The Bregado Flax Educational Centre on Virgin Gorda won the preliminary round of the 2024 Inter-Secondary School Debates on Friday. (Photo: GIS)

Bregado Flax Educational Centre emerged victorious in the preliminary round of the 2024 Inter-Secondary School Debates on Friday at the New Testament Church of God International Worship Centre Activity Hall, government announced.

The semi-finals will follow on Feb. 28-29, featuring the three winning teams from last Thursday and Friday, as well as the losing team with the most points: BFEC, the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, Elmore Stoutt High School and St. George’s Secondary School.

The Friday final was held under the moot: “The BVI is ill-prepared to address the health challenges posed by an aging population.”

The opposition team, BFEC, beat the proposition, ESHS.

Among the attendees was Health and Social Development Minister Vincent Wheatley.

“I was happy to be present to listen to the excellent debate, and I must say, the intricate and first- hand experiences of the students with this very real and timely topic was like a clarion call to me,” Mr. Wheatley posted afterwards on Facebook. “The emotions shown by the live audience was a wake-up call to all of us that our health cannot and should not be taken for granted.”

Other participating schools were Cedar International School and the Ciboney Centre for Excellence.

Education Officer Heida Selwood said the debates are designed to encourage students to improve their public-speaking skills, explore different viewpoints, and learn tolerance and open-mindedness.

“These are the skills that the [Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports hopes that every student will adopt,” she said.