Two Jamaican high-school debaters won a debate competition Thursday evening against a team from Rollins College from Florida in the United States.

The debaters, Jacey Henry from Titchfield High School, and Ronaldinho McLean from Campion College, argued against the moot, “The US government should impose a federal law to protect the right to abortion.”

The 17-year-old pair, along with Natalia Burton two debate administrators, Germaine Barrett and Rushana Jarrett, left Jamaica on September 30 for a three-week debate and cultural exchange programme at the University of Western Georgia.

During the debate, the Jamaicans argued, among other points, that there is no consensus on state level along with the rise of partisan groups like the Proud Boys and ANTIFA for the government to successfully implement abortion rights on the federal level.

The Rollins College team argued that protecting abortion on the federal level would adhere to the principles of human rights proffered by John Locke, regarding respect for the rights of women and their bodily autonomy.

The spirited debate took place on the campus of Rollins College in Orlando, Florida.

Both Jamaican debaters were trained by the Jamaican Association for Debating and Empowerment, JADE, Limited through the organisation’s Secondary-Level Gold Club.

This group was established in 2020 and is said to boast several of the country’s best and brightest high school debaters.

The young debaters are reportedly boosting Jamaica’s profile on the international debate stage.

Before the Jamaican delegation returns home they’ll participate in further debates on issues such as the environmental harms and economic benefits of cruise ship tourism, online anonymity, pre-trial detention, standardized testing in schools, to name a few.