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St. Maarten students capture top prizes in the annual FCCA Poster competition

Aquila Pemberton (15) from the St. Maarten Academy and Tefari Prevoo Francisco (12) of the St Dominic Primary School are St. Maarten's latest winners of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association's FCCA Children's Environmental Poster Competition.

It is the second year that St. Maarten contestants have become finalists in the competition in sixteen years. This year's theme for the was "Solutions for Ocean Pollution." A release issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication TEATT, lauded the two winners as "examples of the extreme talent that we have on the island."

Minister of TEATT, the Honorable Stuart Johnson, said he is delighted to see St. Maarten's students taking a keen interest in understanding the environment.

"The environmental challenges we face affect our ability to maintain economic growth as it forms part of our tourism product. To sustainably redevelop changes must be made to protect our coastal waters and the air we breathe," said Johnson.

The release states that the participants of the FCCA Poster Competition will receive cash prizes as well as their school. Aquila Pemberton of the St. Maarten Academy, won Second Prize in the Senior Division of the competition. Tefari Prevoo Francisco of the St Dominic High Primary School placed second in the Junior Division of the Competition.

As the second-place winner in her category, Aquilla will receive a cash scholarship of $1500, and her school will also receive US$1500. Second place winner Tefari will also receive a cash Scholarship of $1500 with her school receiving the same.

The winners were selected from amongst candidates from 15 Caribbean nations. The Judges had the difficult task of determining this year's winners as there were many exceptionally creative and artistic pieces from which to select a winner. Each poster entry received "exemplified Caribbean excellence" recognition for their depiction of ways in which to preserve the environment.

The FCCA Poster Competition is organized annually by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau as part of its Tourism awareness activities.

The competition seeks to promote and stimulate environmental awareness among students. Its primary goal is to educate the younger generation about the importance of environmental protection. Another benefit of the event is that it shows the correlation between Tourism and the Environment.

Johnson said the FCCA' s Poster Competition gives students and residents, in general, a greater appreciation of the economic and environmental benefits that come from keeping St. Maarten clean.

He said, "As we continue to build an environmentally and economically sustainable St. Maarten, it must be clear that everyone has a role to play." Johnson extended congratulations to the winners on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten to the participants and especially the winners for making their country proud.

He said, "I trust that Aquila and Tefari's achievement encourages them to continue pursuing excellence and inspires others to follow their lead. "

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau extends congratulations to the winners and the art teachers of the St. Maarten Academy and the St. Dominic High school.