Jamaica's National Youth Parliament Reconvenes

Date Published: 
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jamaica's National Youth Parliament was recently convened through Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) in partnership with the Houses of Parliament, with a Training Seminar at the Shaw Park Beach Hotel from October 14 - 16, 2016. Over 80 young persons from across Jamaica participated in the sessions, which offered training to the young parliamentarians in parliamentary procedure, advocacy and public speaking.

The youth parliamentarians also used the opportunity to identify and have preliminary debates on motions that they will be raising in the Houses of Parliament at the next sitting of the Youth Parliament on Monday, November 14, 2016. Specifically, the youth parliamentarians will be advancing recommendations relating to youth unemployment, mental health, climate change and sexual and reproductive health.

Mr. Jermaine Anderson, a youth cultural ambassador from Manchester, was elected by the members as the youth Prime Minister for the upcoming sitting. Anderson asserted that the involvement of youth in matters pertinent to their future is an integral component in realising the dream of Vision 2030.  

According to Mr. Anderson, the Youth Parliament "serves the necessary function of introducing youth to the protocols and formalities involved in Parliament and simultaneously exposes them to the concept of parliamentary sovereignty. As an aspiring attorney, the parliament provides an opportunity to bring to life the concepts and ideas to which I was exposed in Constitutional Law".

Jevorney Gordon from the Democratic Youth United To Evolve Society (D'YUTES) society was elected by his peers as the youth Opposition Leader. Gordon noted that, "becoming a part of the National Youth Parliament gives me het opportunity to add meaningful contribution to the development of Jamaica through my involvement in the discussions , critical thinking and proposals that I will offer to the nation's leaders". 

 

Youth Parliamentarians in small group discussions 

 

Kevon Campbell, Senior Programme Development Specialist in the Youth Division of the MOEYI explained that the youth parliamentarians will serve a tenure of one year, commencing with the sitting in November. Subsequently, the Youth Parliament will act as a parliamentary watch committee, where they will analyse bills, green papers and statements before parliament, and provide feedback from a youth perspective on the matters before parliament.

Campbell explained that at the same time, the recently appointed Youth Advisory Committee of Jamaica has oversight responsibility for the youth parliament, and will provide a conduit for ensuring the deliberations of the youth parliament are directly brought to the attention of government ministers and other key decision-makers. 

Over 40 youth groups from across Jamaica are represented in the Youth Parliament. Members were nominated by their youth groups, from youth-serving organisations, and were also selected through an public application process. A Sitting of the Youth Parliament was last held in 2009.