The fifth annual Youth Parliament was officially launched on Monday and will run from August 9th to the 17th. The Youth Parliament sees the participation of secondary and university students debating a number of topics of national importance.
One of the topics that will be discussed for motion is the amendment to Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Guyana which states: “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly who – (a) is, by virtue of his or her own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state…”
The High Court and the Court of Appeal earlier this year ruled that those who hold dual citizenship are not qualified to be Parliamentarians.
As a result of this ruling, former Ministers of Government Joseph Harmon, Carl Greenidge, Dominic Gaskin and Rupert Roopnaraine all resigned their positions.
Three Parliamentarians on the Opposition side also resigned, namely Gail Teixeira, Odinga Lumumba and Adrian Ananmaya.
University of Guyana students from the Tain and Turkeyen campuses will be debating amending Article 155 (1) (a) of the Constitution among other topics on August 15, while the secondary students will have a sitting on August 14.
Assistant Public Relations officer of the Parliament Office, Nadiera Allen said other topics will include the Sovereign Wealth Fund, migration policy, and youth participation in governance.
Allen said the secondary school students will debate the ban on single-use plastics, copyright legislation, discipline in school and curbing substance abuse.
The first day of activities will be an introduction to Parliament, parliamentary procedures and practices.
The following days will include the teaching of leadership roles, parliamentary etiquette and decorum, the art of public speaking, introduction to motions and discussions, assigning of motion and electing a Speaker, Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition.
Allen said the students will also be introduced to mentors and will be taught how to draft parliamentary speeches. There will also be individual and grand rehearsals before the first sitting.
Public Relations Officer of the Parliament Office, Yannick December said this year will see the participation of more females in the secondary category but that the university category will have more males.
Thirty-five secondary students and 37 university students will be participating.
Two persons from the New Opportunity Corps will also be involved in Youth Parliament 2019.
Mr December said the Youth Parliament is part of continuous efforts to sensitize citizens about Parliament and its functions and to mold future leaders.
“In addition to its sensitization role, this activity will boost the students’ morale and develop their debating and leadership skills in keeping with the Youth Parliament’s motto- “Our Generation, Our Voice, Inspire, Encourage,” Mr December said.
Youth Parliament 2019 will conclude with a reception dinner and award ceremony.
Each student will be presented with a certificate of participation and the best debater will be awarded a special prize.