Nick Hoffman, a partner of the law firm Harneys, presents the main sponsor’s check for this year’s Youth Parliament to the students on the steps of the Legislative Assembly. - Photo: Jessica Jurgens, Harneys

The leaders of tomorrow have chosen some weighty subjects to debate.

The nineteen students who will participate in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Eleventh Youth Parliament at the Legislative Assembly on March 12 will debate the merits of amending the Elections Law and Education Law to better reflect the educational goals of Cayman.

Specifically, the students, aged 14 to 19, will debate mandating that candidates reside in the districts they wish to represent. And in terms of education, the youth parliament will debate raising the compulsory school age from 17 to 18 and reintroducing A-levels as compulsory under the government education system. The Cayman Islands Further Education Centre would not be subject to that rule change.

“The students have been preparing well, trying to master parliamentary procedures and practices in the Cayman Islands LA as well as putting in the most time on their debates on these timely topics,” said MLA and Youth Parliament Committee Chairperson Barbara Conolly. “I am very pleased with the topics they have chosen and look forward to passionate debates from both benches.”

The students – 10 girls and nine boys – are mostly in high school, with the exception of three who are currently students at the University College of the Cayman Islands. Four of the students are returning members of Youth Parliament, while 15 of the members are first-time participants.

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Ezzard Miller, leader of the opposition, and MLAs Arden McLean, Kenneth Bryan, David Wight and Ms. Connolly have served as trainers for the Youth Parliament members.

The major sponsor for the Youth Parliament is the Harneys law firm.

“Harneys is thrilled to be in the position to continue to support the local community and youth projects in particular,” said Harneys Partner Nick Hoffman as part of an official press release. “The next generation of parliamentarians will no doubt find its core in those who were selected to attend this scheme and the experience and knowledge of the Legislative Assembly gained will be invaluable. We look forward to watching each of the candidates progress in future years and wish them every success.”

Members of the public are invited to attend and encourage the members of the Youth Parliament.

Speaker McKeeva Bush will read out the Queen’s Commonwealth Day message at the opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m., and Ms. Conolly and Premier Alden McLaughlin will make remarks. The attendees are expected to be seated by 10:25 a.m., and the event will run until 2:30 p.m.

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