools across the island.

They are Charticia Robinson from Vauxhall High; Jevaun Johnson, Cornwall College; Josh Pratt, Ardenne High; Nastacia Linton, William Knibb Memorial High; Shadae Graham, Westwood High; Shaquille Johnson, Wolmer’s Boys; and Shavelle Shaw, Wolmer’s Girls.

The ambassadors were selected by teachers from the participating institutions based on academic merit and their good standing in the school community.

The ATI Act gives persons the legal right to access all copies of official documents held by government bodies, except those exempt from disclosure.

Official documents refer to those in the possession, custody or control of a government entity and are connected to its functions.

Exempt documents refer to those related to the deliberate processes of the Government and Cabinet; those affecting national security, international relations and personal privacy; and those subject to legal professional privilege.

The ATI Unit was established to spearhead the implementation and administration of the Access to Information Act 2002.

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