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Michael Wallace is junior minister of tourism 2017

Beat out 13 other students from around the country to win the highly competitive speech competition

Published: Apr 24, 2017

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St. Anne’s School student Michael Wallace is the new junior minister of tourism 2017.

Wallace beat out 13 other students from around the country to win the highly competitive speech competition. He said the experience was invaluable.

As the United Nations (UN) has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, students spoke on the topic, “Bahamas Endangered: Promoting Sustainable Development”.

“This has been a great experience so far, engaging in conversations with all the persons who have been here from the preliminaries, the semifinals and finally the finals,” said Wallace. “To win this competition is a great honor. There’s so much that I’m looking forward to as the new junior minister of tourism.”

As junior minister of tourism, Wallace received the Patrick S. Bain scholarship, an all-expense paid four-day trip to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Youth Congress, $500 and a trophy. St. Anne’s School will also receive $500 and a floating trophy.

Second place went to Tillia Leary, of Windermere High School in Eleuthera. Carlton Taylor, of Exuma’s St. Andrew’s Anglican School, was third.

The speech competition was the last phase of the junior minister competition. Leading up to the competition, students were required to go through a two-phase format that included a sourcing interview and speech preliminaries.

The Junior Minister of Tourism Program is open to one candidate per island, including New Providence. It is also open to 11th grade Bahamian citizens in both the government and private school sectors.

The 13 other finalists will serve as junior directors of tourism for their respective islands for the remainder of the school year.

Patrice Wallace, Michael’s mother, believes he will exceed expectations.

“I’m looking for Michael to obtain his goals. I know he’s going to do great things because he’s a determined young man. He’s focused and willing to go the extra mile. The expectation is for him to do his best and knowing that he puts his all into everything, I know he will achieve it,” she said.

Michael succeeds Grand Bahama’s Mary Star of the Sea School student Gabriele Josephs. Although he handed over his national title, Josephs will continue to serve as Caribbean junior minister 2017/2018.

Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe praised the students for their contributions. He said events such as the junior minister competition are hosted for a reason.

“When you think about what people come to The Bahamas for, they come to interact, they want to understand what it is that makes us so special. We have festivals — junior minister of tourism, Bahamian Ting Song Competition where we’re looking for the number one song in the country, but we’re doing it because we want to continuously go back to who we are as a people and celebrate that,” said Wilchcombe.

He spoke highly of the outgoing junior minister of tourism.

“Our former junior minister of tourism … many years from now you will see him, because he has all the potential, the capacity, and certainly the determination, to be an outstanding leader,” said Wilchcombe.

In addition to the Ministry of Tourism, the competition was sponsored by the Bahamas Hotel & Tourism Association, Micronet and Aliv.

The junior minister of tourism program was launched in 2002 to promote awareness of the country’s number one industry among high school students.


Junior minister of tourism winners

2016 — Gabriele Josephs, Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy (first place at Caribbean Tourism Organization);

2015 — Owyn Ferguson, St. Anne’s School (third place at CTO);

2014 — Taliah Cooper, Preston H. Albury High School;

2013 — Travis Robinson, C.R. Walker Senior School;

2012 — Iant’a Stubbs, Anatol Rodgers High School;

2011 — Boykin Smith, St. Anne’s School;

2010 — Winnae Hunt, Sunland Baptist Academy;

2009 — Lincoln Deal Jr., St. John’s College;

2008 — Katanga A. Johnson, Kingsway Academy;

2007 — Rashad Rolle, Doris Johnson (third place at CTO);

2005 — Ryan Albury, St. John’s College;

2004 — Corain Smith, Jordan Prince William (second place at CTO);

2003 — Shaundra Curtis, St. Anne’s School;

2002 — Stephanie Lawrence, Queen’s College.


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