Belize’s top awardees in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) were honoured last week. Their fellows from around the Caribbean have come to Belize for the annual meetings of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and award ceremony for their own efforts. Belize’s top candidate, Nisa Sanchez, formerly of E.P. Yorke High School, garnered 16 passes in the May/June examinations, but the region’s most outstanding candidate is Antigua and Barbuda’s Brandon Judnarine, who managed 21 grade one passes and a grade 2 in Technical Drawing. The group met yesterday with Belize’s Minister of Education and Youth Patrick Faber and Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Minister Faber spoke to the awardees about the importance of their achievements and those who helped get them to this point:
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education and Youth: I said to them in the ceremony that we may need to raise the bar a bit because it seems that, while it’s not all together easy, it’s easier than when we first issued the challenge and that first student made 15. But we’re glad to have you here like I said. We are pleased to be in such distinguished academic company. It’s exciting because, when I get the chance, as you’ve heard I’ve been Minister of Education for a while, but when I get the chance to do the ceremonies of doing the awards, you see young people. I see them at the Primary school level, the secondary level, I see them at the tertiary level and you get to watch them blossom and become productive citizens of Belize and that for me is very exciting for me when you could identify the top performers and watch them and track them. I’m sure that on your perspective countries that is what has been happening. I’m sure it is an absolutely proud moment for your parents and your families and the people who support you. And I remind you not to be ungrateful to them, might be painful sometimes but you love them and appreciate them for the support that they’ve given you.
And the Prime Minister joined in, encouraging them to see more of Belize:
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: I want to add my voice to that of welcome to that of the Minister. We’re very proud to have you in our country. From the little I’ve heard I know you have been going about a bit. You certainly visited some of the Mayan Ruins tomorrow. But you’re aware of how much we value our heritage and our cultural legacy and indeed there is a great deal to see here and there is a great deal that we can be proud of.