JIS News

Nine students from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, who copped the top places in the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) inaugural essay competition, were presented with their prizes at an awards ceremony held on Wednesday (Dec. 7) at the Institute’s New Kingston headquarters.
The awards ceremony marked the culmination of the PIOJ’s 50th anniversary activities for the year.
The students, at each level, were asked to select one of three topics for discussion in their essays. At the tertiary level the topics were: ‘National Planning is irrelevant; we are guided by an invisible hand’; ‘The viability of a society is dependent on the level of discipline’; and ‘Outline and discuss the role of the development agency in a globalised economy’ which was the winning essay submitted by O’Neil Simpson, a student at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus.
Leslie Ann Dixon from the UWI, Mona was second while 3rd place went to Trecia Myrie from the University of Technology.
Shaval Campbell, a student at Priory High school in Kingston was the winner at the secondary level with her essay entitled ‘Crime and Violence is undermining every aspect of our economy and society’. Melissa Anderson of Manchester High and Garfene Grandison of Campion College placed second and third, respectively.
In addition to the crime and violence theme, the other topics at the secondary level were: ‘What do you consider to be the relevance of the PIOJ in the 21st Century?’ and ‘Jamaica: Present state and future prospects’.
Meanwhile, coming out on top at the primary level was 10-year old Daveena Swearing from Seaview Gardens, who submitted her winning entry, which was written under the heading ‘If I had to plan for educating Jamaica’s children, I would.”.
Second place went to Channon Wright of Old Harbour Primary, while Georgia Golding of Hayes Primary & Junior High, 3rd place winner.
In addition to the essay topic submitted by the winner, the primary school students were required to write on either ‘How do you see Jamaica in the next ten years?’ or ‘If I had to plan for Jamaica, my priorities would be.”.
According to Claire Bernard, Chief Judge and Director of the PIOJ’s Sustainable Development and Regional Planning Division, “over 44 entrants from 11 parishes submitted essays at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels”.
She noted that overall, the essays were very good and the students were very creative, especially those at the primary level. In addition, she said, “all essays demonstrated research.” The winners received cash prizes, cellular phones and gift baskets.
In his remarks, Dr. Wesley Hughes, Director General of the PIOJ challenged the students to always strive for the best. “Think of the possibility that one of you could be standing here in the future as Director General of the PIOJ. Your dream and your goal should be to run the world but to do so you have to strive to be the best,” he charged.
He added, “the future belongs to you and some day, you are going to be held accountable and responsible for the success or failure of the future.”
Speaking of the quality of the entries, Dr. Hughes mentioned that the entrants were able to articulate how to plan for the future and revealed from their perspective, how crime and violence was undermining significant aspects of Jamaica’s development. The essays are to be edited and published as part of the Organisation’s 50th anniversary celebration.
The sponsors of the PIOJ’s 50th anniversary essay competition awards were Capital and Credit Merchant Bank, Mall Jewellers, Digicel, the Jamaica Pegasus, Ian Randle Publishers, T. Geddes Grant, Lasco Distributors, Colgate Palmolive and Grace Kennedy.

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