Its among the current rallying cries and slang phrases in the inner city and beyond. Actually short for "General!" ( a mark of respect derived from the Army's highest rank), its seen as a positive label, even in sometimes used in reference to some less than positive models.
Young Altino Standburey sees himself as definitely a positive model, albeit a quiet one. The unassuming 12-year old prefers to let his creativity speak for him, and this, coupled with his desire for the prize money - and the opportunity to expose his talent - prompted him to enter the 9th annual Youth Gambling Prevention All-Island Poster competition.
The competition is an outreach of RISE Life management Services which has pioneered interventions for responsible gaming practices, just as it has led the way in helping individuals combat other addictions (the organization began 25 years ago as Addiction Alert). The Poster competition has, as Exec Director Sonita Abrhams says, played an important role in sensitizing youth (and their parents) islandwide to the dangers of underage gambling and garner greater support and public buy-in for its overall Responsible Gambling programme. It is presented with the support of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission and Supreme Ventures Limited.
Standburey's concept was informed, as he explained, haltingly, by the advice of his Guidance Counsellor at Denham Town Primary, who placed the poster competition and the specific issue againstthe backdrop of broader social concerns, such as violence in and outside schools campuses, strengthening family structures and the tendencies toward criminality that come with premature exposure to gaming. He decided to take the "general" concept literally by recreating a "wall of fame" with past Governors-General and including the present one, Sir Patrick Allen.
Cleverly, Standburey added one more frame at the end, a self-portrait, with the caption "Altino Standburey - General in the Making". Its an intriguing prop, in that it combines a number of principles. First, it identifies the artist with positive role models (as represented by the present and previous Governors-General) and declares that he too, is ready to be a positive influence, on his peers and on the nation (the posters are exhibited in Libraries across the island). It breaks with the typical line of posters of this type - where the ill is shown, along with the consequences, the latter made to look as dire as possible (another entry was nearly all skeletons). Its also just a little bit cocky, but just enough, given his shy ,retiring manner, to make one admire him. That 12-year old - and further, a boy (given the ongoing gender imbalance) can apply this much foresight and conceptual rigor is a source of much hope, especially for this writer.
Stanburey's entry tied for 10th in the judging, first place (also a tie) going to two other Denham Town cohorts, Patrick Frater and Shantae Dyer. Unfortunate perhaps, but nonetheless, he has nothing to be despondent about. Through his excellent representation of the theme, Altino Standburey has made some powerful statements that the public and officialdom - the latter represented at the award ceremony by Asst Supt Coleridge Minto of the Safety and Security in Schools programme - would do very well to heed.