St. Kitts defeats Anguilla in opening debate of Leeward Islands Competition

The topic up for debate last night was “Blacklisting Caribbean countries is a modern form of slavery”. The moot was proposed by the Anguillian team while St. Kitts had the task of opposing the subject.

The St. Kitts team which was drawn from the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, won by a small margin of only 8 points, with a total of 459 while Anguilla amassed only 451 points.

The announcement of St. Kitts as the winner caused the audience, led by the supporting cast of CFB students and lecturers, to erupt in loud applause as they waived the National Flag of the country. It was a moment of triumph for the “Sugar Team” as they embraced each other and shared “high fives” taking in the joy of this first taste of success, knowing that the journey was far from over, with more tough battles to come.

However all was not lost for Anguilla because their second presenter, Ms. Decora Bannister, was adjudged Best Speaker for Thursday night’s debate. It was felt that she made best use of all faculties in presenting and did not appear rehearsed and was able to demonstrate a good command of the material. She also had excellent voice modulation, utilizing tones and inflections, which were all evident. The debater was also able to highlight key points, using appropriate expressions accompanied by supporting body language.

The judges applauded the debaters for what they said was a very high standard, with arguments that were clearly evidence based and relevant. They did however state that there were some areas, that could have been explored to further enhance the arguments of both sides.

For example, it was felt by the judges that the debaters should have pointed out that the standards set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, and the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, applied to all countries and not just the Caribbean.

They should have also touched on the cost of regulating which is quite high, said the representative from the judge’s pool. No mention was also made on the impact that “black listing” could do to a particular country. In Montserrat, for instance, it damaged the island’s reputation for a number of years.

The judges also advised that the participants could have explored or mention the concept of globalization and the associated positive and negative externalities and its impact. They also felt that the work of the OECD and the Financial Action Task Force could have been explained more fully, so that everyone listening had an opportunity to know what work they carryout, especially in terms of the OECD and its link to the G-20 countries and their policy-making body.

There was no emphasis on the genesis of the financial services centers in the Caribbean and the fact that they were established to assist the countries in meeting their financial obligations when the relationship between the European countries and the Caribbean, in terms of banana and other agricultural products was curtailed and they had to finds new ways of financing their economies.

These points of guidance were raised by the judges, not to diminish the high quality of debate from both Anguilla and St. Kitts, but merely to point to some extra arguments that could have been incorporated.

Earlier in the evening the competition was declared open by the Governor of Montserrat, Adrian Davis, while remarks were provided by Premier Reuben Meade and the President of the Montserrat Debating Society, Tiffanie Skerritt.

Over the course of this weekend the delegates will be engaged in a number of day time and evening activities for both visiting and host debaters and accompanying students of the various sixth forms of the high schools drawn from participating territories such as Anguilla, Antigua, Nevis, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, and hosts territory, Montserrat.

On Thursday they were taken on a hike to the center hills of Montserrat, and on Friday they will be taken on a boat tour around the island, during which they would be able to take in some of the sites of the volcano ravaged island, including the old capital, Plymouth. There will also be a tour of the island on land, giving the visitors especially a more intimate perspective of the beauty of Montserrat. On Saturday they will also visit the Montserrat Volcano Observatory to get a first-hand experience of the work carried out there by the scientists who are tasked with keeping a close watch on the active Soufriere Hills Volcano, which erupted on 18th July, 1995.

It destroyed the southern part of the island, including the old Georgian style capital Plymouth, and two thirds of the island. Montserratians therefore now live on only one third of the 39 square mile island.

On Sunday the debaters will be worshipping at the Catholic Church in Look Out, giving them another opportunity to meet ordinary Montserratians.

The competition continues tonight (Friday, 28th February), when Nevis takes on the British Virgin Islands on the subject, “A college education is becoming less important to the success of Caribbean youths”, and St. Marten comes up against Montserrat, with the moot being, “The Caribbean Diaspora builds societies abroad and so has little value for the region”.

The 2014 competition will culminate on Sunday 2nd March.



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