Rhyesa Joseph and Ezbai Francis are the queens of debating for 2013, after they won the finals of the National Debating Competition earlier this month. The two young ladies, who represented Vieux Fort South at the competition, are definitely two young women of great potential. At age twenty, Rhyesa Joseph already works as an intern information assistant at the Government Information Service (GIS). Ezbai Francis, nineteen, who is a
teacher at the Choiseul Secondary School, won the award for Most Outstanding Speaker through all her rounds of debating at the competition including the finals. This propelled her to be the recipient of the award of Most Outstanding Speaker overall. Through interacting with the two, it was evident they are confident, enthusiastic, highly motivated, and of course, they know how to speak! We had a chat with the two promising ladies, on their experience of participating in the National Debating Competition.
STAR: What does it mean being able to take the home the trophy for your community , council and to you personally?
RJ: It means a lot representing our community, family, friends and the youth in a positive and constructive light. It felt good for me personally, because I placed a great deal of time and effort into this debate, and it is great to be reaping the rewards.
STAR: What were the challenges that you faced in preparation for the competition, and throughout, leading up to the finals?
RJ: Challenges were centered mainly in terms of managing time and conducting in-depth, quality research.
STAR: Congratulations on receiving the Most Outstanding Speaker award. What does debating mean to you personally, is it a hobby, or is this your first time participating in such a competition?
EF: Debating has always been a hobby and an activity I have participated in from a very young age. My parents always encouraged me to participate in public speaking in primary school, and the love grew through secondary school and tertiary education.
STAR: What is your opinion on the current status of debating in Saint Lucia?
EF: Debating in Saint Lucia is still in its infant stages. It is not yet widely recognized, but hopefully with this competition, interests will be piqued and recognition raised.
STAR: In your opinion, what does the future hold for debating in Saint Lucia?
EF: Saint Lucia has a plethora of youth who have opinions on issues affecting them, so by opening the door for debating, Saint Lucia will be met with amazing surprises from the minds of our youth.
STAR: What have you gained from this experience?
RJ: I have gained a wide range of life lessons some of which include, a greater appreciation of teamwork, appreciation for community support, family, friends and most of all, God.