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KINGSTON, JAMAICA - August 27, 2014 - Jamaica’s Gabrielle Pratt of St. Andrew Preparatory School has topped the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Foundation Children’s Essay Contest. She emerged the winner among contestants from nineteen participating nations, effectively elaborating on the competition’s topic: ‘Why is it important that the cruise ships come to my destination.’
Entering in the junior division of the competition, Gabrielle posited solid arguments in support of the importance of cruise ships to destination Jamaica. Among the key points, she argued that cruise ships, also called floating cities, are a significant source of foreign exchange from passenger spending. She also elaborated that the ships are a source of employment, hiring many of her countrymen in various capacities such as engineers, captains and chefs. The development of resort towns as in the case of Falmouth in Trelawny, as well as the cultural exchanges between the visitors and Jamaicans that the ships facilitate, were equally important areas of discussion that she highlighted in her essay.
Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said, “I am very pleased that Garbrielle has emerged the winner of this very important essay competition. She has truly done Jamaica proud and has built on the successes of the many Jamaican students who have excelled in this competition in the past.” He added that, “Her success is proof that she is an outstanding scholar who is poised for great things in the years to come. I congratulate her on this victory and wish her continued success in the future.”
“Heartiest congratulations on a job well done, Gabrielle. We knew that your essay was an excellent piece of work, and your triumph over your peers in the region confirms our conviction,” said Paul Pennicook, Director of Tourism. “You masterfully illustrated the critical role that the cruise shipping industry plays in Jamaica’s tourist industry. We are extremely proud of you. You are definitely one for the future,” he added.
As the champion in her division, Gabrielle will be awarded a scholarship, and her alma mater, St Andrew Preparatory School will also receive a monetary prize. She along with a chaperone will travel to St Maarten to receive the award during the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Conference in October later this year.
Each year the Jamaica Tourist Board organizes the national leg of the FCCA Foundation Children’s Essay Contest and students are selected from the junior and senior divisions to represent the island. The competition aims to encourage children’s creative expression on the importance of cruise tourism, thereby generating awareness of the vital role that cruise shipping plays in the Caribbean.