Guyana’s 7th Youth Parliament opened this morning at the Public Buildings where 86 students from across the country will be trained in parliamentary etiquette and decorum, the functions of the Parliament and its members, and public speaking among other areas.
The opening ceremony coincided with International Youth Day, which is being observed under the theme “Intergenerational solidarity: creating a world for all ages.”
In his address, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy said Youth Parliament was birthed out of a need for the country’s young people “to coalesce at the heart of our democratic process into a formidable institution that shadows our constitutional legislator and generates a contemporary youth-based thought leadership that feeds the national decision-making machinery.”
In congratulating the Members of the Youth Parliament on their selection, Minister McCoy urged them to stay true to the original objectives and purpose of the movement.
“While you examine and debate topical and pertinent issues impacting today’s youths in Guyana, ensure that you are resounding in your collective voice in support of the sanctity of our democratic values that underpin the adherence to the Rule of Law as enshrined in the Constitution,” he urged.
Minister McCoy also called on the participants to take stock of the transformational path the country is on – a path that is intended to foster a sustainable, multidimensional economy.
“Ensure that you capture wholesomely, all the issues that are at stake. The security of the nation, the parallel work ethic transformation that will be required, the dedication and sacrifice required from every citizen and most importantly the eschewing of narrow, selfish political ideologies that are designed to undermine the one Guyana concept for which we strive,” he added, while noting that their spirited debates will no doubt add value to the country’s democracy.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir said for decades Youth Parliaments have helped to mould many of the region’s leaders, including the country’s very own Attorney General Anil Nandlall and former Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, who is serving as the country’s Foreign Secretary. Against that background, he urged the 86 participants to make good use of the experience and establish long lasting relationships.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson said Youth Parliament creates a platform for children and young adults to have a better understanding of parliamentary laws and procedures. He said it will also help them to become more disciplined and organized, and provides an opportunity for them to develop and sharpen their debating skills
British High Commissioner, Jane Miller noted that a number of the countries within the Commonwealth have adopted various parts of the Westminster Model and Guyana is no exception. In her brief remarks, the High Commissioner underscored the importance of good debate in parliamentary democracy.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr. was also among the officials present.
There will be a total of four sittings from August 12-18.
Of the 86 participants, 40 are in the junior category, who were drawn from a number of secondary schools, while 46 are in the senior category and were drawn from the country’s tertiary institutions.
The participants have been divided into Government and Opposition.
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