Ian K Ramdhanie, msC,
The competition was close, but after the dust had settled, Bishop Anstey High School, Port-of-Spain, walked away with the title of Republic Bank RS Teen Great Debate champions 2014. The final leg of the competition was held on June 7 at the YTEPP Head Office in Chaguanas.
The duo who debated for the motion, be it resolved that students should be held legally responsible for bullying in schools, beat last year’s winners, Trinity College, Moka into second spot, a release from Republic Bank said.
Hye Ji Lee and Leighla Waterman took home the first prize of $7,500 and the challenge trophy, while both Trinity College and third place winners, ASJA Girls’ College, San Fernando received a cash prize of $6,500 and $5,500 respectively. ASJA Girls College was represented by Nanyamkah Wilson, Chelsea Ramnarinesingh and Arielle Ramadharsingh.
Setting the stage for the first round was Bishop Anstey High School who debated against the motion, while ASJA Girls’ College, San Fernando, debated for the motion. Top debater Arielle Ramadarsingh, of ASJA, was in a fiery mood as she voiced her concerns about rehabilitation, saying that students who committed these acts, should be rehabilitated and not incarcerated.
Delivering remarks on behalf of Republic Bank, Michelle Palmer-Kezier, general manager, Group Marketing and Communications, called upon the students to use the debate as a stepping stone, as they played their part to end school violence.
She added, “In Trinidad we have been hearing, with increasing frequency, reports of bullying. And while, in the larger societies, efforts at tackling the problem of bullying involve the use of the legal system, here we are still faced with a question of how to address the issue; we wonder whether bullying should only involve penalties like suspension or expulsion or whether it should be addressed in a court of law.”
Citing both international and local statistics, Leighla, said young people must be held responsible for their actions, as this behavior placed a dent in the social fabric of society. “Bullying and violence is a growing epidemic not only locally and internationally but globally as well. We must hold these young people accountable for their actions. This way we can make them pay for their actions,” she said.
Joshua Phillips of Trinity Boys Moka, opened his speech said bullying is not a new phenomenon, as it has been a repeated action from since the beginning of time. He suggested that both the teachers and parents need to put a handle on children. “What are the teachers doing about bullying? Are parents disciplining their young ones, when it comes to bullying?” he asked.
Supporting his colleague, Joshua Constantine, stated that it was the responsibility of the both the school and the parents to take a greater role in the lives of these children and not leave it up to the judicial system to discipline their children.
Providing entertainment were, Republic Bank’s Calypso Ruction winner, Curlisa Charles, Two Cent Movement and Jeromy Rodriguez, reigning international Junior Soca Caribbean Champion 2013 and the founder and president of the Anti-Bullying Association of T&T.
The three schools came in for high praise by the judges for their strong and well delivered debates.
This is the third year Republic Bank has collaborated with Families in Action, to host the RS Teen Great Debate competition.
Republic Bank Limited remains committed to the development of the nation’s youth through this Great Debate and congratulates all the schools who participated in the competition.