Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:Aubrey Stewart, who was recently named junior mayor for the St James Parish Council, plans to use his latest role to influence changes at the municipal authority.
The 18-year-old Cornwall College student, who is from Montego Bay, beat 16 other competitors to land the position at this year's staging of the St James Parish Council Junior Council Competition, which took place at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on November 22.
"I am honoured to be able to serve as junior mayor," said Stewart. "There is a lot of responsibility that comes with this role, but I am not afraid of leadership roles. I've grown accustomed to that. All I want to do is set the tone of youth leadership and this platform will allow me to do so."
The new junior mayor is also the chairman for Youth Organisation for Upliftment (YOU), a non-profit community outreach initiative that focuses on community development and education. He is a sergeant in the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force at Cornwall College, representing the Montego Bay Division.
"There are several initiatives I have planned for my one-year tenure … . Outside of city clean-up, I want to expand what I do with the YOU," said Stewart.
"I live in an inner-city area known as Albion Lane, and what we have done with YOU is to conduct a homework programme, help persons seeking jobs to put together proper résumés and job-application letters, and educate youth and adults on how to become positive role models.
"So, coming from that, I want to further such efforts to other divisions with the help of other junior councillors," added Stewart.
For this aspiring politician, his academics take first priority. He noted that he will be seeking to create a balance to ensure that all his responsibilities are satisfied.
"It goes without saying that my schoolwork takes priority, and I have developed a schedule over the years that seems to be working fine for me," explained Stewart. "I just want to represent the city the best I can and help to make a difference in youth leadership and the overall development of the parish council."
Stewart has represented Jamaica in the Emerging Global Leadership Programme that focuses on philanthropy.