Belair High takes National Tourism Debate trophy

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EVEN before Belair High’s Tamia Coley and team entered the Montego Bay room at Iberostar, the audience had anticipated an intellectual showdown for the final match in the renewal of the National Tourism Debate.

Coley had already won best speaker in the preliminary rounds held at S Hotel, and her delivery set the stage for what was to come.

Belair was up against Charlemont High, the two arguing the moot: “A state of emergency in St James is nothing more than a band aid for a crime-infested parish, and the situation will get worse once the SOE is lifted”. Charlemont proposed the moot while Belair opposed.

After three rounds of discussion and a rebuttal, the panel of adjudicators, including chief judge, attorney-at-law Stacy Ann Williams; tourism stakeholder Nadine Spence; and veteran journalist Clinton Pickering declared Belair the winner.

“The National Tourism Debate is critical to the industry, owing to honest dialogue that these young participants present during discourse,” said moderator Janet Silvera. “Having spent the last 30 years in the tourism sector, I am of the opinion that their opinions and commentary need to be packaged by the Ministry of Tourism. They are unofficial advisors and see the sector differently from adults. We could learn a lot from them. This initiative needs sponsorship support from both the TEF and the tourism ministry. It should also appear on their calendar of events.”

As the winning school, Belair went back to Mandeville with a cheque for $100,000, along with a trophy and other sectional prizes. Belair and Charlemont received prizes from Chukka, Rose Hall Great House and Android Market, while Tamia Coley received a one-month paid internship at Margaritaville’s corporate office, and Ronaldo Morris from Ocho Rios High was rewarded as best speaker for season one of the competition.

Belair High also received the Anglin Global teamwork plaque for displaying Best Teamwork.

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