Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, is encouraging adolescents to refrain from participating in underage gambling, as this may lead to other unhealthy habits such as substance abuse.
“Don’t get involved in gambling at all, it cannot help you…by the sweat of your brow you should earn your bread, not by the fortune of some racehorse or dog or the luck of the draw,” he said, noting that the habit, once started, is hard to overcome.
The Minister was speaking at the award ceremony for RISE Life Management Services’ adolescent gambling prevention all island poster competition, held on June 7 at the organisation’s downtown Kingston offices.
He encouraged the students to use their intellectual capacity and the power of reasoning to earn honestly, and also advised parents to talk with their children to ensure they are guided on the activities they can engage in and those they should avoid.
The Education Minister, in the meantime, lauded RISE Life for staging the poster competition, which seeks to create awareness about the ills of underage gambling.
“I am asking you, as young people, to accept the messages that you have set out in the poster,” he said, while encouraging them to continue to express their art in ways that reinforce good principles for life.
Twelve-year old, Keshaya Douglas of Denham Town Primary School in West Kingston, copped the first prize of a cell phone, a gift certificate valued at $15,000 and a trophy. Shamara Campbell and Janae Williams also of Denham Town Primary, placed second and third, respectively.
The competition was open to children age 10 to 14 years and approximately 149 entries were submitted. The Jamaica Library Service (JLS) will be mounting the top posters at its facilities across the island.
RISE (Reaching Individuals through Skills and Education) Life is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, which was established in 1990 as Addiction Alert, primarily to assist persons suffering from substance abuse addiction.
Over the years, the organisation has expanded its programmes to include educational, vocational and health-related interventions for high-risk individuals in inner-city Kingston and in 1995, a decision was made to change the name to reflect the scope of the organisation's work.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter