Ecumenical Junior College takes gold cup in Social Security National Debate Print E-mail
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Thursday, 04 May 2017 00:00

This year’s Social Security National Finals Debate was held at the Bliss Center for Performing Arts on Friday, April 28, 2017. The very pertinent debate topic focused on the border issue between Belize and Guatemala. Even more than debating the border issue, the debaters from Independence Junior College and Ecumenical Junior College debated whether or not Belize should take the case to the International Court of Justice, and why or why not.

Derrick Morgan, Manager, Independence Branch Office, Social Security Board, expressed that he was pleased with the relevance of the topic being debated. He also said that despite any cultural or religious differences, he is satisfied that we can all come together to address the topic. Morgan considered the debate a “launch pad” and a “valuable space for public discourse.”

The judges and moderator were introduced by Gayle Ozaeta, Senior Communications Officer, Social Security Board, and Janice Eiley, Communications Officer, Social Security Board. Vanessa Retrege, attorney at law, Brenda Armstrong, career educator, Kim Aikman, CEO, Chamber of Commerce, Julianne Ellis-Bradley, lawyer, and Ambassador David Gibson all judged the points of the debaters. Dr. Leroy Almendarez had the task of moderating the event. Almendarez also introduced the debaters, alternates, and judges and familiarized the audience with the process of the debate.

The teams participated in a coin toss to determine what side would take the affirmative stance in the debate and what team would take the negative. IJC won the coin toss and chose to debate the affirmative. IJC opened the debate and EJC rebutted, and so the debate carried on. After the very imformative debate, the audience were given the floor to ask the debaters questions relevant to the topic at hand. During this time, scores were tallied and tabulated.

In an interview with the Communications Officer on the Board at Social Security, Eiley expressed that the purpose of the third annual debate was to “offer a platform” on which young persons can have a voice on topics that affect us socially, economically, and internationally. This year’s topics, like all other years’, were submitted by the schools that participated in the preliminary phase of the debate and the final topic was chosen at random. At the inception of this year’s debate, there were eight participating schools, a decrease from last year’s, that were randomly partnered, and debate by debate, six of the eight schools were eliminated, leaving IJC and EJC to debate at the finals.

Eiley wished that beside taking home the prizes that the debaters would take home knowledge above anything else. The debates generally require extensive research and Eiley was impressed with the level of confidence and knowledge displayed by the debaters in each round.

After tabulation, the winning debate team was announced. Before the winning team was announced, Perla Nunez, of the EJC team, was awarded the best debater. Ecumenical Junior College came out successful in the debate and were ecstatic to receive the news. Their success was met with drumming and prizes. The prizes consisted of laptops to each member on the winning team along with a gold cup. Each member of the other team received an iPad. Each school that participated in the finals received a projector and the coaches each received a small stipend.