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Nov 18, 2013

The first National Secondary School Oil Debate Competition in Belize

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage is hosting the first National Secondary School Oil Debate Competition in Belize. Nine schools from across the country are going up against each other to see which will emerge as the national debate champion. This morning the Central Region Competition was held at the Institute of Creative Arts. The Belize Rural High School and the Belize High School debated the topic – Nationalization of Belize’s oil industry would bring more benefits from oil revenues for Belizeans. Freelance reporter Mike Rudon was at the Bliss for the first of its kind debate event and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning, two teams of five members each provided evidence to support their arguments for and against the nationalization of Belize’s oil industry. The forum was a debate competition, the brainchild of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage.


Judy Waight

Judy Waight, Education Outreach Office, Coalition

“This idea came about because we wanted to start having the discussion on oil. We decided that the best way to start was with the high schools, and so that’s what sparked the interest to have the first national oil debate competition that starts today.”


The setting was professional, the debate well organized and the arguments spirited. It was obvious that all parties involved put a lot of work and time into the project. One of the main objectives is to enhance the discussion on Belize’s oil industry – so while the logistics were daunting, the goal is being realized.


Jordanny Williams

Jordanny Williams, Belize High School

“Nigeria is one of the countries that has nationalized its oil industry

But this nationalization has not really brought any rewards because there have been thousands of deaths because of this industry and also oil spills occur very frequently and they can’t account for this. And also because they focused so much on this one industry they forgot about other industries that were thriving at the time that they nationalized such as the agricultural sector and now they’re trying to bring back that sector into the government picture but they can’t really because of all the turmoil that that industry has caused.”


Judy Waight

“The debate itself was a lot of work in terms of the coordinating, the planning, speaking with the schools, sending out information, in terms of the letters and informing them that it was one month to prepare and then following up with judging criteria, getting our judges together, moderator, tabulator, timekeeper so it was a lot of work.”


After opening, rebuttal and closing arguments were presented by both sides, the judges deliberated for some time before acknowledging the Belize High School as the debate champion for the central region. Jordanny Williams is the group leader. His team argued against the nationalization of the oil industry.


Jordanny Williams

“Every Wednesday we have extra-curricular and as part of the debate club we practice and also with Dr. Tun’s classes, we took some and we used those to practice as well so it was about three or four weeks of practice and also research and so forth.”


Isabel Tun

Dr. Isabel Tun, Faculty Advisor, Debate Team, Belize High School

“As soon as we got the invitation, about three weeks to a month we began preparing and our students have been practicing and researching this topic on both sides because they did not know which it would have been since it was based on the flip of a coin.”


James Pollard, Belize Rural High School

“Actually it was a lot of work, a lot of research. The outcome was not bad, it could have been better but we had limited time to prepare and it was like every day from one to three o’clock – the five students including myself that were preparing for this debate, we would gather together, study from our notes, get more research and summarize all we could and get our hands on all the information that we could and we did it for two weeks to prepare for this competition.”


James Pollard

All the information used and disseminated during the debate is the result of research done by the respective teams. The Coalition hosted the event, but felt it more beneficial for the schools to do their own investigation and formulate their own theories on the topic.


Judy Waight

“The coalition did not provide the schools with any information or any research so the debate going on with the information for the opening, rebuttal and closing is based on the research that the schools did.”


James Pollard

“We were into it before we did the research because it is in the news and it is in the interest of both Belizeans. But for the actual debate it was difficult to go ‘for,’ because the majority of the country and the majority of the people were going against the nationalization of the oil industry so going for it was the most difficult part because the information of going ‘for’ was not readily available or was not good enough to go for the pointers that were against.”


Jordanny Williams

“I learned a lot personally from the research more than I knew from before and it really brought in my knowledge of what the topic was discussing.”


The Belize High School debate team now moves on to the semifinals which will be held in January 2014. They will compete against the teams from the north, south and Belmopan to decide who moves on to the nationals. Mike Rudon for News Five.


The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage is hosting the debate in partnership with business and organizations from across the country who are assisting with sponsorship.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “The first National Secondary School Oil Debate Competition in Belize”

  1. Belizean says:

    where is the “for” side of the story eh? Man I tell there is media manipulation big time here!

  2. Barley Blair says:

    Congrats to BHS. Really good things coming from that school

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