The Tourism Class at San Pedro Junior College held an interesting debate at the Lions Den last Thursday, April 6, and the intellectuals had the opportunity to expound on their ideas whether foreign investors bring good to our island or more harm than good. Of course the young and restless sixth form students did a lot of research and had interesting points to support their allegations, both on the proposition team as well as the opposition squad.
Main speakers in the proposition team were Shakira Wiltshire and Suyapa Sosa, who argued that foreign investment brings much needed capital to the island as well as it creates jobs. The generated incomes trickle down to every corner of San Pedro affecting in a positive manner everyone looking for a livelihood. The large buildings erected by foreign investors are good for hurricane shelters and those along the beach also act as barriers to break the waves during times of hurricanes. A team member even suggested that San Pedro High School is the result of foreign investment as are the cobblestone streets and the new bridge.
Debate TeamsHowever the opposition team comprised of Juanita Thomas and Melissa Garcia argued that indeed foreign investment does not bring in capital to the island. These retired people pretending to be investors go to the same Belizean banks and get loans, which are sometimes denied to locals and also cut down cash flow for locals.
Furthermore, foreign investors do not place profits in the banks but leak it out to foreign banks. Along the same line foreign investors sell packages abroad and all their transactions are done abroad without dealing with Belizeans.
To make matters worse, the opposition team argued that foreign investors do not want to hire Belizeans as managers and that 80 percent of those on the island are hiring foreigners in these top positions. Juanita and Melissa also argued that foreign investors destroy the mangroves along the coast to build their empires and in so doing contribute to beach erosion and destroy natural habitats for marine organisms.
In cross attack the opposition rightly corrected the last suggestion that the school and streets and bridge are all local initiatives and have nothing to do with foreign investments.
As the debate continued team support was offered to counter several points presented by both teams. Research leaders for the pros were Dayrine Sandoval and Angelita Chi. Their logistic leaders were Melina Guerrero and Heidy Graniel. Their solution leaders included Walter Sepeda and Cristina Sedacy. For the opposition, the team research leaders were Terrylee Baptist and Esmeralda. The logistic leaders were Danna Palma and Elena Choc. Solution leader was Dennis Cab.
Five judges listened to the debate and presented their evaluations, but no winner was declared. The solution offered was that foreign investment was needed, but that it should be well monitored by government so that the intended good is accomplished, otherwise only the investor benefits. The floor was also invited to make questions, observations and suggestions. Ambergris Today was present at the debate upon invitation and would like to congratulate San Pedro Jr. College for a well organized debate. Congratulations to the young intellectuals who did a lot of research, presented valid points and handled themselves professionally. The audience was impressed and asking when is the next one.
1. Suyapa Sosa delivers her team’s point of views while
opponent Juanita Thomas takes notes.
2. Junior College tourism class held debate at the Lions Den.