CPA Youth Parliament preparations under way

This year’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Youth Parliament promises to be an interesting event.

The Cayman Islands Branch of the CPA wants to ensure a smooth mock parliament performance in observance of Commonwealth Day on Monday, 10 March.

Event preliminaries kicked off with a three-day workshop on public speaking and debate.

This year’s participants learned about different aspects of the theory and practice of debating. They also watched a video segment of the Prime Minister’s Question Hour in the UK House of Commons and understood that robust repartee is an inherent part of the Westminster type of government.

The students from UCCI and Grand Cayman’s government and private high schools benefited from a panel of experienced local judges.

Over the first two days, UCCI’s Professor of Social Sciences Dr Livingston Smith outlined the strengths of the democratic system and the workings of Cayman’s democracy, before guiding the 14 students on the practicalities of debating. Throughout the workshop, particularly during the ‘how to’ segment, Dr Smith emphasised the need to incorporate solid research into each presentation. UCCI Librarian Mrs Lucille Kong also explained how to use the library as a source for research.

In an exercise, participants selected one topic from a choice of 25 to speak on for a few minutes. The subjects varied widely, ranging from ‘This House would allow same-sex couples to adopt children’ to ‘This House supports the death penalty’ and ‘This House would ban students from taking cell phones to school.’

The students’ peers, coaches and organisers evaluated all presentations, suggesting areas where speakers could improve.

The final day featured three debates by the students, now divided into teams. Judges noted the strengths and weaknesses of each presentation and suggested ways to improve.