Members of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament (VIYP) have been shortlisted to represent the Territory at the upcoming Regional Commonwealth Youth Parliament to be held at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s Eileene L. Parsons Auditorium on July 30.
The 40th Regional Conference of the Caribbean, Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will be hosted in the Virgin Islands from July 25 to August 1 and includes a variety of parliamentary conferences including the 11th Meeting of the Regional Youth Parliament.
At the launch of the National Youth Policy on April 27, Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn said that the VIYP will enable young people across the Territory to develop their skills and advocate meaningfully on different platforms and themes that impact them.
On June 16, members of the VIYP participated in a mock debate to further refine their skills for representing the Territory at the CPA’s Regional Youth Parliament.
During the mock debate, parliamentarians were given the opportunity to practice their debate for or against the motion on the participation of young people in any representative democracy. Of the 15 parliamentarians in attendance, 10 were for the motion and five were against it.
The group came to the debating table armed with information and pointers from the research conducted prior to the debate, knowing they would be assessed in the areas of poise and confidence, knowledge of the subject matter; delivery and flow, and charisma and mass appeal.
The will be another round of debates on Thursday, July 23 to select the final youth parliamentarians who will represent the Territory during the upcoming regional debate.
The VIYP convened in accordance with the rules of the House of Assembly. The Honourable Speaker of the House, Mrs. Ingrid Scatliffe-Moses was present to hear submissions from the youth parliamentarians.
Madame Speaker gave the group pertinent and helpful tips on actual presentations for audiences that will be invaluable to those chosen to participate at the Regional Youth Parliament.
She said, “Always make sure to use relevant information. When you’re doing research you will see a lot of information out there, but you have to make it relevant to your topic.”
Also present were the Director of Communications for the Government of the Virgin Islands, Mrs. Arliene T. Penn, who has been facilitating dedicated training with the group, and Youth Consultant and Development Specialist for the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ms. Dwynette Eversley.
This parliament includes young people from the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Nevis and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago who will debate a motion on the participation of young people in any representative democracy.
Clerk of the House of Assembly and Conference Coordinator, Mrs. Phyllis Evans stated that the CPA conference is being held at a critical point in the history of the BVI, when the implementation of the National Youth Policy of the Virgin Islands will give rise to the Youth Commission, the National Youth Council and the National Youth Parliament.
The Virgin Islands Youth Parliament provides the Territory’s youth between the ages of 15 to 29 with the opportunity to understand in theory and practice, the important principles of governance, democracy and the rule of law and human rights.