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Adriel Francois talks his way to trophy

Adriel Francois talks his way to trophy


Adriel Francois admitted two things: He was calm, and he told himself that he was going to win. He was right.{{more}}

The Fifth Form Science student of the St Vincent Grammar School (SVGS) battled through three rounds of competition and breezed past five other competing schools to be crowned victorious in the Lions Club South Lime Secondary Schools’ National Public Speaking Competition on Thursday, October 22, at the Methodist Church Hall.

Shortly after he was announced winner, Francois said: “I am overjoyed, and all my hard work has paid off…I had a calm over myself and I decided that I am taking this home to my school.”

Vatalie Caesar of the Girls’ High School placed second, while Stephanie Browne of the Georgetown Secondary School had to settle for third place.

Each student spoke on the main topic: “The introduction of a wire-tapping programme will be an infringement on one’s civil liberties, balanced by national security concerns. Is St Vincent and the Grenadines ready for wire-tapping?”

Stephanie Browne was adjudged winner in this category.

In her speech, Browne said she did not think that a wiretapping programme was warranted in this country. She noted that there are some crimes that warrant wiretapping, but for St Vincent and the Grenadines, we cannot be looked at in the same way as the United States or Britain.

“The only crimes that are most likely to threaten St Vincent and national security are drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, bomb scares,” Browne said. On the other hand, she noted that wiretapping helps to solve crimes such as terrorism and espionage cases in the US and England.

Browne added that our political divide and limited resources do not lend to efficient wiretapping. She highlighted the “inefficiency” of the police, in whom such a programme will be entrusted. “…Having a history of ineptitude as it pertains to crime fighting, the police exhibit the highest level of incompetence in the simplest of their duties…How can a wiretapping program be implemented if police officers cannot harbour trust in the general public?”

Browne added that before such a program can be implemented, certain measures must be put in place, including the interception of Communications Act, and the law enforcement agencies must first demonstrate their efficiency, professionalism and regard for their subject.

It wasn’t difficult to decide the winners in the individually prepared topics and two-minute impromptu sections, as Francois was the clear winner.

In delivering his prepared topic of “Are modern music trends responsible for the behavioral problems with our youth?” the young man spoke with vigour and grasped the attention of most of the audience throughout his five minute speech.

Francois noted that many of the young people today are not listening to music that spreads love and peace but instead gravitate towards the dancehall music, which promotes drug use, violence and female degradation. “Our youths are polluting their minds with smut,” he strongly asserted.

Quoting lines from famous dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, “Kill dem all and dun” and “Come breed me,” Francois noted that the lyrics to these songs only lead to sexual immorality and teenage pregnancy. “These songs are eroding the shores of our young minds…If drastic action is not soon taken to these destructive dancehall waves, our youth will soon be swept away by a tsunami of immorality,” he added.

In the impromptu category, Francois placed all doubts to rest and made the judges work easy with his chosen topic “Remote Control”. Francois, with total poise and confidence, chalked up his chosen topic to people just being lazy and who need a remote control for almost everything.

In addition to bagging the coveted Arthur Connell trophy, Francois also received a Lenovo ultra mobile Laptop computer, a desktop computer, along with other trophies and awards. All the other finalists also walked away with a Lenovo ultra mobile laptop computer compliments LIME.

Francois thanked his parents for helping with his main speech and also the teachers who helped him prepare for the competition. “I went through a lot of sleepless nights practicing my speeches, and it took away from school, but as you can see, it was worth it in the end,” he chimed.

The other competitors were: Roland Connor of the Petit Bordel Secondary School, Omalara Francois of the Thomas Saunders Secondary and Marleya Adams of the Union Island Secondary.

This year marks 19 years of sponsorship of the competition from LIME/Cable & Wireless which has invested over $400,000 in the competition. The event began in 1976 under the auspices of Jaycees. This also marks the 14th year that the Lions Club South is hosting the event.

Judge Theresa Daniel noted the competition was of a high quality and said that all the participants were indeed winners. She noted that she would like to see more workshops being done in public speaking to continue to develop and nurture the students for the future.(KW)