Youth Parliament displays debating skills

Members of the Cayman Youth Parliament gather at the Legislative Assembly
Members of the Cayman Youth Parliament gather at the Legislative Assembly on Monday. - Photos: Jewel Levy

Young people took seats in the Legislative Assembly to debate two important issues during the Cayman Youth Parliament Monday.

The 25 budding legislators, ages 13 to 22, first passed a motion introduced by young ‘backbenchers’, to regulate the use of e-cigarettes in the Cayman Islands.

But a second motion, brought by ‘the Opposition’, to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 and implement a high school course on politics, failed.

Barbara Conolly, MLA and education councillor, welcomed everyone gathered in the Legislative Assembly for the 13th sitting of the Youth Parliament, which is held annually in observance of Commonwealth Day.

She said the Youth Parliament over the years has been a good training ground for young people.

Youth Parliament House Speaker Suzanne Wood.
Youth Parliament House Speaker Suzanne Wood.

Students from Clifton Hunter High School, Cayman Prep and High, and Grace Christian Academy filled the public gallery on Monday to hear what their
peers had to say in the House.

Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said the young participants showed great promise, adding that they had taken an interest in local politics and, for that, he was thankful and grateful.

“It seems like we are living in troubling times … Here at home, we experienced the largest earthquake we have ever known in January, our country has been put on the financial blacklist, and the world is worried about the spread of the coronavirus, and everyone in these hallowed halls here today knows about the landfill fire as it continues to burn.”

He said he was not there to preach doom and gloom, his message was about hope for the future of the Cayman Islands because people like the young parliamentarians cared and they had their country at heart.

Opposition Leader Arden McLean said he was pleased to see so many young women participating in this year’s programme, especially during National Women’s Month, with its theme #EachForEqual.

“Perhaps, one day soon, one of you will look back on this day with fond memories as you take your places not as youth parliamentarians but as duly elected members for the people of the Cayman Islands,” McLean told the participants.

‘Speaker’ of the Youth Parliament Suzanne Wood said the topics chosen were ones that were affecting young people in the country.

The e-cigarette motion was brought by Zachary Allen, the ‘North Side MLA’, and was seconded by Allison Flores. The second motion was brought by ‘Leader of the Opposition’ Reon Porter, and seconded by ‘George Town West MLA’ Leah Robinson.

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