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No Public Speaking Competition this year – Lions Club President

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The 2013 edition of the LIME Secondary Schools Public Speaking Competition is off.

This was confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT by President of the Lions Club South Ronald Christopher.{{more}}

“This year’s competition is off, not because we are stiff-necked or anything like that. When we came to an agreement, the schools indicated that they were unable to accommodate us,” he explained.

Christopher explained that the competition is usually held during the first term of the school year, but there is no longer sufficient time this term to fit it in. The second and third terms are usually not ideal, he said.

“So, for now, we think that we have gotten to the place that the public speaking will continue, but not this year.”

He said there are a number of decisions that have been recommended and these will be revealed in time. A joint press statement is to be released soon, Christopher said, and this statement contains some of the decisions that came out of meetings held between the Lions Club South and the Ministry of Education.

The future of the competition was thrown into uncertainty, when a few weeks ago, the Ministry of Education changed three of the four topics selected by the Lions for the preliminaries of the competition, a move, the Lions have reportedly described as “high-handed”.

It has been reported that the topics chosen by the Club for the Zonal competition were: Zone 1: “The regularity, intensity and nature of crimes committed in St Vincent and the Grenadines is causing panic among the citizenry of the state”; Zone 2: “St Vincent and the Grenadines no longer produces athletes and sports persons fit for the international arena”; Zone 3: “The call for reparation should be driven by overwhelming public opinion and not by politicians”; Zone 4: “Drug and Alcohol dependency, particularly among young adults, is a disease too often overlooked”.

According to news reports, by way of letter dated September 13, the Ministry of Education informed the Lions of changes to the first three topics as follows: Zone 1: “The commission of serious crimes in St Vincent and the Grenadines has not yet reached the level of causing panic among the citizenry of the state”; Zone 2: “The production of athletes and sportspersons in St Vincent and the Grenadines for international competition is on the rise”; Zone 3: “The call for Reparations for native genocide and slavery is in effect a summons for the righting of historical wrongs.”

According to reports, the Lions said as a non-governmental body, they will not accept this level of “governmental interference”. They also advised that they will not be hosting the competition unless the Ministry “withdraws this edict, develops a proper protocol of non interference and engages our club in a respectful manner.” (DD)

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