Zaheim Michael poses with his father Ian Michael, teachers and speech coaches as well as Principal of Fancy Government School, Wendy Child, who is at left.

Fancy Government School, represented by Zaheim Michael, won the inaugural Garifuna Indigenous People of SVG (GIPSVG) National Heroes Day Primary School Public Speaking Competition.

Michael, a Grade 6 student, also won the impromptu category, speaking on the topic “National Heroes Day”.

The competition, which catered for students north of the Rabbacca Dry River, the heartlands of SVG’s Garifuna population, took place at the Tourama/Overland Government School on March 12.

Jade Andrews, of the Overland Government School, placed second overall in the competition and also won the prepared speech category.

Each participant spoke on the topic: “Garifuna Identity and Culture: Its Importance to the Development of our Vincentian Society.”

Andrews said: “After all of the disgraceful act done to us and our history, there was conservation and hope. Our ancestors were able to maintain their language, food, dance and, to a large extent, their way of life. As a people, we must be able to identify our cultural heritage, which exists in many forms.  Our heritage should not be stagnant; it should be taught from a tender age.”

Participants with their teachers and representatives of GIPSSVG. In front row, students Yana Bengy, Jade Andrews, Zaheim Michael, and Nathan Warrick. (Photo: GIPSSVG)

Andrews, who was last year’s winner of the Grade 5 National Public Speaking competition, also won the best student’s prepared speech, speaking on the topic: “Violence Against Women in SVG”.

Describing violence as a social ill that is plaguing SVG.  “It as a major problem in SVG and, from my understanding, little or nothing is being done to alleviate it.  It is heart wrenching, I must say. Our constitution, in my opinion, seems to lack or provide legal support and leaves one to ask, does the Government have an interest in gender equity?”

In this category, Michael spoke on “Ways to Improve West Indies Cricket”, Yana Bengy of the Sandy Bay Government spoke on “Coronavirus”, and Warrick spoke on “Fruit Days”.

Yana Bengy, a Grade 5 student of the Sandy Bay Government, placed third overall in the competition.

All participants and their schools received monetary gifts. The competitors also received medal of participation whilst the winning school and the overall winner each won US$500 and a trophy.

Representatives of the Ministry of Education and GIPSSVG also gave brief remarks at the ceremony.