Land Settlement Agency’s National Secondary School’s Debate Competition Culminates in an Electrifying Final Showdown

Port of Spain, January 24, 2024

In a riveting display of intellect and eloquence, the Land Settlement Agency (LSA) brought the curtains down on its National Secondary School’s Debate Competition with a spectacular finals event held on January 24th at the Government Campus Plaza Auditorium in Port of Spain. The event saw intense debates, with Presentation College Chaguanas securing 3rd place in a gripping playoff against Naparima College, while Bishop’s High School Tobago emerged triumphant in the main event against St. Mary’s College.

The motion debated in both matchups, “Be it resolved that the most effective way to deter squatting is by the removal of illegal structures from state lands,” sparked passionate arguments and insightful discourse among the participating teams. With the teams arguing in favour of the motion pointing to the impact of the halting of the LSA’s removal activity on the proliferation of squatting and the teams opposing the motion pointing to the humanitarian concerns involved in demolishing homes, particularly those of the most vulnerable in our society.

Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Shanmatee Singh Ng Sang commended the debaters for their readiness to constructively engage with the pressing issues of the day noting that “Debating is a skill in great need in our country today and it is important that the facts are presented, with the requisite accompanying data and metrics”. She encouraged the students to continue to develop their public speaking prowess and skills of persuasion as they will be the ones driving our nation’s progress the future.

With the finals of the competition concluded, the Land Settlement Agency now looks forward to future events that continue to promote public education on the pressing issues surrounding squatting and tenure regularisartion in our country.

Competition winners Bishop’s High School, Tobago display their winner’s trophy with Permanent Secretary (Ag.), Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Shanmatee Singh Ng Sang (far right)
Runner’s up St. Mary’s College, alongside Manager of the Community Development Unit at the Land Settlement Agency, Ms. Maria Baptiste (far left)
Klavier Simpson of Bishop’s High School, Tobago passionately makes argument during her school’s winning debate performance. Klavier also copped the award for Most Outstanding Debater.