Parliament Marks Commonwealth Day With A Debate Among University Students

The Students Parliament of the University of Ghana emerged champions of the 2015 schools debate competition organized by Ghana`s parliament as part of activities to commemorate the 2015 Commonwealth Day.

The debate among students of the various public universities in the country forms part of deliberate efforts by Leadership of Parliament to bring the work of the legislature closer to the public and prepare the youth for future engagements as parliamentarians.

The University of Ghana Students Parliament emerged winners after engaging in a keenly thought provoking debate against their University of Cape Coast counterparts on the topic “That Membership of the Commonwealth Be Opened to All Countries”.

Arguing in favour of the motion, University of Ghana holds that the opening the commonwealth to all countries provides greater and equal opportunity for all in today’s global world of technology.

According to them it provides opportunity for knowledge sharing and transfer from all countries who have the know-how, ensure good governance and promotes shared values among all nations.

The University of Ghana also argued that, the opening up of the commonwealth to all countries of the world also brings a lot of socio-economic benefits all involved through aid and advisory assistance and upholds the principles of democracy and respect for the rights of countries to freely associate.

They cited countries such as Rwanda and Mozambique who were originally not members of the commonwealth but are now as the basis for the commonwealth to be opened to all.

Speaking against the motion, the Students Parliament of the University of Cape Coast stated categorically that, the commonwealth charter clearly defines who the membership of the commonwealth as countries having political and colonial ties with Britain.

According to them, it is therefore wrong in the first place to suggest the opening of the commonwealth to all countries.

They argue that, its opening up will distort the foundation of the value systems of member states and lead to uncontrollable consequences.

University of Cape Coast also argues that loyalty to the commonwealth would be betrayed as true members who`s forebears suffer death and other hardships would be denied the fruits of their labour.

The opponents of the motion claimed that, the already difficult challenges confronting member states would be compounded should the commonwealth be opened to all countries.

The students were judged on their confidence level, eloquence, clarity of speech, orderly presentation of points, composure and the level of maturity displayed in their presentation.

For their prize, University of Ghana received a trophy and a cash of GHC 400.00 whiles University of Cape Coast also received a trophy and a cash prize of GHC 300.00.

The commonwealth is made up of 53 countries with political and colonial ties with Great Britain.

The 2015 Commonwealth Day celebration was on the global theme: “A Young Commonwealth’’.

In a message read on her behalf, Head of the commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II urged all member states to keep the flame of a young commonwealth alive by upholding the values of the commonwealth charter.

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