Latest update March 25th, 2023 12:57 AM
Dec 04, 2008 News
After a captivating debate session which lasted for just about one hour, Aurora Secondary School of Region Two emerged the victor when the finals in the J.O.F. Haynes debating competition concluded yesterday at the National Cultural Centre. The losing finalist was New Amsterdam Secondary.
The best speaker of the competition, Sonia Latchman, was also drawn from Aurora Secondary.
The champion team–which had as its members Petronella McIntosh, Sonia Latchman and Rayshma Dasrath–faced off with Sheneeza Jafarally, John Richards and Ron Ragnauth of New Amsterdam Secondary in Region Six.
With sterling presentations, the Aurora team was able to convince the judges that ‘the development of Guyana would be hastened through the enhancement of resources for the Technical/Vocational Programmes’.
It was articulated by the members of the proposing team that Guyana would be better able to manage its human and material resources if it could produce its own investors and inventors through the skills programmes.
However, although their presentations fell short of the judges’ expectation, the opposing New Amsterdam team examined various scenarios in detail to illustrate that Tech Voc programmes could in no way prove to be the answer to hasten development.
The debaters from that school pointed out that the moot of the proposition was in fact “cheap rhetoric”, which could perhaps be realised some time in the future but not in a hurry.
The three-member team of judges included Ms Gentian Miller as Chief Judge along with Ms Coreen Jacobs and Mr Olato Sam.
According to Ms Miller, who presented the judges’ report, the debate was quite informative. There was a certain level of research which she said was very commendable.
She pointed out, though, that there were instances of grammatical errors, mispronunciations and problems with enunciations and sentence constructions, which however did not take away from the teams’ efforts to present their respective moots.
The competition commenced with a moment of silence in honour of Education Official, Geoff Smith, who passed away recently. He was the first moderator of the competition which started last September as part of the observance of Education Month.
Smith’s wife, Ms Sandra Smith, was presented with a plaque in remembrance of Smith’s contributions to the education sector.
Former St Joseph Headmistress, Ms Ingrid Fung, was tasked with moderating yesterday’s competition.
In her overview of the competition, Senior Education Officer, Ms Bonita Hunter, said that communication in whatever form is at the core of humanity.
She noted that how persons communicate with each other in essence shapes their lives and by extension, the world.
“We all rely on our communicative skills as we confront events that challenge our flexibility, integrity, expressiveness and our ability to think critically. Our progress as a people depends on our learning to understand each other.
To this end we need to interact with each other to develop ideas and solve problems and the forum of debate provides such a situation…,” she said.
Minister within the Education Ministry, Dr Desrey Fox, who addressed the gathering of students, noted that it is quite admirable to see the number of children that choose to be involved in activities such as debating competitions.
“It says to me that our young people are getting involved in debating relevant topics as these relate to the development of the country and developmental policies. It says that very early in your lives that you are participating in the development of our country.”
The members of the participating debating teams all received certificates of participation and were also in receipt of individual trophies. Latchman was, however, awarded a second trophy for being the best speaker of the competition.
As the champion team, Aurora Secondary will be able to display a shield which now names it (Aurora Secondary) and the other schools that won competitions. With the shield the school will be able to enjoy “bragging rights” for the next year.
All of the students were also presented with engraved pens and books, compliments of Mr Arif Alli, a Guyanese who is associated with Hansib Publishing Company in London, England.
According to Coordinator of the Distance Education and Information Unit, Ms Pauline Stanford, a request for assistance was made to Mr Alli, who did not hesitate to assist since he has a vested interest in the promotion of literacy.
This year marks the 24th year of the debating competition which was created by Joseph Oscar Fitzclarence Haynes who was a renowned orator and lawyer and had a desire to see children utilise their ability to debate on issues of national interest.
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