New Junior Minister of Tourism 2019-2020 Aneesa Hardat (left), Tourism Office President Valérie Damaseau, and outgoing Junior Minister of Tourism 2018-2019, Jonathan Hodge (right). (Our News photo)
MARIGOT–Aneesa Hardat, a third-grade pupil at the French Quarter Collège was elected Junior Minister of Tourism 2019-2020 following a debate on tourism themes in front of a jury with other pupils at the Collège on Friday.
Ashana Ritchie Rudolphe and Kiante Richardson finished second and third respectively. Raymonde Sainterne, Juliska Hunt, and Melicia Chance also took part in the debate and received prizes and certificates. The six pupils were all from second-, third- and fourth-grade classes.
Each participant had 2½ minutes to speak on a tourism theme as the jury listened. On the second part of the debate, the young participants had to answer a surprise question without any preparation.
The annual debate is based on an initiative started by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) to stimulate interest in tourism careers.
President Daniel Gibbs, first Vice-President Valérie Damaseau who is also President of the Tourism Office, and Tourism Office Vice-President Alex Pierre were present, along with Third Vice-President Annick Petrus and Députée Claire Guion-Firmin. “Since its launch in 2013, the tourism module taught at the Collège has attracted many students on a voluntary basis,” said Gibbs. “This year, 80 students have registered, which is huge. The authorities are planning to extend the module to the other classes and establishments in the first and second degrees.
“It is a real pleasure for me to see that the tourism module initiated by the Collectivité, National Education and the St. Martin Tourism Office is taught to the students of the fourth and third grades at the French Quarter Collège and Collège Mont des Accords, and above all to see that many students have been able to benefit from this education since its inception in September 2013.
“I would like to thank National Education, represented tonight, by Michel Sanz. I also salute the Recteur of the Academy for our region Mostafa Fourar, who accompanies us and supports our initiatives. And not forgetting Evelyne Fleming, whose investment in St. Martin students is exceptional. Thanks to her determination she has contributed greatly to the creation of this training. I would also like to thank the teachers who teach these courses.”
As Junior Minister 2019-2020, Aneesa will represent St. Martin as part of the work done at the Caribbean level and will represent St. Martin along with other winners from the islands at a future debate organised by the CTO.