Photos: Island Debate Team In Czech Republic

July 26, 2014

Bermuda’s National Debate Team recently returned from the Heart of Europe International Debate Competition in Olomouc, Czech Republic, after performing exceptionally well.

The team arrived in Olomouc, Czech Republic on Tuesday July 10th for the 2014 Heart of Europe Debate Tournament which is open to all countries worldwide. Team Bermuda competed in a total of 10 debates , including three prepared debates.

In the preliminary rounds, Team Bermuda won two of the three prepared debates, which were:

  1. The NSA should continue using PRISM despite the reaction to its disclosure: loss against Canada Red
  2. Prohibit the privatization of natural resources in developing countries: unanimous win against DSG [Germany]
  3. Considering its role in the Holocaust, Germany should recognize a Palestinian state and urge Israel to do the same: unanimous win against Czech Republic


Impromptu motions included:

  1. Regrets the decision of children who cut all ties with their parents: loss against SAVA [Sweden]
  2. Sports leagues should not use cheer-leading performances at their events: loss against Denmark
  3. Pay performance-based salaries to teachers: split loss against Robert College [Turkey]
  4. Stop the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life: unanimous win against HDS
  5. Not pay ransom to terrorist groups that hold hostages: unanimous win against Bahceshir [Turkey]

During the elimination rounds, the top 16 teams continued. It was a tournament of “firsts” for team Bermuda, as this marked the first time in over 10 years that Bermuda made it to the elimination rounds by winning enough debates to be ranked eleventh in the top half of the tournament, thus qualifying for the octo-finals along with 15 other teams.

During the octo finals, the lowest ranking remaining teams are matched to compete with the highest ranking teams in a method known as “power-pairing.” Bermuda, ranked eleventh at the time, was paired up against one of Canada’s teams, ranked sixth.

Team Bermuda with Team Czech Republic


During their match against Team Canada White, while debating “violence is a legitimate tool for political opposition movements in authoritarian states,” Bermuda won unanimously, thus moving onto the quarter-finals – another first for Bermuda.

Having defeated Canada White, Bermuda moved up to compete in the quarter-finals, along with the top seven other teams. Bermuda faced the South Africa A1 National Team, debating “the feminist movement should oppose affirmative action for women in Western Liberal Democracies.”

It was at this point that Bermuda was defeated by South Africa, who went on to win the tournament.

“Thus, Bermuda completed the tournament ranking in the top eight, making it as the quarter-finals. In doing so, Bermuda became the first country from the Caribbean/Lower Americas region to compete in the Heart of Europe Tournament.”


This tournament also marked the first time in over a decade that Bermuda did not get knocked out in the preliminary rounds and their first time making it to the octo- and quarter-finals in more than 10 years.

The Bermuda coach was Christianna Hiles, who also served as adjudicator for other debates in the tournament. Ms. Hiles performed exceptionally well, judging at all levels of the competition and the finals; The Heart of Europe Committee has invited her to apply for the role of Chief Judge for next year’s international tournament.

Bermuda was complimented for its style in both speaking and clothing as the team wore Bermuda shorts to all of their debates, and Team Bermuda represented well at the Cultural Exchange Night, featuring displays from the competing teams’ countries.”

Team Bermuda with Team Canada Red


The team served Bermuda Rum Cake, which was a major hit, and displayed several video clips, including the Bermudian rendition of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” clip, showing Bermudian people and culture, and “Trip of a Lifetime: Cliff Jumping in Bermuda.”

The trip was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Bermuda Debate Society, which is a charity whose mission it is to further debate for the island’s youth.”

Ciara Burrows, an 18-year-old recent graduate of Saltus, said of the experience, “I liked how Bermuda was also known as the friendliest team at the Heart of Europe Tournament.

“Regardless of the result, we could be found talking, hugging, or posing for pictures with the opposing team after an intense debate. Exchanging pins, advice, or encouragement to fellow debaters became second nature. An awesome experience.”

Ryan Robinson Perinchief


“I have been debating for a few years and each time I get more and more confident. As one of the youngest members at the competition, I got a bit anxious at times. But my team was always right there to help me focus and get back on track.” Megan Sutcliffe, 14, BHS, who receive the highest speaker score from the team.

“One thing that I found interesting was that many of the countries at this competition, such as Singapore, have debate as a major class in school – they even have full-time positions for debate coaches. They recognize the importance of critical thinking, understanding international affairs, and being able to examine issues from both sides while developing charismatic ability.

“This was my second international competition and although in comparison we are all considered rookies to debate, Team Bermuda certainly made a statement that although we are small, we will not shy away from the competition posed by the big players, such as Canada or Singapore,” said Ryan Robinson Perinchief, 17, a recent graduate of The Berkeley Institute and winner of the 2014 Alpha Beautillion.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Doc says:

    Well Done Youngsters!!!! We love hearing reports like this in our news. You make us feel so good to know that you truly represent the best of our country to the world. Congratulations to your parents and teachers who worked so hard with you also.

  2. Ellie says:

    good job guys ….

  3. Jennifer Flood says:

    Congratulations to you all, a great accomplishment!

  4. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    Looking sharp in those Bermuda shorts!! Make Bermuda proud!! It’s great to see out young folk using their minds to pick apart facts, present their case and present sound, educated ideas!! Potential future leader? I think so!!

  5. cybercop says:

    Good Stuff Bermuda…..Hey Bernews is there a link so that we could listen in? would be nice…

  6. Exposure says:

    great stuff,

    congratulations, some positive news!!

    Are these debates recorded? very intesting debate topics.

  7. Edna J Dixon says:

    Well done!

  8. Yes I says:

    Well done Bermuda! Well done Ryan, truly a role model to both young and old. Keep inspiring others through your hard work and determination.

  9. Alice M. Kingsleigh says:

    Excellent! Congratulations to these students and Ms. Hiles on a job well done.

  10. Jevon says:

    Well Done Ciara! So proud of you. Keep up the great work! We are all veeeery happy for your continued success!

  11. Estlyn says:

    Congratulations team. I am so proud of young Youngsters and my hat off to you Ciara.