The curtains came down on the 3rd annual Youth Parliament on Thursday evening with a grand reception dinner, as the Office of the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Rights of the Child Commission, celebrated the efforts and accomplishments of each of the participants.
The groundbreaking debates presented by both the delegated government and
opposition at this year’s sitting were showered with high praise, and the students were awarded for their outstanding performances during the festivities.
The event featured a series of entertainment and cultural performances, but more importantly provided an opportunity for the young delegates to meet and interact with actual Members of Parliament.
Addressing the gathering of both past and present Youth Parliamentarians as well as the organizers of the initiative, Prime Minister and First Vice President, Moses Nagamootoo, congratulated the participating students for successfully taking on the roles of some in the highest offices in Guyana, and pointed out that their involvement in Youth Parliament will set them one step ahead of their future endeavour.
Nagamootoo noted that the presentations by the high school students was a
welcome reminder of what is expected of Members of Parliament, especially in light of the many disruptions that frequent the National Assembly in Guyana.
“So it is a difference that we must take away: that there is hope for our Parliament. There is hope away from the divisiveness that we experience from time to time, and from the type/quality of politics we’ve had 50 years after our country had become independent,” the Prime Minister said.
Nagamootoo continued, “I believe there are qualities we need to revive, and practices that should be of a higher standard,” as he hinted that such noteworthy characteristics were displayed by the youth delegation during their deliberations.
Moreover, Nagamootoo highlighted that both the delegated Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the grouping were females, and posited that it is paving the way for women to not just be leaders in the home, but potentially at the forefront of the country as well.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, echoing the sentiments of his follow parliamentarian, commended the works of the students in taking up leadership roles and advocating for significant development for the nation.
Dr Scotland indicated that this is the first time Youth Parliament was staged for an entire week, allowing participants to dig deeper into their debates, which he noted certainly paid off.
He is consequently charging the budding politicians to utilize the knowledge and skills gained during this extended experience.
“What the young parliamentarians will want (to) take from that is to learn to respect your fellows; to conduct yourself with decorum; and always give your very best in what you are undertaking,” the Speaker of the National Assembly outlined.
The top prizes at this year’s Youth Parliament were awarded as follows: to Tyriq Scott, the delegated Public Health Minister, who was dubbed the Best Debater; and to Sherlyn Semple, the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was awarded Best Speaker. They both won themselves a Sumsung Galaxy tab E, compliments of Bazillo Cobb Associates.
Even with the strong arguments put forth by the members of the opposition, the delegated government won the overall debates at Youth Parliament 2017, held under the theme: “Our Generation, Our Voice: Inspire, Encourage, Impact.”
Education Minister Nicolette Henry was the chief judge of a panel of three judges, which included Aleema Nasir from the Rights of the Child Commission, and Dr Valerie Leung.