BGIS Media Release
by Shamkoe Pilé
Young people in Barbados will soon be able to make a greater contribution to this island’s government and political debates.
That is because the Barbados National Youth Parliament (BNYP) will officially be launched on Tuesday, April 15, when members will participate in an orientation and training session in the West Wing of Parliament beginning at 9:00 a.m.
According to Director of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte, the need for such a parliament originated from discussion with young people during the development of the National Youth Policy.
He noted that generally the youth felt alienated from political debates and the BNYP was an attempt to rectify this. “A National Youth Parliament will provide opportunities and platforms for young people to learn about politics, democracy, social work and the parliamentary system,” he said.
Mr. Hunte explained that the Division of Youth in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth would be responsible for its implementation, but noted that the long-term objective was to have a full-time secretariat manage the BNYP.
Outlining that the BNYP would be open to Barbadian citizens and permanent residents between the ages of 14 and 21, he said candidates were selected from educational institutions, while recognised youth groups, constituency councils and community groups recommended other candidates.
The Director of Youth said that the BNYP would be patterned, as close as possible, after the island’s House of Assembly, adding that the young parliamentarians would debate actual bills. “The BNYP would ensure that the voice of the youth is heard not only in the streets of Barbados but also in Parliament. It will give everyone an opportunity to find out what this nation’s youth is for and against,” he stressed.
The upcoming training session will expose the young parliamentarians to the history of parliament, reading and debating the Throne Speech, as well as writing and debating bills.