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2019/ 2020 Junior Mayor of Portmore, Malique Robinson-Porter, delivers a speech at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s Youth Forum, which was held at the St. James Municipal Corporation building in Montego Bay recently.
Photo: Serena Grant

Story Highlights

  • A smattering of mutters were heard in the Mayor’s Chambers at the St. James Municipal Corporation building in Montego Bay, as a diminutive 11-year-old boy approached the podium to give his speech during the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s Youth Forum held recently.
  • The 2019/2020 Junior Mayor of Portmore, Malique Robinson-Porter, showed no sign of nervousness. There were giggles from other Junior Mayors in attendance as the microphone had to be adjusted to suit his stature.
  • The room, however, went silent as the youngest Junior Mayor on the island gave his address with the poise, intellect and delivery of someone twice his age.

A smattering of mutters were heard in the Mayor’s Chambers at the St. James Municipal Corporation building in Montego Bay, as a diminutive 11-year-old boy approached the podium to give his speech during the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s Youth Forum held recently.

The 2019/2020 Junior Mayor of Portmore, Malique Robinson-Porter, showed no sign of nervousness. There were giggles from other Junior Mayors in attendance as the microphone had to be adjusted to suit his stature.

The room, however, went silent as the youngest Junior Mayor on the island gave his address with the poise, intellect and delivery of someone twice his age.

So impressive was young Malique’s speech, that when he was finished, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, amid rousing applause from attendees, congratulated him on a job well done.

While speaking with JIS News, Malique outlined the genesis of being a part of the Junior Mayor Competition, which culminated in October 2019 in St. Catherine.

The grade-six student of Kensington Primary explained that he was informed of the competition by his class teacher and subsequently attended a briefing, which led to him entering.

He expressed that he was undaunted by the high-school and college-aged competitors he had to face.

“Shortly after the briefing ended, I decided to enter. I thought I had as good of a chance [to win] as everyone else, because I knew that through Christ anything is possible,” Malique said.

His determination and outstanding speech led to victory, and his mother, though ecstatic about his win, was not surprised.

“I think that she knew I was going to do great no matter what placement I got,” Malique said.

The Junior Mayor outlined that he intends to undertake several projects during his tenure; however, “most of my projects will be to benefit youth and [foster] community development”.

Malique also had advice for children his age who want to enter the competition but are afraid to do so for fear of losing.

“Give it a shot. There is nothing that you can lose, but a lot that you can gain,” he advised.

The Junior Mayor currently holds the position of prefect at his school, and says he sees himself as Head Boy at Campion College, the school of his choice, in the future.

For fun, young Malique plays video games, tennis, and chess and loves to read.

He said he wanted his legacy to be that of an activist that fought for what he believed in.

“I would like persons to remember me for the courage I had to stand up for great causes – causes that are worthwhile to the communities [in] Portmore, and Jamaica at large,” he said.

For her part, Malique’s mother, Michelle Powell, told JIS News that she initially had some concerns as it relates to her son’s already packed itinerary. However, “I was happy that he wanted to take up such a task at that time”.

“I am proud that he took on this task, I knew he had it in him, and I am totally in support of whichever direction that he goes from here,” Ms. Powell said.

Meanwhile, Minister McKenzie lauded Malique stating that, “it is the second year that the Portmore municipality has had a primary-school student [as Junior Mayor], and I think he was not outdone; he was in the top-three presentations that were made [during the event].”

“I was very impressed, not just with the presentation but the manner in which he made it,” Mr. McKenzie said.

At the forum, the Junior Mayors presented under the topic, ‘Building Resilient Communities through Local Governance’.

“I think the contributions were outstanding, the Junior Mayors did a lot of work on the topic, they spoke about what their perspective of reliance means, and outside of saying what was in their hearts, they made useful suggestions on how to improve relationships at the local government level… . I am really glad for the contributions that they made,” Mr. McKenzie said.

Several Mayors and staff from municipalities across the island, as well as Junior Deputy Mayors, Junior Councillors and parents, were also in attendance at the forum.

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