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A five member secretariat has been appointed to the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament (VIYP) to provide support to its management committee of elected Members.
The secretariat is headed by Coordinator Dr. Arliene T. Penn. The other members are Ms. Phyllis Evans, Mrs. Heida Joyles-Selwood, Mrs. Janice George-Harris and Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye.
Dr. Penn said that she was pleased to offer her support to the House of Assembly and the Steering Committee of Elected Members of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament.
“As the Coordinator, I am committed to doing my part to ensure that our youth parliamentarians, regardless of their future professional aspirations, are given an opportunity to develop their skills as accountable and responsible citizens, grounded in civic consciousness, national identity, democracy and the rule of law and respect for diversity,” she stated.
Dr. Penn said the members of the committee are engaged in virtual meetings assisting with the preparation for the VIYP first debate, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 11, under the topic: Should the BVI Move to Self-Determination?
Dr. Penn said, “Our main focus as the secretariat is to ensure our youth advocate meaningfully on different platforms and themes that impact young people, and the Territory.”
She added, “The VIYP will be given an opportunity to understand in theory and practice, the important principles of governance, good governance, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and how the local House of Assembly functions. We will do so by tapping into the resources and experts available to us.”
Meanwhile, Committee Chair and Speaker of the House of Assembly Honourable Julian Willock said he welcomed the secretariat to help strengthen the important works of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament.
Honourable Willock said, “For the next two years, we will have a group of young people, not only supported by the management committee of elected members, but a strong and knowledgeable secretariat, so by the end of the current Youth Parliament cycle, they will help to ensure we have young parliamentarians well versed in the rules of the House of Assembly, how parliamentary democracy functions, public speaking, debating and the ability to contribute meaningfully to the values of our democracy.”
The secretariat will ensure the smooth functioning of the Management Committee while coordinating the exchange of information and decisions between the committee and the VIYP. Its functions will be fulfilled most visibly through the facilitation of activities carried out by the youth parliament.
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 the Honourable Julian Willock (Chairman); Deputy Speaker, Honourable Neville A. Smith; Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, Honourable Kye M. Rymer; Junior Minister for Tourism, Honourable Sharie B. de Castro; Member of the Opposition, Honourable Julian Fraser; Member of the Opposition, Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull; Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Marlon A. Penn; and Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Honourable Shereen D. Flax-Charles.