Youth a top priority

The importance of raising the awareness of parliament among the youth of Cayman was stressed by Minister Arden McLean as a top level conference got under way here yesterday.

On the first day of the post election seminar of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in the Legislative Assembly building, Mr. McLean asked what kind of help was available from the CPA to help raise that awareness.

CPA director of programmes Niall Johnston said the organisation could make a small grant towards the cost of running a youth parliament, provide some technical help and also provide other youth parliamentarians from the region to help.

Mr. Johnston pointed out that almost 65 per cent of people in the Commonwealth were under the age of 29 and so the CPA tried to promote itself among them.

Welcoming comments were made from the floor of the chamber to two young people who had come to watch the proceedings along with a handful of other members of the public.

Earlier, Speaker Edna Moyle, Acting Governor George McCarthy and Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts made welcoming remarks to guest speakers from around the region and the UK.

Mr. Johnston said the CPA had high regard for the Cayman Islands branch of the association and considered it one of the most supportive branches.

Key concerns of the CPA were poverty reduction, gender equality and HIV/AIDS, said Mr. Johnston.

The Commonwealth accounted for about one quarter of the world’s population but had about two thirds of all those living with HIV within it, he added.

It was a source of great concern in the Caribbean that more women than men were affected and infected, he said.

The three-day conference, which is scheduled to cover nine topics, including the relationship between the branches of government and the evolution of parliamentary democracy, continues until Friday.