Convent won the competition in which nine other schools involved in the LEITI Extractive Club (e-Club) Program participated, after defeating the Len Millar High School with 90.5 to 71.75 points in an epic final clash. Other high schools that participated in the race include Caver Mission, Isaac A. David, Haywood Mission, G.W. Gibson, William V.S. Tubman, St. Mary, Jimmy Jolocon and the B.W. Harris which was defending the title after winning the 2012 Edition of the competition. The final clash involved a debate in which the St. Teresa Convent argued in favor of calls by some Liberians that the LEITI should be involved in the negotiation and award process of contracts in the extractive sector while the Len Millar High School challenged the proposition.
Compounding the victory, Angel Yalartai, an Eleventh Grade student of the winning side was crowned as “Most Valuable Debater”.
Speaking on Friday at the end of the two-day event (May 13-14, 2013) held in the YMCA Conference Room on Crown Hill, LEITI Head of Secretariat, Samson S. Tokpah labelled this year’s competition as a “remarkable event” and described everyone who participated in it as a victor. The LEITI Boss said the kind of information provided and quality of arguments raised by those high school kids show that Liberia is not only rich in natural resources, but also in human resources.
Mr. Tokpah disclosed that in addition to the trophies and medals awarded to the winning team and first runner-ups, the LEITI is arranging internship program at some extractive companies for all ten members of the champion team. He further revealed that the “Most Valuable Debater” (MVP) will be sponsored on a peer-to-peer learning exchange program to Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago is one of few countries in the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that are implementing such youth development program.
The Head of Secretariat also extended gratitude to the German Government for providing funding for the program through the German Development Corporation (GIZ) as well as the judges who presided over the debate. Judges for this year’s debate include Mr. Randolph Davis of the General Auditing Commission; Mr. Oliver Rogers of the Liberia Revenue Formation Office; Mr. Kofi Ireland of UNMIL and Madam Peggy Meres of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission. Others gracing the event include Ms. Jualiane Weymann of the GIZ; Honorable Moses Acarous Gray of the Hose of Representative and educators amongst others.
The Inter-high School Debate project is part of LEITI’s efforts to provide increased access to the public on the management of Liberia’s extractive resources. Its primarily goal is to increase citizens’ participation in the resource debate and ensure that national policies and decisions increasingly reflect their views and concerns, especially young people who constitute a greater majority of the population and whose future would be determined by those decisions. This year’s competition enabled the students to engage one another in arguments on several issues of public concerns around the extractive sectors. The final rounds of the debate were broadcast live on Fabric FM 101.1 and relayed on several stations around the world.
The Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) is an autonomous agency established through an Act of the Legislature, to promote the transparent management of Liberia’s extractive resources. It is a tripartite arrangement governed by a Multi-stakeholders Steering Group (MSG), consisting of representatives of the Government of Liberia, civil society organizations, the private sector, and Liberia’s development partners.