Public Relations Officer
Office of the House of Assembly
Telephone: 468-6900 ext. 6958
The Virgin Islands Youth Parliament (VIYP) is now poised to hold its First Sitting on Thursday, March 11 following a series of training sessions, preparatory meetings, a relaunching ceremony and the appointment of a secretariat.
Premier of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament Mr. Kevin Fahie will move a motion that will allow the youth members to debate the topic “Should the Virgin Islands move to self-determination?”
Coordinator of the VIYP Secretariat Dr. Arliene T. Penn said the youth parliamentarians have been engaged in intense research and discussions about the motion and that they have been meeting several days a week, including weekends, to prepare their contributions for the upcoming debate.
Dr. Penn said, “As the Secretariat, our responsibility is to create learning opportunities for the young people to gather primary and secondary data from different stakeholders, including scholars and local, regional and international institutions.”
“We exposed them to different strategies for amalgamating and interpreting the data collected, whether it is quantitative or qualitative,” the coordinator stated, “Additionally, we have been working with them to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the differences that exists between parliamentary and school debates,” she said.
Dr. Penn further added, “Our responsibility is not to tell the youth what to think about or how to think. Instead, we have encouraged all of them to allow the research — data collected — to guide and shape how they draw their conclusions and frame their respective contributions to ensure independent thinking through the lens of the youth.”
A five-member secretariat led by Dr. Penn was appointed to the VIYP in January to provide support to the management committee of Elected Members. Members of the Secretariat also include Mrs. Phyllis Evans, Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye, Mrs. Heida Joyles-Selwood and Mrs. Janice George-Harris.
The public is reminded that a resolution was passed during the Fifth Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly for the appointment of a special select committee to manage the youth parliament. The committee members are: Speaker of the House Honourable Julian Willock (Chairman); Leader of the Opposition and Member for the 8th District Honourable Marlon A. Penn; Deputy Speaker and Territorial Member Honourable Neville A. Smith; Minister for Transportartion, Works and Utilities and Member for the 5th District Honourable Kye M. Rymer; Junior Minister for Tourism and Territorial Member Honourable Sharie B. de Castro; Member for the 3rd District Honourable Julian Fraser; Member for the 2nd District Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull; and Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development and Territorial Member Honourable Shereen D. Flax-Charles.
The Virgin Islands Youth Parliament is comprised of 23 young people from all districts ranging from the ages of 18 to 35. The nominees are selected from other youth organisations, churches and nonprofit organisations.
The public is invited to tune in to the live broadcast of the VIYP First Sitting beginning at 5:00 p.m. on the House of Assembly VI’s YouTube page; Government of the Virgin Islands Facebook page; ZBVI 780 AM; CBN Radio 90.9 FM, CBN-Television (online) and FLOW TV 101.