POND ISLAND:--- A cultural debate was held in line with the Road to St. Martin Day activities. This debate was held between the Hyacinth Richardson Educational Foundation and the Joint team of the Youth Parliament and the Conseil Territorial de Jeunes.
The moot for this debate was tabled as “To be identified as a St. Martiner Cultural Identity is more important than Nationality.
The debate’s program started off by the MC Ms. Amanda Bedminster introducing Ms. Shermina Powell who opened in prayer and she was followed by the 3 winners of the 2016 SXM interscholastic Idols competition singing the SXM song. The event was flanked by a moderator and judges who were very much in tuned with St. Martin’s Culture and nationality.
The teams debated this topic with much enthusiasm as the proposition team was in favor of the moot. They started the debate by elucidating to the fact that various activities, foods, mannerisms, cultural manifestations etc. are what define St. Martiners and therefore Cultural identity is what identifies you as a St. Martiner and not the nationality which is determined by the passport you hold.
The opposition team who was against the moot defended that a person’s nationality is more important than their cultural identity. They started the debate by elucidating and explaining what nationality meant. It was said that Nationality is determined by a person’s citizenship in a country and that nationality is the state of being part of a nation whether by birth or naturalization or ties to a specific nation. In this case for a St. Martiner nationality would be more important because without such you could not be identified with a country.
This debate continued with many reasons why either side was more important and saw the audience being very much engaged in the whole debate. In the end, being that St. Martin is not a nation and as such citizens do not have St. Martin nationality was used by both teams as a part of their arguments both for and against the moot. The focus of the debaters was heavily on the naturalized St. Martiner or St. Martiner of mixed heritage and not on St. Mariners with historical roots to the island. These arguments were also used by both sides to prove their stance on the moot.
This was indeed the intention of the organizers for the audience and debaters to focus on in an attempt to really get the dialogue on defining a St. Martiner going.
The debate consisted of 3 members of each team defending their positions and a researcher who did research for the rebuttals.
The proposition team comprised of: Dawud Chapman 1st speaker Diandra Marlin 2nd speaker Imani Henry 3rd speaker Reanna Thomas researcher
The opposition team comprised of: Rochana Richardson 1st speaker Ashille Brooks 2nd speaker Sarina Alexander 3rd speaker Kamilah Gumbs researcher
The debate culminated with the proposition team winning the debate with 372 points.
Ms. Sarina Alexander won the best speaker for the debate and gave the rebuttal for the Opposition.
The head cultural historian and author Judge, Daniella Jeffrey, closed after announcing the winners by stressing that the voice of the St. Martiner with strong roots and blood ties to the island should also be heard in this dialogue.
The Ministry ECYS looks forward to another installment wherein various points of view can be openly discussed in a similar setting by the adults and elders of this 37 square mile island.
Minister Jacobs thanked the youth debaters for their composure, poise, passion and great speaking ability displayed. The teams were also commended for the level of research they had put on to be prepared for the debate. Minister Jacobs also thanked Connie Francis and the Youth Councils on both sides of the island and Mr. Roberto C. Arrindell for the work they put into preparing the debater.
Press Release from the Ministry of ECYS