On Thursday, Feb. 10th, 2011, history was made when a group of Campion College students made a stirring presentation at Gordon House. The team was specially invited by the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control to be a part of their bid to push for legislation declaring public spaces smoke free as well as inclusion of graphic warnings on cigarette boxes.
Scheduled for one hour in length, the presentation was directed to the Parliamentary Human Resources & Social Development Standing Committee, chaired by Dr. Fenton Ferguson. Dr. Knox Hagley and Mrs. Deborah Chen spoke on the importance of the Caribbean Tobacco Control Project, after which Dellie-Ann Green and Sharryl Spence spoke on behalf of the Campion team. Their primary purpose was to represent the youth view on the matter, incorporating activities held on Jamaica’s first “Kick Butts Day” – an international day for youth advocacy, speaking out against ‘Big Tobacco’. A slide show of images was shared as well as the short video clip featuring Campion views on smoking. Parliamentarians were also given copies of the three petitions drafted by Campionites: one moving for smoke-free public spaces, the second urging graphic image placement on cigarette packaging, and the third asking for stronger laws related to tobacco control in Jamaica.
There was a very warm response to the presentation on the whole and to Campion in particular. Our young speakers were both articulate and passionate – seemingly unfazed at being the first young Campionites to address Parliament in this capacity. Technical support was ably provided by Alecia Maragh and Melissa Munroe. Other members of the Campion group were seated in the gallery and included Rachel Bartlett, Mark-Shawnya Barnett, Jeneill Codner and Kisheen McLune. Also present were Mrs. Grace Baston (Principal) and Ms. Kathryn Stewart (Faculty Advisor).