From Loop Jamaica
The Rita Marley Foundation (JA) held its annual Public Speaking Competition and Awards last Friday at the Multi Functional Room at the UWI Mona Main Library in Kingston.
The competition, a programme specifically created by the Foundation,to empower the youth through education, saw several high schools from across Jamaica participate for $20,000 cash, a trophy and an array of marvellous prizes guaranteed to the winner and contenders.
Dr. Rita Marley, president/founder of the Rita Marley Foundation participated via Skype. In October 2015, Dr. Marley was conferred an honorary doctor of letters degree by U.W.I Mona. During welcome remarks Rosemary Duncan, manager at the Rita Marley Foundation(JA), revealed that yet another honorary degree would be conferred in September 2017. From the prestigious University of Fort Hare, South Africa, for philosophy and literature. Dr. Nelson Mandela is among the University’s alumni.
Months prior to the competition, the Rita Marley Foundation(JA) issued a pre-assigned topic to schools, ‘What Is Jamaica’s Greatest Contribution to the World.’ Students delivered powerful and passionate speeches on the topic. The distinguished judging panel comprising Professor Verene Sheperd, Ms. Terisa Thompson, Mr. Gregory Simms, Dr. Kwame Boafo listened and looked on with undivided interest. The three top students were selected to forward to the final round. York Castle High School’s (Bobby Francis), Jamaica College’s (Rolando Alberts) and Wolmer’s Boys’ High School’s (Oshnel Bryan). Master of Ceremony, Mrs. Amina Blackwood Meeks revealed the impromptu topic, ‘ Crime is Prevalent in Jamaica, Crimes Against Youth & Women is on the Rise. Whose Responsibility is it to Stop that Violence. Share with Us Your Strategy for Eradicating that Problem.’
Everyone was in awe, as the 15-18years old students masterfully delivered sound solutions to stop crime and violence. Wolmer’s Boys’ High School’s Oshnel Bryan was most outstanding. He won with 247.5 points. York Castle High School’s Bobby Francis, 2nd (232 points) and Jamaica College’s Rolando Alberts, 3rd (220 points).
Rosemary Duncan lauded sponsors for their support; Stephen Marley’s Ghetto Youths Foundation, Wisynco Group, Spanish Court Hotel, Suzie’s Bakery, Devon House, Caribbean Cream (Kremi), Viking Productions, Stationery & Computer Supplies, Tastee LTD, Royal Rita, Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica, LOOP Jamaica.
Another significant moment at the event, international reggae musician Stephen Marley’s surprise appearance to deliver an award to Asley ’Grub’ Cooper; for immeasurable contributions to Jamaica’s musical heritage. Rosemary Duncan delivered a compelling citation revealing Asley ‘Grub’ Cooper’s tumultuous childhood, impressive works with the Marley family and his great accomplishments. She also stated, Dr. Rita Marley extends tremendous thanks to Grub, other musicians and friends who positively supported her musical journey. Cause ‘In this great future you can’t forget your past.’ Bob Marley.
Grub paid tribute to Dr. Rita Marley with a medley of songs; including, global hit tunes One Draw and Harambe. Asley ‘Grub’ Cooper profusely thanked the Marleys’ stating, “It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with the Marley family and it gave me great opportunity to expose my art and brought me to the attention of many globally recognized artistes with whom I had the pleasure to work. I promise to continue to be a musician of excellence, worthy of the award. Everyone should know that despite the Marleys’ fame and success they have not forgotten their roots and remain anchored and approachable, always remembering where they came from and who took part in their journey”.