During her address in the Legislative Assembly building Monday, Speaker of the Fourth Youth Parliament Diana Tibbetts said the opinions of young people are often ignored.
Since young people have less clout as they start out in life – in fact, many aren’t even old enough to vote – it’s easy for politicians dismiss the opinions of young people. Sure, politicians will talk about their responsibilities to their children, grandchildren and future generations, but usually in the context of their own belief systems. Young people in their teens are rarely asked what kind of future they want and most major political decisions seem primarily made for Caymanians over the age of 40.
For instance, young people had little input in the modernisation of Cayman’s Constitution, a document they will have to live with far longer than the over-40 crowd. Our bet is that in a decade or so, the majority of Caymanians will have serious issues with the Constitution, but will find it virtually impossible to change.
Then there’s the nostalgic anti-development, anti-expat portion of the population who would like to turn back time and live a more simple way of life. We are absolutely certain this is not the road young Caymanians want to travel, but is anyone asking them?
Ms Tibbetts made two important points that all of Cayman’s legislators should keep in mind when they debate and cast their votes in Parliament. First of all, the opinions of Cayman’s young people are valid and secondly, that they are the future of Cayman.
Today’s young people think of the world in much different terms than those over 40, and there are things we can all learn from them if we listen.
It is true that with age often comes wisdom, but wisdom is often jaded and cynical. With youth comes idealism, and with idealism comes fresh ideas and hope.
There is a lot of discontent these days with old-school politics, which seem to hold hostage over common sense. It’s quite possible that some of the youth Parliamentarians of today will become legislators of tomorrow. That will probably happen much sooner if the current legislators don’t heed the wants and opinions of youth.