Fifteen-year-old Deja Bremmer was the toast of The Manning’s School, Westmorland, on August 21, after winning the Junior Minister of Tourism Competition in an all-female showdown at the Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
Deja will now go on to represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Youth Congress in Turks & Caicos, in October.
She defeated 17-year-old Excelsior High School student, Yeshima Thomas, who finished second, and 16-year-old José Martí Technical High’s Olivia Rodney, who came third.
This was the second consecutive victory for The Manning’s School, following 16-year-old Sanecia Taylor’s victory last year.
“I am extremely grateful and excited to be this year’s winner. I had a wonderful experience with the competition, which involved training sessions and a tour of Kingston, which was a lot of fun,” the new Junior Tourism Minister told reporters.
“I am looking forward to enjoying the experiences ahead, including representing my country in the regional competition. I want to thank my family and teachers for helping me to make this moment possible,” she said.
Staff Advisor at The Manning’s School, Raymond Bingham, was beside himself with having copped another Junior Tourism Minister title for the second straight year.
“Today’s competition was excellent, and I encourage students to participate, as it will give them access to a lot of resources and helps to build self-confidence. We at Manning’s School will continue to set the bar high and promote participation in the Tourism Awareness Action Club at the school,” he told the gathering of students, teachers, and other stakeholders.
As the new Junior Minister, Ms. Bremmer will be meeting with Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; Director of Tourism, Donovan White, as well as other industry figures as part of her one-year reign. She will also participate in activities, such as the Tourism Awareness Week Youth Forum.
The public-speaking competition is open to students between 15 and 17 years of age, who must be members of their school’s Tourism Action Club to participate.
The topics for this year’s staging focused on wellness tourism, accessibility tourism and building a resilient and sustainable tourism workforce. The students were charged with the task of delivering a three-minute presentation on the topics.
Each student was also required to give a one-minute response to a mystery question on an unknown tourism-related topic before a panel of judges.
Director of Tourism, Donovan White, expressed his delight with “the growth, development, and commitment” of the finalists, adding that “all three young ladies have shown tremendous improvement since round one of the competition”.
“They represented themselves and their schools extremely well, and we hope with this experience they will be ambassadors of brand Jamaica and use their newfound knowledge to spread the valuable importance of tourism to the island,” he added.
For her part, Yeshima expressed her appreciation for the exposure to Jamaica’s tourism product, noting that the workshop and familiarisation tour added value to the competition experience and revealed aspects of public speaking that were unknown to her.
Olivia also expressed her gratitude for all the knowledge and experience gained from the competition.
Deja received the winning trophy and certificate, an HP laptop, and a day pass for four to Sandals Beaches, Ocho Rios, while her staff advisor received a $20,000 gift certificate.
Yeshima and Olivia were the recipients of a certificate of merit and Samsung tablets, while their staff advisors each received a $10,000 gift certificate.