Members of the Legislative Assembly gracefully gave up their seats Monday in a show of support for the youth of the Cayman Islands.
The Commonwealth Day session at the Legislative Assembly saw 21 Youth Parliamentarians debate motions on the environment, youth and culture.
The rest assumed the roles of governor, speaker, clerk and sergeant-at-arms.
Before the youth members were sworn in, Leader of Government Business and Joint Vice-President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Cayman Islands Branch Kurt Tibbetts commented that it’s not every day that members give up their seats so easily. ‘But having done so, we members of the Legislative Assembly are showing support of the Youth Parliament to celebrate Commonwealth Day,’ he said.
With over 50 per cent of citizens in the Commonwealth today younger than 25 it is vitally important that the youth are engaged in the parliamentary process, he said.
‘In my opinion the most important outcome of today’s proceedings will be that you will have your ideas and opinions taken seriously and you will be valued as contributing citizens of this society,’ he said.
Leader of the Opposition and Joint Vice-President of the CPA Cayman Islands branch McKeeva Bush told the youth to take advantage of the opportunity to fully engage each other and their audiences, including the current leaders, to where their views can have an impact on the decisions being made.
‘It is an opportunity for you to shape the thinking process of this country and its leaders,’ he said.
He also encouraged the youth, in light of recent shootings, stabbings and accidents, in putting forward their suggestions on what might influence those of their age group to act more responsibly.
Speaker of the House and President of the CPA Cayman Islands Branch Edna Moyle said, ‘I hope through this process that many of you will be encouraged to be future politicians and leaders of our islands.’
The theme of Commonwealth Day 2008 is ‘The Environment – Our Future’ and Ms Moyle read a message from Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, for Commonwealth Day with protection of the environment as the theme.
MLA and Chairman of the CPA Youth Parliament Organising Sub-Committee Alfonso Wright said of the youth debating, ‘What they express today will be well documented in the annals of Cayman history’.
After the Youth Parliamentarians were sworn in, the naming of government ministers and assignment of responsibilities took place.
Youth Parliament Leader of Government Business Marvin Hurlston and Leader of the Opposition Thea Bush received their instruments of appointment from Youth Parliament Governor Alex Cowan. Sidney Terry then took his oath of allegiance as the Speaker designate.
Having departed, the Speaker re-entered in the company of Sergeant-at-Arms Taylor Myers. Clerk of the Youth Parliament Gabriella Mendoza-Hydes read from the proclamation summoning a meeting of the CPA Third Youth Parliament.