The much-publicized fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Canelo Alvarez wasn’t the only heated battle taking place last weekend. There was some local sparring, albeit verbal, as the first round of debates came to a conclusion at the National Youth Debating Competition. The recently resurrected activity is a joint effort between the National Youth Council and the National Lotteries Authority, as well as the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
Wendell Bertrande, General Secretary of the National Youth Council, mapped out the process.
“The National Youth Council has collaborated with the National Lotteries Authority in bringing back debates to the communities through the District Youth and Sports Councils. It was planned, organized, there were also training sessions for those who would be participating in the debate as well as those who are officiating. Each council had to send four nominees to represent them at the debates, submit four names. After that stage we are going into the second round of debates. From 16 participating in the first round down to eight councils.”
Office Manager at the NLA, Mellisa Augustin, shared the reasoning behind the decision to support this initiative.
“There were a number of issues in the media, one of them being the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana and that was our first topic. We felt that a lot of these issues were things that the youth wanted to address, they wanted answers. Some people wanted to find out whether this was the right move. So we felt if we asked the youth to come and debate on this topic maybe we could generate some feedback from the public, from the media, from government as to the next way forward.”
The topics were selected by a planning committee from the NYC and NLA and include ‘the Anti-gang legislation and youth violence’, ‘teenagers and access to contraceptives as a tool against STIs and teenage pregnancy’, ‘the decriminalisation of marijuana’, and ‘international relations for St. Lucia’s development’.
Augustin says the NLA is open to future projects with the NYC team. “At this point we haven’t discussed this far. But if NYC does intend on going ahead with this as an annual event, we can consider later on.” The results from the weekend were as follows: Gros-Islet defeated Babonneau, Castries East defeated Castries North, Castries South defeated Anse la Raye, Soufriere defeated Canaries, Choiseul defeated Laborie, Vieux-Fort South defeated Vieux Fort North, Dennery defeated Mon Repos, and Mabouya Valley defeated Desruisseaux.