St Jago sixth-former is Spanish Town youth mayor 2019
Seventeen-year-old Damario Patterson, an upper-sixth-form student at St Jago High School in Spanish Town, was on Monday declared St Catherine Municipal Corporation youth mayor for 2019 after outperforming six other youth councillors drawn from different divisions in the parish.
The annual event, which was staged in the meeting room of the municipal building, was one of the major activities on the municipal corporation’s calender of events in observance of Local Government Month, which is being celebrated in November under the theme ‘Building Resilient Communities Through Local Governance’.
Patterson’s debating skills were on full display as he supported the moot ‘Local government reform is good for Jamaica’ with pointed arguments backed up by well-researched facts, always crediting his sources.
His call for the strengthening of local government through the provision of more funding from central government was echoed by Lauriston Councillor Keisha Lewis, who was master of ceremonies for the event.
Patterson told The Gleaner after the competition that he was well-prepared and went to give of his best.
“The fact that I am a member of the St Jago debating team really prepared me well for events such as this. I am extremely elated to be selected youth mayor for Spanish Town, and I certainly will employ my best skills to represent this municipal corporation,” he said.
Patterson will be required to initiate a project within a given budget that must be completed before his reign ends.
This year, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has increased the annual grant for the project from $500,000 to $750,000.
Chantae Coban, a sixth-form student at Cedar Grove Academy, was selected as deputy youth mayor, while Nastasia Dixon of St Jago High School placed third in the competition.
Patterson and other youth mayors from across the island are invited to a luncheon with Prime Minister Andrew Holness today.