The stiff competition brewing at Devin Events and Consultancy’s inter-high school debate soared to new heights on Friday, when all-girls St. Theresa’s Convent defeated the boys from Calvary Baptist High School by 88-86 points, to qualify for the quarter finals stage. The audience watched in high suspense as the teams – both at their best – raised the stakes for the competition, debating for and against the maintenance of Liberia’s dual currency system.Impressed with the high marks on both sides, head judge Varfee Holmes described the match as “competitive” and lauded the teams for their talent and “intellectual skills.” Yet, he advised both teams to hone their research skills, and thereby increase their accuracy in presenting information at future debates. Speaking for the corps of judges, he expressed delight at the maturity both teams displayed during the match, commending their “ability to avoid attacking personality and sticking to the issue.”Responding to the judges’ marks, Calvary Baptist Representative George Mandeh, expressed satisfaction with his school’s performance, noting that it was merely a two-point loss, and an opportunity to learn from his team’s mistakes and lead in the next competition. “I believe in the judges,” he said, “as the game was free, fair, and one of the finest matches ever played.”Earlier, Convent Captain Olivia Livingstone presented the winning argument, stating “dual currency establishes a firm basis for a prudent financial sector, which provides financial integration with developed nations, creating the market for more efficiency and quality of services.”Still with the argument, she remarked that the issue with dual currency signals [the government’s] permanent commitment to curb [inflation], fiscal responsibility and transparency. Liberia, she said, has enjoyed low inflation, growth in fiscal responsibility and transparency, because of the dual currency policy, adding that, in the situation of chronic inflation, individuals use the US Dollar to protect the real value of their income. “If Liberia had not maintained her policy on dual currency,” she explained, “[the country] would not have been able to pay some of [its] massive international debt; [or finance] the restoration of infrastructure development.’’ Presenting the opposing view, Calvary Captain Bill Ivan Gbafore countered that dual currency exhibits “complete disrespect [for] the nation and violation [of] the act that created the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL).”The policy of dual currency, he explained, is hurting the Liberian people and the economy with devastating near- and long-term consequences. Citing seen data released by the CBL, Gbafore argued that the government has failed to maintain price stability in the face of the escalating depreciation of the Liberian Dollar against the US Dollar; a bad condition that has inflicted hardship on [Liberian] citizens.He also cited a statement purportedly made in 2013 by of Finance and Development Planning Minster Amara M. Konneh, publicly admitting that “many Liberians are suffering because the exchange rate has sky-rocketed, leaving the country in a state of financial dilemma.” “The persistent depreciation of the Liberia dollar in the market, he observed, is hurting all Liberians, especially the poor and downtrodden, who have to pay for everything in the local currency.”Alex Devin, CEO of Devin Events and Consultancy, said the debate enables the public to cross-examine schools’ extra academic performance, as well as their regular curricula. It also affords students the chance, he said, to apply their critical thinking skills toward understanding and solving society’s complex problems. Such experiences, according to Devin, make a huge impact on each student’s academic life.The Convent-Calvary match marked the start of the tournament’s knockout stage. The winner of the debate is expected to walk away with US$1000, while the runner-up will take home US$750, and the third place winner, US$500. Apart, from awarding cash prizes and trophies, certificates will be given in several other categories to schools that participated. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
John Stones 1 Young, English and talented are three things that are hard to come by at the moment in the Premier League, especially without paying a substantial premium.This is something Manchester City and Manchester United have both found out in the past two years, spending £49m and £30m for Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw respectively.Now Chelsea are finding out how difficult it is to secure a player of this ilk with their so far fruitless attempts to sign Everton’s John Stones.The 21-year-old has been touted as a future England captain having already established himself as a regular in Roy Hodgson’s squad. After being told twice by Everton that Stones is not for sale, reports have emerged that the two Manchester clubs have joined the chase.talkSPORT evaluates each of Stones’ options to help him decide the next stage of his career.ChelseaJoining Chelsea would provide Stones with the best possible education on how to become a world-class defender. Jose Mourinho is well-known as a coach who likes to build from back to front with an established centre-half partnership at the heart of his teams. Stones would be learning from one of the best defenders the Premier League has seen in John Terry – as well as developing an understanding with Gary Cahill, which could only benefit England in the long-term.However, because of Chelsea’s solidarity at the back, it would be difficult for Stones to dislodge either Cahill or Terry as a starter and would therefore have to expect a substantial amount of time on the bench. He would get plenty of chances in the League Cup and as a part of squad rotation but would have to sacrifice Premier League experience for watching and learning. He would more than likely be a signing for the future.Manchester CityManchester City have an opening at centre-back after the less than convincing displays from £32m signing Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis. City would see Stones as a signing for now rather than for the future, which would certainly give him the playing time he craves. He would form a formidable partnership with captain Vincent Kompany and shoulder a great deal of responsibility.City are not afraid to splash out on defenders but, as Mangala will profess to, they have short patience if you are not performing. Stones would find himself under pressure to be the player he promises to be immediately and would have less time to develop. There is also the threat of following exciting talents like Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair, whose careers stalled while warming the bench at the Etihad.Manchester United As would be the case at their city rivals, Manchester United would be able to give Stones the minutes in the Premier League that Chelsea would not. Also, he would be part of a team in transition and, as United aren’t at the moment expected to mount a serious title challenge, would perhaps not have the same level of pressure on him as he would at City. Louis van Gaal is a strong advocate of starting with a ball-playing centre-back, as Stones is, and would therefore likely build his defence around the Everton man.United do not have a settled back four at the moment and should Stones sign, he would be walking into a team full of uncertainty. Every member of the Stretford End would give you a different combination of players to marshal the backline and it looks as though this season the defence will again be a work in process. Moreover, the club have no senior defenders and there would be no one for Stones to learn from, such as a Terry or a Kompany.EvertonEverton are refusing to sell their hottest prospect and, unless a substantial sum is offered, will probably keep hold of him. At 21, Stones is hardly in a rush to develop and has already evolved so much as a defender in the two seasons he has spent in the Toffees’ first team. At Everton he will be given the time and space to grow while gaining Premier League experience – a combination of things he would not get anywhere else.There is a glass ceiling at Everton though, and he will have to leave to further himself at some point, be it this season or another. To learn from the best and challenge himself against the best in the Champions League, it is likely that Everton can only hold on to him for so long.VerdictOf the three clubs chasing his signature, Chelsea would be the obvious choice for Stones. He would be working under a defensively minded coach and alongside the Premier League’s strongest partnership. It is unclear how long Terry has left at Chelsea and it would be a wise move from Stones to learn from him while he can. However, he would need to be guaranteed game-time at Stamford Bridge and if he cannot be assured of this then Goodison Park is as good as any place to continue to learn his trade.