Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
The Virgin Islands Youth Parliament which was established to create leadership skills and competencies in the Territory’s youth was officially launched today, October 2.
Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn said at today’s launch, that a few years ago his administration made a promise to the young people of the Territory to ensure their involvement in the running of the Territory that they would ultimately inherit.
Honourable Walwyn said, “The evidence is there as we can see young people are being encouraged to be involved in the political arena. And we see even more young people being utilised on many statutory boards so that they can sharpen their leadership skills.”
The Minister added that under the directive of the Ministry of Education and Culture, his administration continues to do its part to make good on that promise through numerous initiatives including educating the youth and providing opportunities for their social enrichment and a reinforcement of belonging to the Virgin Islands.
Minister Walwyn said the National Youth Policy was officially handed over to the young people of the Virgin Islands in April of this year. The policy, he added, guides programmes and plans through a range of sectors; and will foster their development, participation, education, well-being, employment, and protection.
The Minister added, “This policy seeks to ensure the active participation of our youth in the Territory’s social, political, religious, and economic development. An integral part in ensuring that this policy reaches its objective is that we make provisions and opportunities for our young people to be engaged through a National Council, National Commission and our very own National Youth Parliament, to learn about the issues of our time and to add their voices and experiences to the decision-making processes of this country.”
Seventeen of the twenty-two young persons officially installed into the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament were in attendance and were awarded certificates for successfully completing a period of orientation and training.
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe said the launch was timely and fitting as the Virgin Islands celebrated Caribbean Youth Day on September 30, 2015.
She stated, “I am privileged to have been able to work with the members of the Youth Parliament over the last 6 to 8 weeks. I stand here today beaming with pride and pregnant with excitement like an expectant mother about to give birth.”
She added that the Youth Parliamentarians are focused individuals who are well aware of what they are about and what they want to achieve in life.
The official launch concluded with the First Session of the First House of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament. Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Sonniel Pickering at that session, sought to resolve the motion to implement a Consumer Protection Agency to regulate prices and ensure best value for money for consumers in the Virgin Islands.
Founding members of the Virgin Islands Youth Parliament who were in attendance were Brianna Nelson, Sonniel Pickering, Trevaughn Todman, Deondre Rymer, Marsha Henry, Trevor Bridgewater, J’Nique Williams, Chezley Stoddard, Makalia Smith, Rea Vanterpool, Cheyenne Smith, Riiyha Nibbs, Monet James, Johanna Gibson, Safiya Vanterpool, Crystal Moses, and Jackisha Rigobert.
Other founding members who were unable to attend were Keyonna Farrington, Klaudius Maynard, Shaquille Malone, Temulji Hughes and Jacob Edwards.
The training was conducted by Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable Ingrid Scatliffe-Moses, Acting Director for the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye, Consultant and Development Specialist at Eversley Links and Leads Inc., Ms. Dwynette Eversley and Director of Communications and Debate Coach, Mrs. Arliene T. Penn.
The Youth Parliament was established through the Virgin Islands National Youth Policy, passed in the House of Assembly in February 2015. It is expected to give the Territory’s young people between the ages of 15 and 29 a unique opportunity to understand in theory and practice the important principles of governance, democracy and the rule of law, human rights, and to advocate different platforms and themes that impact young people.
The Ministry of Education and Culture strives to effectively manage and administer the Territory’s future through the support of this programme and its youth in all aspects. For more information, persons should contact Acting Director for the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye at 468-4969 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.