More girls, community groups to compete in expanded Speaker’s Debating Competition


As part of a series of activities to commemorate the Parliament of Guyana’s 70th anniversary as a legislature, some 48 youth groups from across the country will participate in the Regional Youth Debating Competition, which was launched on Thursday.

It is the first-ever preliminary level competition for participants who will later compete at the National Youth Debating Competition.

And this year, there is an increased focus on ensuring that more girls and youth active in their communities can participate in the debates on national priorities and issues.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, during the launch at Parliament Buildings, disclosed that already, some 144 participants have been nominated to make up the 48 teams from 11 districts. The competition will commence in three weeks and leads up to the national debate in August.

“There is no automatic entry into the final 16, so that is why we’re doing this exercise,” the Speaker said.

The intent is to bring Parliament closer to the people while ensuring the involvement of youths. With exciting moots to debate, the competition will be held virtually and streamed live on Tuesdays and Fridays only.

Importantly, only groups that are actively working in their constituencies will be allowed to participate in the debates now and onwards, the Speaker disclosed.

Nadir also recalled how the first installment of the competition was followed by thousands online and it is his hope that more persons both in and out of Guyana, will tune in.

Speaking about the impact of the debates, Nadir noted that this year, a new group that focuses on the involvement of young women in Parliament will be competing. He also shared that the young people were asked to generate some of the exciting ideas for the debate.

“If you are going to promote youth participation, at least let them start from scratch, get organised, have an input into what you want to debate because that also sends a signal to those of us who are older and who are making policies,” Nadir said.

Some of the ideas are “Guyana should have remained dependent”, “Carbon Credit market would not last”, “Public Service rules are archaic”, “40- hour workweek is ludicrous” and many others.

The competition will have a mixture of judges and will be moderated by Parliamentary Executive Assistant, Carletta Charles.

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