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St George's in final of Secondary Schools Debate

- overcomes VISTS while arguing on the topic ‘Media censorship is needed in the BVI’
The successful St George's Secondary School (SGSS) debaters last night, Monday February 20, 2017 at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, in Paraquita Bay. Photo: VINO
Debaters of the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) paying keen attention as the Proposition stated their arguments. Photo: VINO
Debaters of the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) paying keen attention as the Proposition stated their arguments. Photo: VINO
St George’s Secondary School’s Kiymeiah Millington was voted Best Speaker. Photo: VINO
St George’s Secondary School’s Kiymeiah Millington was voted Best Speaker. Photo: VINO
Members of the audience at the Ministry of Education and Culture Inter-Secondary Schools’ Debate 2017 semi-finals at Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Paraquita Bay on Monday February 20, 2017. Photo: VINO
Members of the audience at the Ministry of Education and Culture Inter-Secondary Schools’ Debate 2017 semi-finals at Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Paraquita Bay on Monday February 20, 2017. Photo: VINO
PARAQUITA BAY, Tortola, VI- The three-student-team of the St George's Secondary School (SGSS) emerged winners last night, Monday February 20, 2017 when the semi-finals of the Secondary Schools Debating Competition were held at the Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium, H. Lavitty Stoutt Community College, in Paraquita Bay.

Following a powerful presentation proposing the topic: Media censorship is needed in the BVI,” the St George’s Secondary debaters were given the nod over their competitors, Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS).

They will now move to the final round slated for March 15, 2017.

The proposition’s team from SGSS was represented by Kiymeiah Millington, Hunter Christopher and Le’Amoi Biggs, while the opposition of VISTS debaters were Anya Stevens, Gracelyn Pickering and Noah Spencer.

The judging criteria were based on the soundness of points, logical development, audibility and clarity, personality, and command of the material.

Beginning with a quote from Malcolm X, that the media is so powerful an entity that they can make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent because they control the minds of the masses, the first speaker of the Proposition St George’s Secondary School, Kiymeiah Millington, who also swept the best Speaker award, painted the following picture:

“Breaking News! Breaking News! Female brutally raped and beaten, her name and the gruesome video follow below; Is this what we would like for our beautiful British Virgin Islands? Is this the dismal future we want for our upcoming generation?” she asked.

Millington argued that censorship is about providing barriers and principles to safeguard citizens from obscene and unacceptable content. She portrayed a psychological background of censorship and indicated that censorship has been around since the beginning of time and the abuse of press freedom is a major reason why censorship is needed.

Protecting the rights of all citizens, media included

“We the members of the proposition have concluded that the concept of censorship of the media has often times been interpreted as taking away the rights of the media, we declare that the two terms are not synonymous. In fact, the two terms are comparable to chalk and cheese. Rather than censorship taking away the rights of the media, censorship is really protecting the rights of all citizens, the media, as well as those it writes and speaks about.”

Millington stated that it is a mechanism to ensure that the media does not trample on the rights of citizens in the name of “breaking news.”

Is the media greater, more powerful than everyone?

Millington pointed out that Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Nurses, Preachers, Bankers are guided by legal and moral codes of conduct, adding that as citizens they also censor their politicians and vote accordingly.

“Essentially censorship is a requirement for all members of civil society. Are we implying that the media is greater and more powerful than anyone else and so does not require guidelines for its operations? The media can totally destroy or create a person if they want.”  

She said what the media wants is controversy, even to the point of exaggerating the report for higher ratings, rather a freedom of the press is a responsibility and must be carried out responsibly and with dignity, calling for a legislation to be put in place to address the issue.

Censorship will erode democracy

Meantime, Opposition VISTS debater Anya Stevens, calling it a relevant and sensitive issue, argued that censorship as a global phenomenon which could have far reaching complications as it relates to small democratic countries like the VI.

She instead urged for the lobbying of legislation for the Freedom of Information Act, which, she believes, may even reduce the amount of speculation being published on the blogs and the Human Rights Council to be put in place, which would promote good governance in the territory.

“We the opposing team believes that it is not the appropriate time to introduce such drastic legislation at this particular period in our small state developing economy. If the media is further censored in the VI, it will erode the democratic process that our forefathers have fought tirelessly for.”

Other points put forward were that censoring the media would be modifying the truth and hindering creativity.

Several members of the audience also voiced their opinions on either side of the debate.

5 Responses to “St George's in final of Secondary Schools Debate”

  • Watching on (21/02/2017, 11:54) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    once they do not censor VINO or else we will be blend to the corruption on going
    • tell all (22/02/2017, 22:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      But what about the other debate? I hear that was to be a real thriller with the champs Elmore Stoutt facing the up and coming Claudia Creque. . Who won that one? VINO tell us all. we want to know the whole story. Congratulations for bringing uu this but give us the whole story.
  • Lay man (21/02/2017, 12:13) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    An excellent topic, but parents need to support the debates
  • dog (21/02/2017, 12:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    excellent debate. all the more reason for the freedom of information act if not for press conferences. How else will reporters get to fact-check? Reporting news also comes with responsibility and SELF-discretion and thoughtfulness- empathy, good will and accuracy. If there is a mistake- print a retraction. Those offended should also look at their role and interpretation of a news story. Maybe emotion is also a hazard in reporting.

    Here is a perfect situation. This news site focuses on the performance of the students and arguments of a touchy subject while another news site is rather provocative with their headline focusing on Censorship of the Media as the lead. The headline is misleading....
  • SGSS (21/02/2017, 13:29) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wonderful job ladies! You guys are making St. George's extremely proud.


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