Features — 20 February 2016 — by Johnelle McKenzie

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 15, 2016–On Friday, February 12, the University of the West Indies Open Campus and St. John’s Junior College debated, “Be it resolved that birthright citizenship in the US be abolished.” The debate was held at St. John’s Junior College and the moderator for the occasion was Dr. Leroy Almendarez.

St. John’s Junior College, represented by Erin Garnett, Tori Lord, Renata Samuels, Martha Mejia, Kory Leslie and Sydney Medina, emerged victorious.

Gayle Ozaeta, Communications Officer for Social Security Board, told Amandala that this is Social Security Board’s second annual debate among junior colleges. Ozaeta said that the idea for the debate came up at Social Security Board’s 34th Anniversary, where they were trying to come up with activities that would engage the community, and at the same time contribute towards national development. The tertiary debate seemed to fulfill those requirements. It proved to be such a big success that it was brought back by popular demand, Ozaeta said.

Ozaeta said that in last year’s competition, St. John’s Junior College was victorious. Ozaeta noted that the competition has grown from last year, which had four institutions participate; this year, as many as ten institutions are participating.

This year’s first debate started in the North between Corozal Junior College and Belize Adventist Junior College, and the topic was, “Media sensationalism is distorting our reality.”

Corozal Junior College won that competition and was represented by Ashley Longsworth, Elva Pérez, Hanna Lee, Giselle Vargas, Digna Ramirez, Mikael Gilharry and Damari Tesucum.

The next competition will see schools from the western region compete, and is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17, at the Sacred Heart Junior College.  There will be two debates on that day, Ozaeta said.

“The first competition on that day will be between John Paul II Junior College and University of Belize, and the second will be between Galen University and Sacred Heart Junior College,” Ozaeta said.

Then on Friday, February 19, Ecumenical Junior College and Independence Junior College will compete.

The National Championship is scheduled for April 12, 2016. There will be a scholarship awarded for the most outstanding debater and other prizes.

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