By S. Williams

They say good things don’t last forever, but the Leeward Island Debating Competition (LIDC) proves to be the exception.

The annual event which first took place in 1972, will over the weekend host its 45th edition at the Nevis Performing Arts Center. The event will run from the 23rd to 26th of February, beginning at 6:30 pm nightly. According to Edson Elliott, Principal of the Charlestown Secondary School and the Nevis Sixth Form College, Nevis has been involved in the competition since the 1980’s and the last three occasions that the competition was hosted in Nevis were in 2000, 2004 and 2010.

Teams from seven different islands arrived in Nevis on Wednesday and Thursday, and will debate issues germane to the region. At a press conference held at the Credit Union Conference Room on Thursday 23rd February from 10:00 am, local sponsors officially handed over presentations to representatives of the Nevis Literary and Debating Society and participants of the competition were interviewed.

Among them were aspirants for future lawyers, businessmen and politicians. What they all had in common however was their love for “arguing” not just for the sake of debating but to have well thought out, meaningful discussions. The islands represented at the press conference were Nevis, St. Kitts, Monsterrat, Anguilla, St. Maarteen and the British Virgin Island. The defending champions Antigua were expected to arrive later in the day to defend their title which they won in St. Maarten last year.

Last week the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) Board of Counsellors contributed $10,000 towards the hosting of the LIDC. Principal Elliott was presented with the cheque by Chairman of the Board Dr. Dr. Robertine Chaderton at a ceremony at the Ministry of Finance conference room in Charlestown, for which he expressed gratitude and highlighted the importance of the competition as an extra-curricular activity for students.

“We like to have things like these for our youths. We know the challenges these days in dealing with our youths but we think that pleasant competitions like these are good things,” he said.

Meantime, Hon. Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis who is also the Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), said it was good that CSS, one of the better schools in the region, is hosting the LIDC. He thanked the SIFD for its support in the development of the young people of Nevis.

On Night 1 – Debate 1, St. Kitts will go up against St. Maarten on the topic “The high cost of youth unemployment relief programmes outweigh the benefits.

On Night 2 – Debate 2, Nevis will face Monstarrat on the topic “The global rise in anti-immigration sentiments is justified.” For Debate 3 that same night, it will be BVI vs. Anguilla on the topic “Caribbean educational practices lag far behind other regions.”

On Night 3 the winner of Debate 1 will face Antigua on the topic “Caribbean cyber-crime legislation will lead to the suppression of free expression. For Debate 2 that same night, the winner of Debate 2 will face off against the winner of Debate 3 on the topic “Lack of emphasis on the arts will be detrimental to human development in the Caribbean.

Night 4 will feature the winner of Debate 4 vs. the winner of Debate 5 for the final showdown on the topic “The atrocity of our age is the billions of dollars spent on sports” after which a winner can be decided.

The last time that the Nevis team won the competition was in 2011 when the competition was held in the British Virgin Islands. Principal Elliot is optimistic that they can retake the title this year and urges persons to come out and support the young people.