Kate-lynn Bobb, a grade 6 student, of the Stubbs Government School emerged the winner in the Health Promotion Unit in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment public speaking competition. Bobb successfully debated the topic: “Antivacs – a threat to advancements in public health”.
Christi Williams of the Fancy Government School placed 2nd and Hyrone Jr. Johnson of the C.W. Prescott Primary School took the 3rd position. The other participants were, Phena Bowens, Clare Valley Government School; Ginniek Shallow, Lower Bay Primary School; Damanny Roberts, Barraouallie Government School; Shenniah Martin, Kingstown Government School; and Rihann Cozier, Bequia Anglican Primary School.
Students presented a prepared speech. All speakers unanimously supported the use of vaccines. They agreed that vaccination is the safest and most effective way to develop immunity and minimize the spread of diseases like measles, diphtheria, and polio, among others. The competition also included an impromptu segment.
Chief Health Promotion Officer, Patsy Wyllie, said she is proud that the public speaking competition is celebrating its 16th anniversary. Wyllie credited the start of the competition to former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Verlene Saunders and Ann Deroche former Senior Nursing Officer and Health Planner. Both ladies were on hand as judges as well as Ronnie Daniel, Marketing Assistant at the UWI Open Campus.
Wyllie explained that the topic was chosen because of the on-going debate surrounding vaccination. She further said they sought to hear the views of the youths as they are the ones who will live in the society hereafter. She hoped that the chosen topic will encourage discussions in the wider community.
Senior Education Officer, Hannah Browne, commended the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment for spearheading the public speaking competition. Browne said the Ministry of Education is pleased to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to host the competition. She also commended the participants for their bravery because for many persons public speaking is their number one fear. “You are all winners whether you lose or win – success lies within you”, Browne stated. The Senior Education Officer also expressed appreciation to Digicel for their continued support by way of prizes.
Marketing Assistant at Digicel, Najhma Mckenzie said Digicel had no hesitation in sponsoring the public speaking competition again. She further said their only concern was making this year better than the last. McKenzie stated that this year Digicel included a cash prize amounting to $1000 which was distributed to the first, second and third positions in the following order: $500, $300 and $200. According to the Marketing Assistant, students also received smart phones in addition to trophies.
Head Judge Ronnie Daniel described the students’ presentations as very good. Daniel said the standard this year was very high and that participants did an excellent job. To this end, he commended their Teachers, parents and all those who helped to prepare the students.
The Health Promotion Unit in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment annual public speaking competition took place on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 at the Methodist Church Hall.