The Young Leaders Programme of The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago was created in 1991, though its roots date back to 1981. The aim is to help young people develop leadership skills, learn the value of working as a team and develop projects which benefit the community. Today, almost every secondary school in the country, as well as youth groups, vocational centres and cadet forces participate in Young Leaders.
Through the Programme, students are given six months to complete a project under a theme.
In 1996, Young Leaders chose `The Environment: 21st Century - The Future in Our Hands'. Some of the projects undertaken included paper, glass and plastic recycling schemes, tree planting, cleaning of beaches, rivers and parks, beautifying school compounds, creating jewellery and other utility items from driftwood, paper and other waste materials, and wildlife exhibitions. The Bank had a difficult task in choosing a winner from the many exemplary projects. The Williamsville students project, however, stood out. Inspired by the drowning of a student and his sister when the garbage-choked Guayacare River overflowed, the school decided to clear the River. The students spoke to villagers, undertook research on water pollution and tested the quality of the water. They wrote newspaper articles and produced TV programmes and posters. Signs were erected and the people signed petitions which were presented to the Government to prevent further dumping. Most importantly, systems were put in place ensuring the continuity of the project.
"In this its 25th anniversary year and the tenth anniversary of the Global 500 Roll of Honour, UNEP is proud to recognize the achievements of these individuals and organizations", says UNEP's Executive Director, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
"In honouring them, UNEP hopes that their examples will inspire and guide many other young people to join the global coalition dedicated to protecting the environment", adds Ms. Dowdeswell.
The award will be presented in Seoul, Republic of Korea at the World Environment Day ceremonies on 5 June 1997. This day was established by the United Nations General Assembly to focus global attention and action on environmental issues.
Some 654 individuals and organizations, including 30 in the youth category, have been honoured since UNEP launched the Global 500 award in 1987. Among prominent past winners are: French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau; Sir David Attenborough, producer of environmental television programmes; Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Anil Aggarwal, the prominent environmentalist from India; Ken Saro- Wiwa, the environmental and human rights activist from Nigeria who was executed for leading the resistance of the Ogoni People against the pollution of their Delta homeland; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Jimmy Carter, for President of the United States; and the late Chico Mendes, the Brazilian rubber tapper who was murdered during his fight to save the Amazon forest.
To forge global links and to implement ideas which can contribute to a more sustainable future, a network of all Global 500 laureates has been formed.
The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.
Corporate Marketing Department
Royal Court, Park Street
P.O. Box 287
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (809) 623 1322
Fax: (809) 623 2081
UNEP News Release 1997/44