Youth express transparency through art

Artistic expressions of young people were a focal point of the recent ‘Creating a Culture of Transparency: Revenue Reporting’ conference sponsored by energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus.

In an effort to encourage the participation of young people in the practice of transparency and accountability, bpTT and UWI organised a visual arts and short-film competition developed along the conference’s theme.

Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT, was pleased with the response of students to the competition. “This is the third year we’re hosting this conference and each year we try to expand the avenues for youth participation. Although we are laying the groundwork, it will be their job to take these initiatives forward in the process of making transparency and accountability an indispensible part of our cultural framework,” Francis explained.

Submissions came from various age-groups representing students from secondary schools and tertiary institutions across Trinidad and Tobago. The high quality of the submissions made judging a difficult proposition for Robert Yao Ramesar, in the film category, and Tessa Alexander, in visual arts. Prizes were presented to the winners by Norman Christie, Regional President, bpTT, during the opening ceremony for the two-day conference held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel earlier this month.

Nafeesa Ali of St. Stephen’s College, Princes Town, was the winner in the 15-19 age-group in the visual arts competition with her depiction of ‘The Role of Transparency in an Information Society’. “I take every opportunity given to participate in championing transparency and accountability. In fact I am the president of A Brighter T&T Foundation - a non-governmental organisation formed by like-minded young people who want to transform our country. In doing research for this competition I learnt a lot, and being present at the conference itself, opened my mind to new avenues for the way forward,” Ali said.

Dr. Roger Hosein, senior economics lecturer and head of UWI’s TEDU, was enthusiastic about the participation of young people. “Transparency and accountability are two key ingredients for a healthy society. Indeed, getting the youth involved in the conversations around these key issues and even more in adhering to transparent practices is a step in the right direction. The TEDU is happy to partner with bpTT facilitating our nation’s youth to develop their own sense of expression as relates to transparency and accountability,” Dr. Hosein said.